Monday, November 4, 2013

Light, Hope, and Opportunity

And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.”  Genesis 1:3-4

Dear Friends,

Do you remember the last time the power went out in a region of our country, perhaps even in your own neighborhood, for an extended period of time?  Do you remember the feelings of frustration and helplessness that followed?  The truth is that in our country, as painful as these experiences are to us, we know that the electrical grid will be repaired and life can begin to move forward once again.

In places like Kinyago-Dandora, there is little of hope of moving forward.  In fact, worldwide, one in five people live in darkness after the sun goes down.  In our KDS community, where more than 950,000 people reside, 100% of our families are without electricity. 

Let me portray the reality of living in Kinyago-Dandora:  When you leave the comfort of Nairobi’s city center and drive into Eastlands, you will immediately notice a change in the landscape. Continue eastward, and it now becomes obvious that you have entered into hopelessness and despair.  There are two main roads that pass through this area of Kinyago-Dandora.  Along these routes are just a handful of electrical poles with unreliable street lamps.  If you are one of the few fortunate enough to have a shanty close to one of these power poles, you may claim to have electricity because you live in the shadow of the light or have managed to jerry rig bootleg power. 

However, just a short distance off these roads people live in shanties or huts made of sticks, plastic, iron sheets…even cardboard.  The small homes are piled together into a vast sea of destitution.  There is no clean water.  Families walk long distances with containers called jerry cans to fetch water from a city pipe.  The water is not free so people often need to choose between having water or food for the day.  There is no sanitation. Sewage flows freely through drainage ditches between walking paths and homes.  Garbage from the massive city garbage dump is strewn everywhere including the nearby river.  The most crippling condition of all is to sit in twelve hours of darkness every day with your only source of light coming from toxic kerosene lanterns, fire pits and candles. 

Light is not only critical but liberating.  Without it, families struggle to perform the most basic activities such as cooking, studying, reading and working after dark.  It has been proven that light has the biggest impact on raising living standards, promoting economic and educational opportunities and improving health for the poor.

This is why Kenya Children’s Fund has partnered with Watts of Love to provide proven sustainable, safe and reliable solar lighting to the Kinyago-Dandora School (KDS) community in 2014.  Because electricity is so unreliable at our schools, we will also use them in our classrooms and offices.

Our goal is to provide every student’s family with a solar lantern that even on the lowest setting will light up an entire room for 130 hours without a recharge.  With your help, we can provide light to our families for only $30 per kit which includes the lantern and solar charger. 

Would you please prayerfully consider giving a year end gift to help us ship 1,000 solar light kits to Kenya in the New Year?  This important project will give our students, families and staff a safer environment and more time to read and study.  It will also allow breadwinners more hours of the day to be productive. Households will save money since they will not need to spend their few schillings on kerosene, candles or firewood.  Please see the enclosed fact sheet and response form.

During this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, what better way to celebrate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Light of the World, then with the gift of light to those who sit in darkness? 

We are so grateful for your prayers and financial support.  Each year we are able to do more to lift up this impoverished community, and we could not do it without you.  Together, we are making a difference by bringing His light and hope to His precious little ones.  Asante Sana!

For His Glory, and Our Joy!

President and CEO 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is my first week back in Kenya after six months.  It is always a blessing for me to be at the Kinyago-Dandora Schools (KDS) where it is evident that God is at work.  At the secondary school we hosted a seminar for the teachers on lesson planning.  Sandra Putnam, a retired professor from Northwestern College (Roseville), lovingly gave of her time, expertise and experience to the entire teaching staff at KDS. 

During the seminar, I noticed a new teacher and soon realized it was Kelvin, one of our most recent college graduates.  Kelvin earned a degree in Statistics and Science from the University of Nairobi.  How exciting to see him back at KDS, not as a student this time, but now as part of our faculty.

Kelvin was beaming.  He is so proud to be giving back to the community.  This has been has been his dream from an early age and one he shared with his friend, Bernard Sewe, who passed away on Easter Sunday in 2003.  Bernard was leading a group of Boy Scouts on an excursion to Fourteen Falls.  He slipped and fell into the turbulent waters and drowned.  His last letter to his sponsor expressed the desire to go to college, return to the community and make a difference.  In honor of Bernard and in keeping with the mission of Kenya Children’s Fund, Kelvin is fulfilling their dream.  See more of Kelvin in our latest video on the KCF homepage:

The Alumni Association is strong and our graduates are working hard to impact their impoverished community.  It is their desire, their vision and their calling from God.  What an amazing group of young men and women.  And what an amazing way to begin the New Year!  To God be the Glory!

For His Precious Little Ones,