Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.
Provide a range of vocational training, including carpentry and furniture-making, to orphans who lack the ability to pass the Kenya National Primary Exam required for secondary school enrollment.
What makes your idea unique?
Our thought is to teach basic skills such as primary Math, English and Reading, partnered within a sound vocational education. Because of early deprivation, many of the orphans who come to our projects are unable to progress at a meaningful pace in a typical classroom setting. A child of 18 may be tested at a second grade primary level. It has been our experience that even gifted students who finish their secondary schooling are often faced with no meaningful way to be self sustaining.
This plan will help build Kenya’s skilled labor force. The AIDS pandemic has eliminated most of the adult population aged 25 to 40. Today’s African orphans need help learning basic trades that will develop communities and improve living conditions in rural areas.
This unique idea has already proven successful with several orphans. For instance, Rose was sent to a special tailoring school and has now returned to the local area and has established her business. To repay some of the cost of her training, Rose uses her skills to tailor uniforms for current students in our program. Another example is how Kennedy, who only completed 5th grade by age 18, was trained to become a driver/chauffeur. He now works for the Hope Center transporting staff and students.
What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)
Children & Youth
, At risk youth
, Boys' development
, Child care
, Child protection
, Early childhood development
, Education reform
, Girls' development
, Youth leadership
, Development & Prosperity
, Community development
, Conscious consumerism
, Economic development
, Food security
, Income generation
, Poverty alleviation
, Rural development
, Scholarships and grants
, Sustainable development
, Sustainable agriculture
, Health education
, Child exploitation
, Food security
, Indigenous cultures
, Women's Issues
What impact have you had?
Since 2002 with a starting point of less than a dozen children, we have grown to operate 5 orphanages with 700 resident orphans. Many of the children are HIV/AIDS orphans, while others were orphaned due to tribal conflict or disease. Dozens of young girls were rescued from early marriage, and some were saved from a trafficking network. We operate 3 primary schools with trained teachers, and one secondary school teaching all state-required subjects. Eleven of our secondary graduates attended or are attending university or associate programs. Over two dozen widows are receiving assistance to keep their orphaned grandchildren/children in their homes, with Hearth to Hearth Ministries, Inc providing school fees, medical needs, gardening supplies, and food when necessary. Over 700 internally displaced people were cared for in 2008 during the post election violence, and over $40,000 was raised in famine relief for the suffering refugees in the Rift Valley area.
We have also saved hundreds of other children from starvation by a "gate children" project, feeding them breakfast and periodically replacing their clothing. During times of famine, our older children take food into nearby villages and feed orphans who are aged 3 to 7. We believe thousands of children are alive because of our intervention. We also believe that they are the hope for Kenya's future. Since we are an all-volunteer virtual organization, nearly 100% of donations are realized on the ground in Kenya.
Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.
Although the desire to properly educate each orphan and provide them with a means to self-sufficiency is strong, the lack of funding for equipment is a major hindrance. We have had budget shortages which resulted in the inability to progress with project development as well as creating a shortage of funds for equipping educational facilities, especially in vocational training. Funds are needed to purchase hand tools, lumber and other consumables necessary to establish a carpentry course. The cost of sending one student to vocational training at a special school is over $1,600 yearly, an amount which could be used to further the program on our campus and benefit many orphans.
Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.
a.)We have established a "Projects Director" position to be a liaison between our orphanages and our Board of Directors. This person will ensure proper reporting from the administration on the ground in Kenya regarding all issues, especially agricultural, educational and general development.
b.) We have installed electricity at Hope for Children Center to enhance the development of our post-elementary educational program.
c.) We have affiliated with the African Professional Association to network with Kenyan professionals who have agreed to visit our projects when they travel back to Kenya, offering suggestions for improved progress.
d.)Our administrator has investigated the local market for feasibility and reported that there is high demand for carpentry and furniture making skills. There is an experienced instructor available, and 7 sewing machines are on site for upholstering.