Tags Posts tagged with "Kenya"

Kenya

Retired teacher Virginia Armstrong, district head of IT Ken Jockers, head Buddhist Monk from Long Island Buddhist Meditation Center Bhante Nanda, and Superintendent Gordon Brosdal prepare to load computers to be donated into cars at Mount Sinai Elementary School July 18. Photo by Kyle Barr

An African proverb states that “It takes a village to raise a child.” Though when helping to get 140 computers in the hands of children overseas, more than just a village is necessary.

Virginia Armstrong, a retired Mount Sinai educator, joined up with Bhante Nanda, a Buddhist monk from the Long Island Buddhist Meditation Center in Riverhead, and the Mount Sinai School District to help ship 140 retired netbooks, or small laptop computers to children in both Sri Lanka and to the Maasai tribe in Kenya. Thirty will go to Sri Lanka and the rest to Africa. District Superintendent Gordon Brosdal, Armstrong, Nanda and others were at Mount Sinai Elementary School July 18 to help load the computers into cars headed back to the Riverhead facility where they will be shipped out.

“When the world is in many pieces – when people are just pushing each other away, it’s the little guy, the people on the ground that will keep the world going,” Armstrong said.

Both Armstrong and her partner Ron Hamilton have been working together for the past five years to raise donations for children of the Maasai tribe in Africa. Though the school district donated the computers to them last year, the project hit a snag this year when the district learned the shipping cost climbed upwards of $80 per box. The two requested the help of Nanda, who is a native of Sri Lanka, and he agreed to help ship the large bulk of computers as long as he could send some back to his homeland as well. Shipping donated items is something he and his community have been doing for more than two decades.

“We get satisfaction and happiness from helping others,” Nanda said.

Computers set to be shipped and donated to Kenya and Sri Lanka from Mount Sinai Elementary School. Photo by Kyle Barr

Armstrong retired from Mount Sinai after 28 years of teaching. After leaving the district she first decided to climb the 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Afterwards she went to the rural parts of the country to teach. That’s where she met Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko, the leader of more than 5,000 Maasai tribal members who reside in Kenya and Tanzania. His group, the Maasai Good Salvage Outreach Organization, receives outside donations of many necessities and supplies from outside Africa. Armstrong and Hamilton have dedicated the past several years to sending clothing and other supplies for the children there, and the Mount Sinai School District has been a big supporter of their efforts.

“It’s faith over politics,” Brosdal said. “[Chief Joseph] and their culture is so strong, and then we have [Nanda] who’s helping too. It’s become so multicultural.”

The netbooks are all approximately five years old and were deemed obsolete by the district. Ken Jockers, the director of information technology at the school district, said each netbook has been reimaged, meaning all computer files have been wiped and all programs re-installed. All the netbooks currently run Windows XP operating system and contain Microsoft Office programs. Being reimaged means they should require little fixing and maintenance.

“That’s important, because maintenance is so hard in some of these places,” Armstrong said.

Nanda arrived in the United States from Sri Lanka in 2001, and he said he has come to love the cultural diversity of this country. While his group of Buddhists have existed in Port Jefferson for several years, in 2017 they opened their Riverhead meditation center, where Nanda said many people, not just Buddhists, come to meditate and find peace.

With a smile that can illuminate a dark room, Nanda said that doing things like donating the computers, helping children both overseas and in the U.S. is an integral part of his and his community’s beliefs.

“Everybody needs peace and happiness,” Nanda said. “Buddhist, Christian, whatever we are, if we don’t help human beings, and if we don’t help other people we lose a part of ourselves.”

Mount Sinai teacher Virginia Armstrong hands a netbook to a Maasai girl. Photo from Virginia Armstrong

One former Mount Sinai educator is proving what a world of difference we can make if we share the wealth.

For the past four years, Virginia Armstrong, an English teacher for 28 years, has helped the district in partnering with the Maasai Good Salvage Outreach Organization to raise donations for communities in Kenya. After retiring with a love of teaching and for students, Armstrong first climbed 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania before deciding to teach in Africa. That’s when she met Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko, the leader of more than 5,000 Maasai tribal members who reside in Kenya and Tanzania. The organization builds schools for needy and vulnerable children, especially girls forced into early child marriage or who become victims to female genital cutting.

Armstrong invited Chief Joseph to Mount Sinai Middle School to give a presentation, and students and staff presented him with donations.

