I have been intrigued by Kenya and its culture long before we had a president who is 1/2 Kenyan. St. Louis has a relatively large population of Kenyans and many of them seem to find their way to my office to enter one of our nursing programs. I have worked with hundreds of Kenyans in my time at the community college and I have found them to be some of the sweetest and hardest working people I've ever known.
While blog surfing last week I came across a lovely fellow etsian/blogger named Namaste who introduced me to the organization called Ordinary Women, Inc. Here is their mission:
"Ordinary Women Inc. (OWI) was born out of our broken hearts during our time in Kenya. In September 2004 OWI began providing humanitarian aid and education to those in need and aims to provide a leg up for communities to become self-supporting. Our name reminds us that we are very ordinary on our own and that anything extraordinary happens only with the power from above."
You know when you read about something and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you this is something you have to do immediately, do not pass go? Sometimes I push that feeling away but not this time. I signed up to sponsor a Kenyan orphan for $35 a month which covers all of this:
- boarding school (HS) tuition, room and board, bedding, personal effects, stationary
- family and placement supervised by a qualified social worker
- nutrition and basic health care
- school uniform, clothing, bedding, & mosquito net
Unlike many programs 100% of the money you give goes directly to the kids. Here is what it says on their website about the incredible need in Kenya:
"Largely because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic taking the lives of the adult generation in Africa, a staggering number of children are literally left to exist and fend for themselves on the streets. They resort to scavenging and stealing or even worse to merely survive. Hungry and abandoned, with no one to ever comfort them, they are vulnerable, lonely, afraid and sick. With limited government welfare and "safety net" programs as in the US, limited access to get a basic education i.e. required uniform cost, no foster care, and no moral training, what kind of a society will this create for the future? Having seen the conditions first hand it is not overly dramatic to state that this is truly a tragedy of humanity!"
So many times, for me anyways, you read about the overwhelming needs and start to tune out. It's like information overload. What could I possibly do? Well, this organization told me exactly what I could do. I could put $35 a month aside, the cost of a nice dinner for 2, and give a Kenyan boy a chance to go to school and have a better life. I know exactly where my money is going, to Brian. And I will be getting a picture and updates about him regularly. I can send him letters and gifts if I want to and create a connection with his world.
I'm no Angelina Jolie and I can't go around the world making a difference, but I'm glad to find a way to make a big difference in at least one person's life.
9 hours ago