Category Archives: Kenya

Dan talks with Unbound friends and their families.
May 22 2015

A gift for Africa Day

Dan gives a fist bump to a young girl outside the Unbound office.

Dan gives a fist bump to a young girl outside the Unbound office near Kibera slum in Kenya.

By Dan Pearson, Director of International Programs

What’s the best gift for a continent? May 25 is Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity. But don’t worry if you haven’t gotten Africa a gift yet. The day hasn’t really caught on in the U.S. like other celebrations of international origin such as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, but that may change.

The mental maps of many Americans are pretty blank when it comes to Africa, and the topics we associate with the continent are mostly negative: slavery, poverty, starvation, dictators and war. It’s true that Africa’s history is deeply marked by suffering, mostly at the hands of outsiders but also self-inflicted. Modern Africa is changing rapidly, and it is time we all took note.

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Faith, an Unbound sponsored youth and scholar in Kenya.
May 20 2015

Gotta have Faith

Faith, an Unbound sponsored youth and scholar in Kenya.

Faith, an Unbound sponsored youth and scholar in Kenya.

When most girls her age were playing with dolls, Faith was wondering where she and her sister would get their next meal.

Faith was 7 when her father passed away. Three years later her mother grew ill and died, leaving Faith at 10 years old to care for herself and her younger sister.

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Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.
May 8 2015

Happy Mother’s Day!

Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.

Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.

Happy Mother’s Day from Unbound! As you get ready to celebrate your mom on Sunday, take a moment to check out all these amazing moms from around the world. They are overcoming great odds to give their children better futures.

And don’t forget to share your Mother’s Day photos with us on Monday. Post a photo on Instagram of your mom or a photo of you with your mom, tag @Unboundorg and use the hashtag #MotherMonday.

Peter, 47, from Kenya roasts goat meat for his customers.
Apr 27 2015

‘Behind every great man’

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Peter has a big smile as he chats with his customers while weighing and chopping meat for them. Peter is from Kenya and works as a butcher, selling goat meat, raw or roasted, to support his family.

“I have been doing this for the last two years,” he said. “It gives me great joy to be a butcher. This job, though it seems messy for some, helps me put food on my family’s table.”

I follow Peter around his butchery, and the zeal with which he goes around doing his work is admirable. As he puts some meat on the fire to roast, Peter lets me in on the history of his business.

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Mary goes over a poem with her daughter, Veronica, who is sponsored through Unbound in Kenya.
Apr 22 2015

Mother and daughter poetry duo

Living in Kenya as a widow with six children hasn’t been easy for Mary. Aside from dealing with emotional loss and a lack of income, Mary and her children often faced disapproval.

“I have had to deal with negativity from the society that mistreats widows and single mothers,” Mary said. “I have had to overcome self-pity over my situation and that of my children — that has been the greatest challenge. Trusting in God and in a brighter future is what keeps me going.

“I am just grateful that Unbound stepped in when all my hope was lost,” she continued. “They sympathized with my situation and two of my children got sponsored. … I am also hopeful that with the help of the small mothers group loaning system I will be able to start up a livelihood business in the near future.”

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Kenyan mothers from diverse faiths work together through Unbound mothers groups.
Apr 10 2015

Kenyans mourn while standing against violence

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Editor’s note: There have been no reports of youth sponsored through Unbound being affected by the April 2 terror attack on Garissa University College in Kenya.

As the long Easter weekend approached, we were excited and busy making plans on how best to enjoy the holiday with loved ones.

Then we got the news that Garissa University College in the northeastern part of Kenya was under siege. The school is part of the Moi University system.

Terrorists had taken over the Garissa campus. With guns and knives, they took the young lives of 148 students.

Easter celebrations were dampened. The mood was somber as the whole nation was thrown into mourning. Our Kenyan flag, flying at half-mast, served as a symbol to honor the lost lives.

The news media reported that terrorists targeted students who were not of the Islamic faith. Tensions between Christians and Muslims heightened, even while leaders from both faiths condemned the attacks.