“We share our lifestyle and culture of the Maasai people,” Chief Joseph said of the assembly. “We got a good welcome and reception, and receiving their help is a very good feeling. It’s teamwork. They’re all able to bring us together and help my community.”

Maasai children gather around their new technology. Photo from Virginia Armstrong

Small donations of clothing eventually grew to include sneakers and 40 laptops in 2015. Armstrong’s son Matthew, now carrying on the family’s teaching tradition at Mount Sinai, helped set up the clothing drive as part of Athletes Helping Athletes, and director of information technology Ken Jockers proposed the repurposing of the laptops.

“We were impressed with their presentation and viewed them as a worthy candidate for donation,” Jockers said. “We are happy to see that the Maasai can make some use of them.”

This year, the school handed over a batch of 140 eight-year-old netbooks that were deemed obsolete by the district.

“It opens up the world to them,” Virginia Armstrong said. “They come into the world with no electricity or internet and for them to have access now is a fabulous thing.”

Mount Sinai Superintendent Gordon Brosdal takes great satisfaction in the partnership between the schools.

“Knowing they’re going to schools to educate young children and young women — to raise them up — means a lot,” he said of the computers. “They’re such kind, gentle people and extremely grateful, but I don’t know if this would be possible without Virginia Armstrong. She still has all this energy and excitement. It’s amazing what she does with this group and she makes the Mount Sinai community proud. It’s hard to think she’s even retired because she’s totally dedicated to these people.”

The high schools for the Maasai people in Kenya were  recently wired for electricity, according to Armstrong, who is also the organization’s New York representative, booking Maasai members to come to schools, libraries and churches, where they speak about their culture and sell handmade jewelry and other African-made merchandise. Chief Joseph said the schools have also been trying to make use of green power, so some of the schools are installing solar panels to generate electricity to charge the laptops.

Mount Sinai district members donate clothes to the Maasai, including Chief
Joseph Ole Tipanko. Photo from Virginia Armstrong

Chief Joseph said the clothing and sneakers have meant a lot to his people, especially because most of the women don’t have shoes, but also said the computer donations have opened their eyes to how other people live, and they’ve also become a major teaching opportunity.

“It is new technology to us,” he said. “It enables teachers to access information, to do research. It helps them to keep records and it gives the students an opportunity to learn to use technology. They’re also learning how to type.”

Chief Joseph said personal donations given to his organization go toward feeding the children, or providing school lunches.

“It goes a long way changing their lifestyle,” he said.

The well wishes and support though, especially from the Mount Sinai school district, are unparalleled.

“It allows us to exist,” he said. “We look to continue this relationship for the betterment of our communities and share what’s happening on the other side of the world. It helps our students connect, and it shows people out there are thinking about them, love them and care.”

To find out more about Chief Joseph’s Maasai tribe, visit www.magsaoutreach.org. To find out more about the Maasai’s ties to Suffolk County or to donate, visit www.leavingfootprints.org.

by -
0 770
Port Jeff business owner Joey Zangrillo during a July trip to a Kenya orphanage he hopes to help expand. Photo from Joey Zangrillo

By Alex Petroski 

Main Street in Port Jefferson and Nairobi County in Kenya are separated by 7,300 miles, but a chance meeting between a local business owner and a Kenyan lawyer has made a world of difference for needy children in the impoverished nation.

In 2016, Annette Kawira, 28, moved with her then-fiancé from Kenya to Port Jeff. One night she and her now-husband, who relocated to begin working at Stony Brook University, found themselves in Port Jeff looking for a place to eat and ended up dining at the Greek restaurant Z Pita. Owner Joey Zangrillo struck up a conversation with Kawira, who had been a practicing lawyer in Kenya. She told him about her home and about a charitable effort in which she had previously been involved. Kawira said she used to donate 10 percent of her monthly salary to a cause being undertaken by a pastor in a suburb of Nairobi, whose mission was to help orphaned and forgotten children living on the streets without proper care.

A well that was established in large part through a fundraiser at Zangrillo’s restaurant. Photo from Joey Zangrillo

According to Kawira, Pastor Hika Kamau and his wife Judy realized after several church services that when tea and bread were shared with members of the congregation, several children would appear to eat and then disappear. Kawira said Kamau was curious about what was going on with the approximately dozen children. So after one service he told the children he would gladly feed them lunch; but in exchange he asked them to introduce him to their parents. It then occurred to him many were orphans, and others had families that were either unable or unwilling to care for their children.

