Providing for the physical and educational needs of children

Initiation of Msingi wa Tumaini

My wife and I have recently established a charity called Msingi wa Tumaini, which means "Foundation of Hope" in Swahili. It is a UK-based charity (currently a limited company but not yet registered with the Charities Commission). We were inspired to create the charity during our recent visit to Kenya, when we witnessed the deprivation and suffering of the hundreds of orphans who live in the village of Uyoma in Western Kenya, a village near Lake Victoria and the city of Kisumu.

Many orphans and vulnerable children at the local Gagra Primary School suffer from hunger, HIV and a lack of proper clothes (including shoes) and educational materials (personal copies of school books, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.). The local school lacks many basic facilities, including a library or computers. As many as three or four children share one old copy of a school book and have to memorise what they learn without reference to any notes as they cannot afford to buy paper or pencils.

Many of the children also suffer from visible illnesses such as ringworm and jiggers in their feet which come from walking without shoes and sleeping on mud floors in the huts in which they live. The sheer number of orphans, many of whom are children of people who died from HIV, is overwhelming for any visitor. Many of them live with relatives, aunts, uncles or grandparents, many of whom have to support three or more orphans.

With these thoughts stirring in our heads, we resolved upon the solution of creating a charity that focuses on the local school and the orphans and vulnerable children of the area. Msingi wa Tumaini aims to provide for the physical and educational needs of orphans, vulnerable children as well as young women and mothers, including child protection, basic literacy and numeracy, nutrition, hygiene, arts and crafts, agricultural skills, animal husbandry and other essential skills. We currently focus on Gagra Primary School in Uyoma, where there are a high number of orphans and vulnerable children. We also plan to establish a children’s and junior youth empowerment programme for children aged 7 to 14, which teaches moral values as well as literacy and numeracy skills.

Many women in Uyoma are also the sole providers for orphans who are usually nephews and nieces, grandsons and granddaughters or other relatives. We believe in the importance of women as agents of change in rural communities, so we aim to provide agricultural, literacy, numeracy, hygiene and child protection training that will empower them to become independent and assist them in passing on values and education to the next generation.

Please get in touch and I will give you the charity's bank details so you can set up a standing order. Even if you can only commit to £5 or £10 month, you will be helping to support orphans who desperately need help and will contribute to the development of hope, education and a brighter future for children and women in the village of Uyoma.

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