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IPI-Kenya 2015 Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
A Word from IPI President Karambu Ringera

2015 was a year of many possibilities. Unlike 2014 that proved to be challenging because of the state of national insecurity, we hope 2015 will be a year of progress, more peace and hope. I am thankful to all our friends and partners for their generous support of various activities and initiatives at IPI and KACH.

At International Peace Initiatives, we carried out many women's empowerment projects that spanned the 2014/2015 year. See stories on pages 4,5,6 &7 In the same vein, we had grants from the Evans Cornish Trust and Brilig Trust both of U.K through Ecologia Youth Trust, our Scottish partner, that enabled us to run some important young women's skills development courses through our Youth Polytechnic. The courses include tailoring, hairdressing, catering and ICT.

IPI's approach to sustainable peace and development is systems-based and holistic. Thus sustainable peacebuilding initiatives have been a focus of IPI's work over the years. Many sustainable peace and development programs have been borne from our peace congresses. The Chure Women's Community Based Organization (CBO) is one such entity that has done a lot for the community in Meru South through women's, men's and youth empowerment projects as well as support for children in need. In addition, IPI is partnering with the Sustainable Peacebuilding and Development program at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee to enhance and expand the experience of masters students taking the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding degree. The team gifted KACH with children's clothes, stationery and other items.

In 2015, we continue our collaboration and partnership with the MichiKen team from the University of Michigan. The medical team will carry out a dental clinic with KACH children and staff. Rama of E-magine will also install a system donated by MichiKen that will enable KACH kids to Skype with sponsors and other friends of IPI and KACH. Additionally, MichiKen donated diverse items to KACH.

At IPI, we have two volunteers this year - Enoch Owino who holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Chuka University, Meru, Kenya and Rita Togba who holds a Bachelor's degree in Development Studies and African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Rita came to us through-out he Ecologia Youth Trust/IPI Volunteers program . You can read about this program at Enoch is working as our marketing and social networks developer in partner-ship with the UW Milwaukee team; while Rita loves to work with children and women.

At the Kithoka Amani Children's Home (KACH), we have been able to build a multi-purpose block to serve as a business premise for hairdressing, weaving and a shop. We hope to use these opportunities to build our finan-cial sustainability dream in the coming years.

Caring for the environment and learning how to produce organic food has been a project of Tiriji for some time now. Tiriji is a project of IPI that aims to train people in the community how to develop and sustain successful food sovereignty projects. Tiriji means "a place of abundance". At Tiriji we hope to create a training center for peace and permaculture through the Integrated Land Use Design (ILUD) approach. ILUD is a holistic approach of creating food sovereignty through an integrated approach to farming; where farmers are encouraged to grow "food forests" instead of mono-cropping.

At IPI we believe that peace is not merely the absence of war, rather it is when people have access to resources that enable them to meet their basic needs. Therefore, our approach is to develop a model that others can learn from so that together we can reclaim our place as stewards of our earth; regenerate our ecosystems; build resilience for our people and communities; and help build transformative approaches to sustainable peacebuilding and development for our continent.

Read More about IPI Kenya in the 2015 Newsletter, Tamasha La Amani.

Dr. Karambu Ringera Writes About Her Recent Trip to the U.S. PDF Print E-mail

For the last five years I have not been able to travel to USA because I could not get a visa. However, in April, 2015, I learned that I had been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as a Master Scholar Award by the University of Denver, where I am an alumni. I was very excited to win these prestigoius awards, my only worry was whether I would get a visa to travel to receive them. To my pleasant surprise, I was give a visa and so was able to travel to Colorado.

The awards were not the only things that excited me - the thought that I would see my friends who I had not seen for the last 5 years, visit my son and daughter was icing on the cake!! The IPI Board of Directors in USA were as pleased as I was because I had not seen them all for that long, although at least one of them visited IPI in Kenya every year. It was a great pleasure to see them all again. It was wonderful to reconnect with Michele Hovey and her lovely family, catching up on 5 years of prayng for each other across the waters!!! It was nice to spend time with Margi Ness, immediate past Board Chair o IPI, USA and her partner Jim. The Board hosted an event in Boulder - such a lovely gesture for I met many of my Boulder friends!!! The cake with the map of Africa was a killer!!! They told me that I was the one to eat Kenya!!! It was great to meet Gina, the wonderful IPI USA Administrator!!!!