“He just wondered, ‘Where do these kids go during the week?’” Kawira said.

This sparked Kamau’s motivation.

In 2009, the pastor set up what would eventually evolve into the Bethsaida Orphanage, headed by the Bethsaida Community Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping needy children in the area, with the help of the Bethsaida Women’s Empowerment Group. The school, which is also home for many of the children, originated as a small dwelling built out of mud and soil on the grounds of the church for the original group of children the pastor met after services. Through word of mouth, the number of children served by the school has ballooned to more than 100, with 72 kids from 1 year old to 17 years old living permanently on the site, which has grown through the exchange of the pastor’s ancestrally inherited land.

Kawira said she was happy to donate part of her salary to help the cause.

“Every time I would give it to them, I realized what I was giving really wasn’t making a difference, because they would probably just eat, buy a few utilities — that doesn’t change the situation that they were in,” she said while sitting at a table inside Z Pita. “My interest with the kids was to just make sure whatever we do, it’s sustainable. I don’t think you can beg forever … what can we do that will empower these kids to empower themselves?”

When Kawira found herself at Zangrillo’s restaurant last year, they struck up a conversation, and the restaurant owner told her about his own charitable effort on which he had just embarked. Zangrillo founded a company called Race Has No Place, an apparel brand with a mission of breaking down barriers between people of different races. Purchasers of the apparel, upon check out, are instructed to select a charity of their choice toward which to direct 10 percent of their purchase. Zangrillo and Kawira soon realized their missions intersected and decided to team up.

Kawira explained the story behind the pastor’s mission in Kenya, and by July of this year, after a fundraiser at Z Pita, the Port Jeff business owner was on a 25-hour excursion to see the desperate area for himself.

“I’m telling you — what good food can do,” Kawira said, laughing about the lucky circumstances that led to the charitable partnership. “Good food brings people together.”

Port Jeff business owner Joey Zangrillo during a July trip to a Kenya orphanage he hopes to help expand. Photo from Joey Zangrillo

After the first fundraiser and additional money accumulated by a donation container that sits on the front counter at the restaurant year-round, enough money has been raised to begin the construction of a well at the orphanage, which will provide much-needed clean water.

“I’m never going to forget them — I’m going to make this a lifelong mission, as long as I’m alive,” Zangrillo said, reflecting on his eight-day trip to East Africa.

Zangrillo and Kawira have enlisted the help of Maureen Nabwire, a native of Kenya, who serves as a project manager for their efforts and has plans to venture to Port Jeff to establish a game plan for 2018. Plans include figuring out how much money needs to be raised and how it will be done to make the facility everything it needs to be for as many needy Kenyan children as possible.

“Annette and Joey are the kindest and most beautiful souls, and I am so glad I get to work on this initiative with them,” Nabwire said in an email. “They have marshaled the Port Jefferson community into this great cause, and I am super proud of them. They have brought the plight and needs of Bethsaida community children home to a much greater audience and the response has been immensely positive. Annette and Joey represent the society we want to have where your neighbor’s trouble or suffering is your problem. From what they have done, the home down here in Kenya is going to take care of the children without trouble, and guarantee them basic needs and a good education.”

Kawira tried to sum up what the extra attention being paid to a needy group in her home country has meant so far, and what it will mean in the future.

“We’re dealing with kids who don’t have primary resources — water, clothing and shelter,” she said. “It would be hard to explain how dire the need is until you see it.”

To learn more about the cause, visit www.facebook.com/racehasnoplace. For more information about the Bethsaida Community Foundation or to get involved, visit www.besahemi.org.

Student Giancarlos Llanos Romero will be joining the SBU team on a trip to Kenya this summer. Photo by Phoebe Fornof

By Daniel Dunaief

In a region known for the study of fossils left behind millions of years ago, a team of students from Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is planning to travel to Kenya this summer to learn about and try to solve the challenges of today.

The university will send eight undergraduates to the Turkana Basin Institute for the engineering department’s first program in Kenya, which will run for over four weeks. In addition to classroom study, the students will seek opportunities to offer solutions to problems ranging from refrigeration, to energy production, to water purification.

The students learned about the opportunity in the spring, only a few months before they would travel to a country where the climate and standard of living for Kenyans present new challenges. “We were skeptical about how many students we would be able to get,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, the dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who “didn’t start marketing this” until after he took a trip to Kenya and the Turkana Basin Institute, which Stony Brook created at the direction of world-renowned anthropologist Richard Leakey.

