THE BLOG

31
Aug

KSKE Supports 300 Kenyan Families

The corona virus pandemic has altered lives worldwide. Thousands of people in Kenya are struggling to make ends meet. Many have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Sadly, this rapid loss of jobs shows no signs of stopping. After hearing many stories of families not being able to feed themselves, I felt morally obligated to start a food drive to support their needs. Social distancing measures and lockdowns have disrupted agricultural production and supply routes leaving many families to worry about how they will feed themselves and their loved ones. 

The Kwarula Society for Kenyan Education is a cause close to my heart as I grew up in one of the biggest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. A place where basic needs such as food, clean water, shelter, and education are not accessible to all.  It was through the help of friends and personal initiative that I, myself, was able to attend school. I immigrated to the United States twenty-two years ago and, since then, I am constantly contemplative of ways in which I can give back to communities that are suffering–especially during such a ravaging pandemic. This year, amid the Coronavirus, the lives of Kenyan students and their families have been greatly deprived, leaving students home and working household members without an income to afford basic necessities and healthy lives. This coupled with the already elevated rates of poverty added more devastation to an already difficult way of life. 

A few weeks ago, I went to a local store to buy grocery supplies which cost me a few dollars. This is a normal routine our families do every other day or week. While relaxing after a long day I received a call from a friend in Kenya.  In the middle of our conversation, he shared with me some of the problems that these families were facing. I decided to donate part of my soccer camp earnings to buy groceries for fifty families in Kakamega, Kenya. I shared the story with several of my former soccer players and we decided to get together to raise some money to support more families. Together, we were fortunate enough to raise some money to support more families. 

On behalf of The Kwarula Society for Kenyan Education, we partnered with Young Peles World Wide Foundation to donate food and freshwater to over 200 families in Kawangware, Nairobi this past weekend. KSKE also donated food to over 100 families in Kakamega, Kenya. I would like to thank all donors and representatives in Kenya who made this process possible and successful. Thank you Moses Kinyanjui for working with KSKE to raise funds. Thank you Rory Fleming, Jack Bernstein, Ralph Bernstein, Alexander Masotti, Max Grell, George Lister, David Lister, Willian Maynard, and Liam Perrine. 

The Kwarula Society for Kenyan Education has achieved immeasurable success in the last ten years, providing such provisions with the help of donors. We have continued to make great strides in many communities throughout Kenya with the generosity of our donors and friends. We need your support. Your donation can bring relief to the thousands worried about where their next meal will come from. To help us feed more people in the next few weeks please visit our Donate page.

30
Dec

Building a Permanent Library in Shihalia Primary School

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Our vision involves the construction of a permanent library at the Shihalia Primary School, an ambitious endeavor. The library will provide a vital resource with a core objective – improving educational opportunities and lifting students and their families out of poverty. Today students often share textbooks and exam booklets, and frequently go without the necessary reading materials for their studies.

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The project started to take shape in 2012. The school where I teach and coach, Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, NY, was reorganizing and updating its library. KSKE was given a large donation of books. In 2013 more than 40 boxes of books, sports equipment and clothes were delivered to the students at Shihalia Primary School.

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Recently I spoke to the Headmaster, we discussed how the books would be kept safe and dry… the dream of the library was born. Thanks to incredibly generous donors, $20,000 was raised. Today, the library is nearing completion. Next up is the final stage of the project: Raising $6,000 to purchase current and relevant reading materials that will support all students. The $6,000 will buy computers and waterproof storage cabinets. A generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged to match donations up to $ 3,333. This means every $1.00 dollar pledged will instantly become $2.00. With your help we will be able to fill the new library with books, storage cabinets and computers.

On behalf of the children of Shihalia, I thank you for your generosity and continued support. Your donation will directly enable literacy and ignite knowledge and learning. It will also help children and their families escape from poverty.

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13
Jan

Gifts for the Children of Shihalia

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During a visit to Shihalia, Kenya on June 29, 2011, 500 children were surprised with many wonderful gifts. Thanks to the Shelbreds, the Stewarts and Orphans’ Heroes, each child received a new pair of school shoes, books and school supplies, socks, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Photographs: Jennifer Millett-Barrett

13
Jan

Clean Water At Last

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In this part of the region, people rely on rainwater and dirty streams. Lack of clean fresh water has led to outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, dysentery, and parasites. In 2011 we began the construction of an electric water pump for the 3000 residents of Shihalia. Water will be pumped into a large holding tank, ready for consumption each morning. This project is now in its final stages.

Photographs: Jennifer Millett-Barrett