I visited Kenya in January and was pleased to see so many happy and healthy children, all studying and
working hard. Ensuring the children at the Kithoka Amani Children’s Home (KACH) receive a quality education and excellent care always has been – and always will be – a priority.
While I was there, Dr. Karambu Ringera said, “I thank God for his protection, provision and peace this year. We cannot say there have been no challenges, rather, God has been faithful and seen us through. Our kids are growing fast and this comes with many new issues to pay attention to.” The IPI-U.S. Board is committed to the children being parented and guided and loved well. We deeply desire to support the IPI-Kenya staff in the care of the children.
In February, we were all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Peter Ringera (pictured left). Peter was Karambu’s brother and father of Kenneth, who is a trusted member of the IPI-Kenya staff.
Peter was an original member of the IPI-Kenya team and Karambu’s most trusted friend, in addition to being her brother. This significant loss presents challenges as Peter’s work touched every level of life at IPI and he will be missed by many. We will carry on with his memories and we thank you for the kind words that many of you have sent.
You have all been part of this amazing IPI journey and we thank you for standing alongside us to make it this far. We hope that you enjoy reading about just a few of the many things going on.
Nancy Martin Ross
IPI-U.S. Board Chair
A Few Highlights
Dental Checkups – In January, IPI-U.S. Board Member Mike McClorey and IPI supporter Dr. Arnie Jacobson facilitated the children receiving a dental check-up at a clinic run by the Presbyterian Church in Chogoria, a 90-minute drive from Meru. IPI-U.S. Board Member Ralph Ogden and Karambu accompanied the kids for a full day of examinations.
The dentist, Dr. Hawa, examined each child, took x-rays and indicated follow-ups needed on their chart. The children waited patiently for six hours and Dr. Hawa remarked on how well behaved the children were. The children must return for cleanings, some fillings, extractions, and even a root canal or two. We especially thank Mike McClorey for taking the lead on this project and underwriting all these services.
Daily Life – The discipline and hard work of each and every child is remarkable. The older kids help the younger ones get ready each morning and help them with homework each evening. After chores and dinner, the children gather around a large table and study for hours. All ages and grades are mixed together and if there is an adult or visitor nearby, he or she is pulled in to assist where needed. It truly is a collaborative environment. Neighbors and other children come by after school to visit and to play and the atmosphere is welcoming.
Boys Dorm – As we have an increasing number of older children, there is a need for separate, small and very modest living quarters for boys who have come of age (age 13). This is typical in Kenyan culture and with so many of the boys getting older, this has become a more immediate need. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please visit our website, www.ipeacei.org, and indicate you would like your donation to support the construction of the boys dorm.
Student Spotlight – Emily (pictured left) is in 5th Grade (called Class 5) and is the best in her level in the whole district! Several students are top ranked in their school’s grade level, too! During her visit, IPI-U.S. Board Chair Nancy Ross visited the classrooms of the primary school down the road where all of our younger children are enrolled. She was struck by the quick raising of hands and thoughtful input from our kids.
College Scholars – We are proud of all our 2016 college graduates! Currently, five are enrolled in University. We have had many graduate and go on to pursue advanced degrees. An example of just one of our graduates is a woman named Faith. She finished her self-funded master’s degree in finance and now works for the city government in Nakuru and has her own young family.We hope to be able to continue to offer higher education to our children and rely on your continual support to do so.
As our children grow, we are faced with many more for whom we hope to provide higher education. At this time, that is simply not financially possible. If you are interested in contributing to a university scholarship, please visit www.ipeacei.org and specify your gift go towards a college scholar.
Bettering Our Lives by Design (BOLD) – When the children leave for school each morning, IPI-Kenya comes alive with a group of HIV+ women who come in and work there making stunning woven placemats (pictured above), jewelry and soaps.
Tailoring – Another group of women work at the children’s study table during the day making beautiful clothing, such as dresses and mens shirts. Currently, they are making matching nylon athletic suits for all of the kids at KACH. If you are aware of a retail venue or have a contact to market some of these products, please reach out to us. We can assure you that the quality is outstanding.
Hairdressing School – A one-year grant from the UK ends in March for a group of young women who were former commercial sex workers. They were together for a year for mentoring, reproductive health education, and training on hairdressing skills. They used the small hair salon facility that we built from the money raised by the GLADITOOD crowd fund campaign in October 2014. These women will now go on to live independent lives with increased confidence and skills to earn money.
IPI-Kenya has partnered with Mind Transform Africa and Effective Change Consultants to provide the New Generation Leaders training program, held at IPI’s Tiriji Eco-Center. The photo above shows the program participants from the December 2016 session. These trainings have attracted teens and young adults from throughout the area and were held in September, October and December 2016 and March 2017. Another is scheduled for April and more will be held throughout the rest of the year.
The workshops prepare participants to become peer leaders who effect change in their families, schools and communities and ultimately, the country of Kenya. Forty participants attended the latest NGL training session held March 15-19.
In February, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared Kenya’s drought to be a national disaster. Kenyans have a high dependency on rain-fed systems and food prices have risen significantly due to the poor yields of livestock and crop failure.
Specifically, IPI-Kenya was able to harvest three sacks of maize (corn), when many of their neighbors lost most of their maize crops. We lost all of the beans planted (approx. 200kg), which normally would have lasted five months. The price to buy beans has increased significantly (nearly 3x higher!) and this means that more ugali (corn, flour and water) is used for meals. It is not popular with the kids and it is not nearly as nutritious. Additionally, the schools are now asking each child to bring a certain amount of beans to school or pay extra in education fees for lunch costs. These increased expenses mean that we have to put some planned projects on hold in order to cover living expenses.
This is a serious issue for Kenyans and for IPI at this time. If you are a praying person, please pray for rain in Kenya. If you would like to add a little extra to your monthly donation this month or make a special one-time gift, we would greatly appreciate it.
IPI-US Board Members: Nancy Martin Ross (Chair), Eamon Aloyo (ICSP), Angie Phetteplace (Treasurer), Heather Boyd, Steve Kaplan, Mike McClorey, Anne McGuire, Elodie Ontala, Jeff Smith