Giancarlos Llanos Romero, who is interested in robotics and nanotechnology and is finishing his junior year, had originally planned to spend the summer seeking an internship in the Netherlands or Germany. When he learned about this opportunity, he immediately changed his focus. “I need to do this,” Romero said. “This is much more important than anything I could do in an internship.”

On first blush, the trip is anything but ideal for Romero, whose skin is sensitive to extreme heat, which he can expect to encounter in the sub-Saharan African country. He didn’t want that, however, to stop him and is planning to travel with seven other people he met for the first time last week. Romero said his immediate family, which is originally from Colombia, supported the trip.

Sotiropoulos, who is in his first year as dean, embraced the notion of connecting the engineering department with the Turkana Basin Institute. “Before I came here” said Sotiropoulos, “I felt very passionately about making sure that engineering students became familiar with the rest of the world” and that they understood global challenges, including issues like poverty and water scarcity.

Sotiropoulos met with TBI Director Lawrence Martin during one of his interviews prior to his arrival at SBU. Martin invited Sotiropoulos to visit with Richard Leakey, the founder of TBI whose family has been making scientific discoveries in Kenya for three generations.

Women and children in Kenya searching for, and drinking from, water found beneath the dry riverbed. Photo by Lynn Spinnato

This program quickly came together after those meetings. The two courses will teach students about design thinking, said Robert Kukta, the associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Stony Brook would like to help students develop “the ability to think broadly about solutions and boil it down to the essence of the problem,” Kukta said. This, he said, will all occur in the context of a different culture and local resources.

Students will start their summer experience in Nairobi and then they will travel to Princeton University’s Mpala Research Centre, Martin said. “The journey through Kenyan towns opens visitors’ eyes tremendously to how different peoples’ lives are in different parts of the world,” Martin explained by email. “The goal is not so much to contribute immediately but to understand the challenges that people face, the resources available locally and then to improve their ability to think through possible solutions.”

Once students arrive at TBI, they will have an opportunity to see fossils from many time periods, including those from late Cretaceous dinosaurs. “Every visitor I have ever taken to TBI is amazed and in awe of the abundance of fossil evidence for past life on Earth,” Martin said.

A distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry at SBU, Benjamin Hsiao, who traveled with Sotiropoulos to Kenya in the spring, is a co-founding director of Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center. Hsiao has been developing water filtration systems through IGESC, which brings together TBI with universities, industry, international governments and foundations. He is well acquainted with the challenges the first set of students will face.

“Once we bring technologies over to Kenya, [sometimes] they do not work for reasons we have not thought of,” which include dust or a broken part for which it’s difficult to find a replacement, he said. “Those failed experiments give us tremendous insight about how to design the next-generation systems which will be much more robust and sustainable and easier to operate by local people.”

Acacia Leakey, who grew up in Kenya and is Richard Leakey’s grandniece, recently completed her senior design project as an undergraduate at Stony Brook. Her work is intended to help farmers extend the life of their tomato plants when they bring them to market.

About 32 percent of the tomatoes go to waste from the extreme heat. Acacia and her team developed a vegetable cooler that employs solar panels to reduce the temperature from 32 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius, which should extend the life of the tomatoes. Her classmates were “surprisingly supportive” of her work, she said, as some of them hadn’t considered applying their skills in a developing country.

Leakey, who will train for her master’s degree at Stony Brook this fall, will continue to provide insights into Madagascar, another developing African nation where the university has an internationally acclaimed research center. This summer, she will produce a video that will record information from villages near Centre ValBio in Madagascar, which she will bring back to Stony Brook in the hopes of encouraging others to use that information to create their own design projects next year.

As for Romero, who is raising money for the trip through a GoFundMe page, he is prepared to discover opportunities amid the challenges of his upcoming trip and is eager “to be able to actually help a community and say I left a mark.”

Fotis Sotiropoulos and Chrisa Arcan with local children in the village of Ileret.

By Chrisa Arcan

Led by Dr. Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), a group of Stony Brook University faculty and administrative personnel visited the Turkana Basin in Kenya in March with the goal of setting the stage for the 2017 CEAS Global Engineering Field School (http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/ceas/news/2017/march/global_innovation.php).

The trip was organized by Dr. Lawrence Martin, Professor at Stony Brook University Department of Anthropology and Director of the , (TBI) (http://www.turkanabasin.org), a Stony Brook University affiliated institute established in 2005 in Turkana, Kenya, by world renowned anthropologist and Stony Brook University Professor Richard Leakey.