Unbound-Kenya serves beneficiaries from both Christian and Islamic religions. As a program, Unbound serves the two religions without favor. Members interact and live harmoniously with each other. Some have formed great friendships, thanks to the Unbound mothers groups.
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Purity, 11, from Kenya.
Apr 6 2015

Help Purity find a sponsor

Purity’s morning routine in rural Kenya looks similar to that of many fourth graders in the U.S. — with a few important differences.

After her mom, Jane, wakes her at 6 a.m., Purity washes her face, gets dressed, eats breakfast, brushes her teeth and walks 15 minutes to school. But here’s where it’s a bit different.

The water Purity uses to wash her face and brush her teeth comes from an outdoor pump. Her mother makes breakfast over a wood fire. The home doesn’t have a latrine, and Purity has to go to a neighbor’s to use the bathroom.

“Digging a deep pit [latrine] costs money, which we do not have,” Jane shared. “… It has not been easy.”

Purity lives in a town about an hour outside Nairobi with her parents and three older brothers. Jane is a cook at a local school, and her husband sometimes gets jobs working on farms. Their combined income is only about $30 in a good month, and isn’t enough to support the family of six.

Covering school fees for Purity and her brothers is increasingly difficult. Their eldest son completed high school and would like to go on to college, but funds are too tight for him to do so.

Jane has seen the positive outcomes being part of the Unbound program has had for many of her neighbors, and hopes her family can experience the same. She knows sponsorship will help cover Purity’s school fees, making it possible for her to stay in school.

“I want Purity to have the best education,” Jane said. “I want her to study up to the highest level of education. I am sure with a good education, her future will be bright.”

Despite the hardships her family faces, Purity is still a very happy little girl. She enjoys school, where her favorite subject is science, she loves playing with her dogs and dreams of becoming a teacher someday so she can “teach children things that they do not know.”

When asked if she had a best friend at school, Purity said, “I do not have a best friend. I just have many friends who I play with. I like playing with everyone.”

Purity turned 11 yesterday. Make her birthday extra special this year by helping her get a sponsor.

Editor’s note: Since the publication of this post, Purity has been sponsored. Thank you for making her birthday special. Click here to view others still waiting for a sponsor.

Rita, 24, from Kenya.
Apr 1 2015

Changing mindsets on educating girls

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Twenty-four-year-old Rita recently graduated with a bachelor of arts in gender studies, sociology and political science from a renowned university in Kenya. She has worked hard to reach what she considers one of her greatest achievements, despite the many challenges she faced growing up.

Rita was born and raised in a remote area of central Kenya outside of Meru. Her father was polygamous, and her mother, Beatrice, was the third wife. She grew up with her 17 siblings. Rita’s mother worked as a teacher and her stepmothers were housewives.

In the traditional African setting, a man is allowed to take as many wives as he wants and sire as many children as he is able. A man’s worth was measured by the number of wives he had and the children borne to him.

“It was not easy growing up in a mixed family,” Rita said. “When my father passed on, life became unbearable.

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A sponsored elder
Feb 18 2015

Proud and dapper

A sponsored elder

A sponsored elder near Meru, Kenya.

Sara Asmussen, Project Specialist for Unbound in Kansas, sent us this picture from her travels in Africa. She was visiting the offices in Meru, Kenya, and visiting homes of sponsored friends in the program. One day, they were traveling to a community and met the gentleman pictured above.

“The staff there explained to me that he is a group leader of the sponsored elderly in his area,” Sara said. “We commented on how sharp he looked. He smiled and said that it was because of Unbound that he is able to have clothes like this and take care of himself.”

Unbound is the only major sponsorship organization that offers sponsorship opportunities for the aging. Access to medical care and nutritious food fills significant gaps in countries with no safety nets for their oldest citizens.

And the Unbound community remedies the all-too-common loneliness faced by elders through support groups, recreational activities and more.

Show your support by sponsoring an elder through Unbound.

Kenyan parents
Feb 6 2015

Rejecting a cultural practice that harms girls

Daniel and Sophia

Daniel and Sophia, in Kenya, oppose FGM.

Daniel speaks proudly of his cultural heritage and passing it along to his children. There’s one tradition he and his wife won’t continue, though, in order to protect their daughters.

Female genital mutilation — also referred to as FGM or female circumcision — is a difficult subject to talk about in their culture, but the Kenyan couple agreed to speak with Unbound about their views.

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