I was in USA for nearly four weeks. I was able to see friends, partners and colleagues in Missouri where our current Board Chair lives, Nancy Ross and her family. Nancy organize a cocktail event where I met quite a large group of her friends and people who through her have supported IPI's work over the years. It was wonderful to meet her lovely family - her two daughters have been to Meru through the Students Shoulder to Shoulder program. Nancy showed me Ferguson and most of St Louis!! Beautiful and welcoming people!!!

From Missouri I went to beautiful Park City, Utah where I met my friends from Park City Community Church who visit KACH every October. We had a great time with Reverend Tracy; Beth and Gil; Lisa and Tom and the PCCC family!!! They invited me to preach at the PCCC the Sunday I was there. It was a wonderful fellowship, reunion and great time of being shown the Olympc Park where I 'partook' of some wild past times like taking the Alpine Car and the zip .... something!!! - a seat you slide in down some slope on a wire!! I tried the ropes and scary height walking across a pole 'miles' above the ground - and after four parts, I could not move a finger, or foot for that matter!!! I had to be 'rescued'!!! It was all fun though - once I was safely settled on solid ground!!!

From beautiful SLC, I went to see my dear friend Nancy Hodous in Cleveland, Ohio - for great talks, yummy milkshakes and wonderful food!!! Her family is alwasy wonderful. It was great to spend time with David her husband talking about many things that had happened over the years. She drove me to Michigan to see Drew my sn and Fredah my daughter. It was sweet to introduce Nancy to my kids!!! After 2 days, Nancy went back and left me in Michigan where I met our partners, the MichiKen group from Michigan University, Ann Arbor. We had a great time there of talking about their trip to Kenya in June as well as plans for the future!! I preached at the United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor.

My last leg was Detroit where I spoke to teenage parents who had dropped out of school. It was delightful to share with the kids and experience their enthusiasm to 'recalm' their lives and stay in school.

This trip was wonderful in all ways. It was great to meet so many friends!!! It was great to see my kids Drew and Fredah and my pleasure to show them the Universities where I studied - Illif School of Theology and University of Denver!!! To crown it all we raised money for a solar water heating system, a bole hole, a cow, a cooker and sponsorship for some of our children at the children's home!!!

THANK YOU ALL for making my return to 'my home away from home' so wonderful!!! I hope to come back!!! YOU ARE ALL always welcome to IPI and KACH in Meru, Kenya!!!!

Founder of Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder NGO Delivers Homily at Lower School Chapel PDF Print E-mail

Just days before the students return to the classroom, Lower School teachers were treated to a special presentation by Dr. Karambu Ringera, the founder of International Peace Initiatives, the NGO that Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder partners with in Kenya. She also shared stories about her experiences in Kenya, as well as her current and future plans and goals for improving education in Kenya. Dr. Ringera's organization gives economically-disadvantages and AIDS orphans a place to stay and live close to their extended families while also providing a safe and healthy environment. Several Upper School students from ESD, as well as Allison Hogan, have had the privilege to help improve the buildings and school on the property, and meet. 

In addition to delivering the morning's homily, Dr. Ringera met with Eleanor Arnold, ESD's Director of Global Education; Father Towers, the new Lower School Chaplain; and Allison Hogan, Primer teacher and course instructor for Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder, to plan for an Internal Peace Day program in September. 

"Meeting Dr. Karambu was thrilling and a great way for faculty to start the school year," Eleanor Arnold said. "Meeting her reinforces what I already knew about Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder; the NGOs we work with are top-notch and are doing very productive, even essential, work in their communities. It's a privilege to be associated with them. Our goal is to get Dr. Karambu back soon so she can inspire our students, hopefully in all three divisions."

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