Fotis Sotiropoulos and Chrisa Arcan with local children in the village of Ileret.

Under this newly established CEAS summer program, a group of undergraduate engineering students will visit TBI for an immersion education on global issues and needs that are different from what they are familiar with, in order to develop engineering solutions to address the survival challenges of people in rural Kenya and other places facing similar issues.

TBI facilities were developed with the purpose of offering a permanent infrastructure to enable year-round paleoanthropology and related scientific research in this remote area of sub-Saharan Africa. The Turkana Basin is a region where abundant evidence documenting the history of human evolution has been uncovered.

Recent research on DNA shows that every human being alive today can be traced to a common ancestral population that lived around that area 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. It is literally the birthplace of humankind. Today TBI, with its two field centers, one on either side of Lake Turkana, is a global center of excellence in paleoanthropological research.

Women and children dig deep into the dry river beds to find their daily water supply.

Our first stop was a two-day stay at Mpala Research Centre. The center is affiliated with Princeton University and conducts research in conservation and wildlife with a focus on benefiting the surrounding communities. Thanks to the director of the center, Dr. Dino Martins a former TBI postdoc at Stony Brook, our stay at Mpala was absolutely memorable: We toured the research facilities, the surrounding areas and dry river beds and brainstormed on opportunities to harness the local resources and develop programs that would benefit the local communities, and we marveled at the amazing landscape and its rich wildlife.

From Mpala we boarded a single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan airplane and flew to TBI to start our next journey in the northern-most region of Kenya to Ileret, a small remote village in northern Kenya, in the east side of Lake Turkana, close to the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

As we took a tour of the local clinic, Beatrice, the nurse of the clinic described the multiple health conditions of the locals, especially the children, and the limitations under which she works. The majority of children suffer from at least one type of malnutrition with a large percentage of them being stunted; the latest prolonged drought has exacerbated their condition and increased their deficiency of multiple essential nutrients.

The clinic we visited, a stand-alone small structure, consisted of only a few rooms and of bare medical essentials; everything was in dire need of repair: broken windows, cracked walls, limited medical supplies and a nonfunctioning fridge meant to store drugs, to name a few.

Yet, despite all this, Beatrice and her assistants work tirelessly to perform medical miracles (and always with a smile), from prenatal care, to deliveries, albeit their complications in need of serious surgical procedures, to child nutrition supplementation, to treating any communicable disease, to community education for family planning, vaccinations and many more. My discussions with the nurse brought to life my education on global health and nutrition.

We had the opportunity to see firsthand the local needs and current community projects supported by TBI, like the clinic, school and teachers, and appreciated the opportunities in alternative energy solutions, food systems and health.

We visited the local villages and witnessed the devastating effects of the worst drought in 60 years on peoples’ survival. We saw women and girls digging by hand deep into the ground to find a little bit of precious water, which they also had to carry back to their homes.

Needless to say the water was contaminated with organic and inorganic material, and the apparently clean water from boreholes had fluoride at dangerously high levels. The drought and scarcity and poor quality of water took a devastating toll on food production and livestock for people in that region. Thus food quantity and variety are extremely limited and the signs of food insecurity are apparent in every child and adult.

Village houses

We visited the village homes, single-room domelike structures, built by women from tree branches and corrugated metal sheets that serve as both a cooking and sleeping space for the entire family. Cooking inside the structures creates dangerous air pollution, and as the nurse in the clinic pointed out, respiratory problems are the most prevalent health conditions, especially among children.

We had the chance to interact with the locals and best of all to play with the children; their excitement and fascination when we took selfies and saw themselves on the screen was contagious. What a joy to interact with the happiest children that I have ever seen, despite their daily hardship for survival!

Located in a remote area with scarce resources, TBI is the ideal place to serve as an incubator for inspiration and pilot testing of future engineering, agriculture and public health ideas that can be transferred to benefit the local communities.

All the facilities at TBI have been built by locals using construction materials that, for the most part, were manufactured on-site. The facilities are powered using wind and solar energy and the water is purified using reverse osmosis. It is even equipped with a small greenhouse farm, testing vertical hydroponic and organic farming techniques that can support the growth of a variety of vegetables under harsh local conditions. All these initiatives and more serve as inspirations for future sustainable programs that can benefit the local communities.

