bethandphyllisFriday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. Read a personal message from our Executive Director, Beth Tessema, to find out who inspires us and why this day is so important to Bread and Water for Africa.

“On this day, we can celebrate women’s achievements and the fight for justice for women. I hold this day very dear to my heart”…read more here.


Phyllis and me

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you in celebration of International Women’s Day! On this day, we can celebrate women’s achievements and the fight for justice for women. I hold this day very dear to my heart because of what the female leaders of our Bread and Water for Africa® programs have been able to accomplish. We have many women-led initiatives throughout Africa, which all began with our partnership with one outstanding woman – Phyllis Keino.

Although Phyllis grew up in a small village , she received support from family friends and her community, so that she could pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Her work began with a desire to care for orphaned children and has expanded much more than we could have ever expected. When we met Phyllis over twenty years ago, we quickly realized that there was dedication and a hardworking spirit behind the compassion that called her to care for Kenya’s orphans.

On this International Women’s Day, I wish to commend Phyllis’ efforts to use the skills she acquired as a nurse and a mother to nurture hundreds of children at the Lewa Children’s Home and the Kipkeino Primary School. She has even given back to her local community through the Baraka Farm’s dairy and produce sales, as well as the training it provides to local farmers. We at Bread and Water for Africa® are so thankful for our partnership with Phyllis and her “oasis of hope” in Eldoret; we continue to learn from her everyday!


Photo by Andre/AW magazine © 2010

Phyllis always encourages young girls and boys to pursue their dreams – no matter how difficult they may seem.

Just as Phyllis has helped improve the lives of children in Africa, other inspiring women leading our partner programs in Africa have helped improve many lives. I am so blessed to work with the amazing women like:

Margaret Makambira, director of Shinga Development Trust,

Angela Miyanda, director of Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre,

Juliana Ganda, Executive Director at Ndegbormei Development Organisation and

Esther Ndichafah director of Hope Services.

Without a doubt, the success of these programs has been made possible through their determination and your support. These women are proof that with enough dedication, teamwork, and compassion for others – we can change the world.

With great gratitude,

Bethelhem Tessema

P.S. Please help me celebrate International Women’s Day today by learning more about Phyllis’ work or our other initiatives that benefit the women in Africa who still need our support to receive the healthcare and job opportunities they need for a brighter future.