Any school needs classrooms, a library, and a laboratory. It also needs a kitchen to prepare the food for hungry students, as well as a place for them to gather to sit and enjoy their meal break in between their classwork.
Such as the Kebeneti Secondary School in Kericho, Kenya which has been growing since its founding in 2015. Today, the student population has grown to 455 students, and as their numbers have increased so has the need for a larger kitchen and for an actual cafeteria.
“The dining hall and kitchen are essential as students are currently eating lunch outside,” we were told by school founder Titus Korir.
Through the past few years, thanks to our supporters, especially one in particular, Dick Landis, Bread and Water for Africa® has been able to assist Kebeneti in meeting the educational needs for hundreds of teenage boys and girls who would otherwise been unable to attend a school in their community.
The completion of the dining hall and kitchen by the end of the summer (weather permitting with rainy season ahead) is another step towards Kebeneti’s steady march towards meeting every student’s needs, and that includes a dining hall which “will provide a conducive environment for the students now, and in the long term,” notes Mr. Korir.
Corn, or maize as it’s known in Kenya, is a staple food for the residents of the East African country. The maize is grounded into flour to make ugali (imagine grits cooked to the consistency of Playdough). The ugali is eaten with sukuma wiki (collard greens braised with tomatoes, onions and spices) pretty much every day.
In fact, millions of children, such as those living at the Lewa Children’s Home, say they don’t feel full after a meal if it doesn’t include a hearty serving of ugali.
Each year, the Baraka Farm plants acres and acres of maize which helps keep the bellies full for the orphans at Lewa. The maize also provides feed for the farm’s dairy cows which also provide milk, cheese and more for the children.
We are proud of our longtime support to provide a loving home for hundreds of orphaned, abandoned and destitute children at Lewa over the years. We are also proud to assist the Baraka Farm in its mission to providing food for the children, but also generate profits to offset the cost of operating the children’s home.
Our International Spokesperson Phyllis Keino, founder, and director of the Lewa Children’s Home also founded the Baraka Farm with the goal of ultimately making the children’s home self-sufficient.
Phyllis, who has helped raise hundreds of orphans into successful adults over the years, is “mother” to the 126 children living there presently.
In addition to providing corn, milk and more Phyllis notes that the farm does much more for the growing children.
“It has also helped instill in the children a good work ethic and teach them the farming skills that are so necessary in a country like Kenya,” she told us.
To those who have supported us with their generous gifts over the past two decades enabling us to assist Phyllis in her mission, she has these heartfelt words:
“Your generous support has helped provide food, healthcare, clothing and education to poor children like Emmanuel, Otieno, Victoria, Lillian, and so many others – children you will never meet…living halfway around the world in dire conditions.
“You have done this with unconditional love, as if they were a member of your family.
At the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya, roughly 50 children are provided with everything they need – food, shelter, healthcare, an education and more. They even have electricity, unlike many children in the country, but it comes at a high cost.
To help defray that major expense, thanks to the generosity of long-time supporter, the Landis Family Foundation, we were able to sponsor 50 percent of the cost of equipment and installation of solar panels and hot water heaters this year.
Lewa founder and director, and our international spokesperson Phyllis Keino noted that “This grant will ensure that children of Lewa will have access to hot water as the current installed solar panels are over 10 years old and have stopped working.”
In fact, Kenya and many African countries are “going green” and we are doing our part to take advantage of the tremendous amount of solar power potential available throughout the continent.
As reported recently by Africa.com, Africa has an immense energy crisis with a population of close to 1 billion, there are 625 million people living without power – nearly 70 percent of the population.
“Africa has much greater solar resources available than any other continent because it is the sunniest continent on earth,” notes Africa.com.
Kenya is taking the lead in promoting solar power as more and more of the country’s residents are getting power for the first time, or installing solar panels and reducing or eliminating their dependence on the grid.
In 2017, we installed solar panels on the roof of a clinic in the town of Kericho enabling doctors and staff to have hot water for washing, as well as keeping the facility itself more sanitary.
And three years ago, working with our partner in Sierra Leone, the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone, we shipped solar panels which were placed on the roofs of clinics and hospitals in the most remote regions of the country where running a power line would be impossible.
Renewable energy technology has the potential to reduce the many of the problems faced throughout the continent and we applaud the fact many small-scale companies and start-ups, such as M-KOPA Solar in Kenya which sells solar home systems to low-income earners, are making large inroads in making green energy available for all.
Earlier this year, we ran pipes from a clean water source about two miles away from the Kebeneti SDA Dispensary in Kericho, Kenya so it would no longer have to rely on rainwater collected in storage tanks and now have access to all the water they need for patients, staff, and to keep the facility clean.
However, what remained lacking was hot water, meaning that they had to boil water for sterilization, washing, and bathing.
The good news for the clinic, located in the highlands west of Rift Valley about 25 miles from the equator, is that sunshine is abundant throughout the year.
To remedy that situation, this fall, with the continued generosity of our supporters, we took the next step by installing a solar water heating system on the roofs of buildings on the clinic compound to provide hot water for doctors and staff to use when showering and washing their hands, and also to aid in keeping the dispensary more sanitary.
And, as noted by dispensary manager Titus Korir, “Solar power is a cheap source of energy which can be sustained for a long time.”