Our trip to Kenya lasted only a week but it was filled with fascinating and enriching experiences. We left with many images, impressions and feelings, but most of all with a hope and a motivation that each one of us has found a compelling reason to return and contribute. However, our trip would not have been as rewarding and fulfilling without the organization and hospitality of everyone whom we met and who contributed to our memorable experience.

Chrisa Arcan, PhD, MHS, MBA, RD is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University.

Artifacts were sold to help raise money for the children in the orphanage at the Hope Children Fund’s 10th anniversary celebration at the Heritage Trust Center in Mount Sinai. Photo by Giselle Barkley

With the help of Hope Children’s Fund, the children of Joseph Kirima Rwito’s orphanage in Meru, Kenya, have never had to wonder where they were getting their next meal or resting their head in the last 10 years.

On Saturday, the Hope Children’s Fund board of directors celebrated the 10th anniversary of its involvement in Rwito’s orphanage at the Heritage Trust Center in Mount Sinai. The orphanage, called The Jerusha Mwiraria Hope Children’s Home, provides food, shelter and education for orphaned Kenyan children and those who are struggling to get by despite living with relatives. For these children, education is key to a brighter future, and Larry Hohler, president of Hope Children’s Fund, and his team, are doing what they can to help.

In addition to celebrating another year, the organization aimed to raise enough money to help these kids go to high school, or other higher educational institutions. The Hope Children’s Fund got involved with the orphanage after Rwito saw countless children on the streets.

In the early 2000s, the AIDS epidemic in Kenya left many children without parents or relatives to care for them. According to Hohler, of Port Jefferson, Rwito took 45 of these children and started a feeding program, but after seeing the children return to their life of poverty, Rwito wanted to do more.

Larry Hohler interacts with children in Meru, Kenya. File photo
Larry Hohler interacts with children in Meru, Kenya. File photo

He asked Hohler to help create the orphanage, and now, upwards of 80 children of various ages reside at, or go to the orphanage. Hohler said the orphanage is so successful that Kenyan authorities and other community members bring kids in need there. While part of the goal is to help these children, Hohler said funding additional children isn’t easy.

“The problem is that they just leave them here, and they don’t help us pay for the upkeep,” Hohler said.

Despite this, the organization and the orphanage received help from Shoreham-Wading River High School students in the past. According to Hohler, they donated countless books to the orphanage for the kids to read and enjoy.

Hope Children’s Fund board of directors member Nancy Rose said the high school students used to visit the orphanage, but stopped. Rose was unsure why they stopped visiting, but said some kids stay in touch with the children they met at the orphanage.

Funding doesn’t just help feed the kids, it helps send them to school. Once the children reach eighth grade, they must take a test to determine if they can move up to high school. Those who fail the test must retake it to advance. While paying to get into high school is another alternative, the majority of these children do not have the finances to afford high school. It’s up to the orphanage and the Hope Children’s Fund to provide that funding once the child passes the test.

According to Rose, who is a mentor to several of the children, the institute hoped to raise $7,000 to $8,000 to help the kids who are preparing to take the exam. Although Rose is unsure if the organization will reach its goal, it still aims to do what it can.

“If they study hard and they pass the test, you just don’t want to tell them ‘I’m sorry, you can’t go, because we can’t come up with the money,’” Rose said.

Rose and her husband, Phil, started helping the children in the orphanage 10 years ago, and found out about the Hope Children’s Fund through their daughter. According to Phil Rose, those who mentor children at the orphanage are responsible for paying one dollar daily, which goes toward the children they mentor. The money raised during Saturday’s event also went toward funding the children’s education.

Those who didn’t want to purchase merchandise at the event could make a donation or use iGift to help the children in Rwito’s orphanage. iGift allows people to purchase goods from participating stores and donate at the same time. A small percentage of the money from that purchase goes toward helping the orphanage.

“I know a lot of people say there’s a lot of children in our country, but this is a good effort and a lot of people spent a lot of time to make it work,” Phil Rose said.

His wife added that, in addition to taking these kids off the street and providing them with a better chance to succeed in their lives, the organization’s goal is for the orphanage to be self-sustainable over time.

“When they do finish with school, they’re expected to come back and give a certain percentage of what they earned to the home itself so that the next kid can go [to school],” Nancy Rose said. “The whole idea is not about a bunch of American do-gooders coming in. It’s about helping them be sustainable and giving them an education, and celebrating their own country and their traditions.”

Social

9,389FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,154FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe