ORPHANS & VULNERABLE CHILDREN
URAFIKI’s orphans and vulnerable children scheme has been running since 2009 and now supports 260 children through primary education in the Yala district. Education is the main path to the future well-being of the community. By supporting primary and secondary education URAFIKI promotes knowledge, skills and self-confidence both in individual children and in the community as a whole.
Primary education is free in Kenya but does not include the cost of school uniform and school meals, examination registration fees, and payments for non-government teachers.
Many families in Yala cannot afford these costs. Children who have lost their parents, often to AIDS, are especially vulnerable, but poverty and need are sadly almost universal. Many children live with their grandparents, more usually their grandmothers. They are at constant threat of malnourishment and some are infected with HIV. Many come to school almost too hungry to learn, and their school meal can be the only food of the day.
The age range in primary schools normally runs from 5 to 14, but the later classes contain many older children, who started late or have missed years and may be 16 / 17 when they leave. Class sizes can be as high as 50 or 60, with five or six children crowded round a desk or onto a bench.
It costs just £8 per month – £96 per year – to support a child in primary education. By sponsoring a child you are not only giving the children of Yala hope for the future, but also supporting the schools themselves. Every sponsor receives a picture and story of the child they sponsor, and an annual photo with an update of their progress.
URAFIKI is also supporting a range of activities to add value to the orphans and vulnerable children scheme. Eve Muliango in the URAFIKI centre oversees the whole programme, which is based on close supportive relationships with local schools and their head teachers. She knows every child by face and name. She recently ran a sanitation week. Her drive and organization ensure that the schemes aims are achieved. This involves
• Supplementing the diet of children who are HIV positive, a vital addition to their medical treatment
• Providing school dinners in cases of urgent need
• Ensuring that every month each child gets a soap to wash themselves and their clothes.
• Providing blankets, clothing and shoes for the children from poorest households
• Making school uniforms and washable sanitary towels in the URAFIKI centre
• Providing counselling to avert teenage pregnancies
• Expanding the secondary school support programme so that high achievers can continue after primary school
Any extra donations raised through fund-raising activities can be put towards these supplementary schemes. The pay-off is not only for the children but for all the poorer households of Yala and the general health and morale of the community.
Winifreda loves running around with the older children; she’s full of life and energy. But at 2 years old, she could neither walk nor stand. She had spent too many hours sitting in a cold room on a bare floor. Her mother, who was HIV positive and sadly also struggled with alcohol problems, died giving birth to Winifreda because there was no-one to deliver her baby safely.
With all the odds stacked against her, Winifreda’s prospects looked incredibly bleak. Babies born to mothers in these circumstances are often found to be HIV positive, and many suffer from foetal alcohol syndrome. But thankfully, not this remarkable little girl! Tests showed she had escaped both of these potential threats.
Winifreda now lives with her stepmother, and through Urafiki’s OVC scheme, receives free school dinners, and soap to keep her school uniform clean. Her future looks much brighter.
Moses stands out from the crowd – in more ways than one. He towers over the other children in his classroom, who are far younger than him. Yet he is a wonderful role model – a young man who is determined to get to secondary school, and won’t let the deprivations of his childhood stop him.
When he was growing up, Moses’ mother left his abusive father, determined to bring up their 4 children on her own. She sold vegetables to earn an income, but there was often not enough food for even one meal a day. Like so many children who join the OVC scheme, Moses’ situation had become desperate, and his education suffered.
Now Moses is studying hard to catch up, and give himself the best chance in life. He gets free school dinners, and has a smart, clean school uniform. And what’s more – he has plans!
Caroline has been looking after her siblings since she was 9. Her father has mental health problems, and her mother died after giving birth to her youngest child, because there was no-one to look after her or provide her with food.
The family lived in a mud house with a leaking roof and pools of water on the floor, where the 4 children slept. They had nothing – no food, no clothing. It seems unthinkable, but this was the reality witnessed by Nancy when she first visited.
The Urafiki team have been working closely with Caroline’s family ever since. They make sure the children don’t go hungry, and supply clothes and bedding. Now Caroline can go to school, and her brother, Fred, has joined the Urafiki secondary school scheme. They have a fresh chance in life, and people who care about their safety and happiness.
We still need YOUR help
Juliet is the second child in the family and stays with her mother and 3 siblings. Her mother is desperate for the girl to be educated and avoid the poverty that she finds herself in. Juliet has been taken on to the scheme with the promise of finding a sponsor. She is so proud in this photo as she has new uniform and is clean and smart. For just £8 a month you can help Juliet stay in school and have regular food and soap and the care and support of the URAFIKI team.
As an orphan, at 8 years old Abubakari relies on his grandmother to feed him. She labours on people’s farms for a very small wage. Often the family goes to sleep hungry. He is a promising boy and loves going to school. Can you sponsor Abubakari for £8 a month and help him to secure the hope of a better tomorrow.
Life for Whycliff is hard, more so for his mother who is bringing up three children on her own after the murder of her husband. Whycliff is in class 2 and 9 years old. Your support will help him to stay in school with fees paid, regular food and monthly soap to keep his uniform clean. Can you sponsor Wycliff for £8 a month?
Justus is 12 years old and stays with his mother. Since the death of the father the family has been in despair with the mother desperately trying to feed four children. She works as a house girl and earns barely enough for a meal a day for the children. Giving Justus a primary education will help him avoid a life of alcohol and give him hope for his future. Can you help support Justus for £8 month.
Sponsor for just £8 month
You can see from his smile that Collins is bundle of fun. He is so excited to be on the OVC scheme as now he will get new school uniform. Life is not always fun for Collins as his mother struggles to feed him and his sister so a daily meal is not guaranteed. Could you sponsor Collins for £8 a month and keep this little boy smiling for life?