Both are proud of their heritage. Read more to find out how they included that heritage in their card designs.
Fred and Scheryn Pratt have sponsored nine children over the years with CFCA. One of them, Newton, is pursuing an education in art with the help of CFCA and the Pratts, who contribute to his art school fees in addition to sponsorship.
Here is an excerpt of a conversation our correspondent Natasha Sims recently had with Scheryn about their sponsorship experience.
I heard you got to visit Newton’s home and school. What was that like?
It was very eye opening. He goes to the Buru Buru Art Institute, and it’s a college.
It’s very nice with a lawn and grounds and nice buildings, and we toured the school. And that was just like a typical college, but small ñ not big like in the U.S.
Well, his home is in a very poor slum. It is one small room for three people: his older brother, his mother and himself.
It’s crowded in the sense that there’s so little space and there’s very little furniture.
When I say one room, I mean 12×12 or 8×8, so it’s small. It’s on the third floor of an apartment building.
There was one light bulb hanging from the ceiling, but the power had been turned off so they had no electricity. The neighborhood is full of trash ñ you know, nothing growing, just mud and dirt. Read more of Scheryn’s interview
By Marcia Willman, CFCA director of child services
At 11, Kinya knows how important an education is for her future because she is growing up where there often isn’t one.
One day I received a letter from Kinya that changed both of our lives. She wrote, ìI’m now at a new school Ö This is because we moved after eviction. I’m still working hard.î I knew that Kinya, her mom and two older brothers were squatters on government land at the foot of Mount Kenya, but this word, eviction, caught me by surprise.
It is obvious that Kinya is loved deeply by her mom. Kinya is a joyous child. She is a good story teller. She shares her life with me in every letter that she writes. Her stories bring us together and build the bonds of our friendship. So when I heard that word eviction, I knew I had to help her.
I chose to sponsor Kinya because she is being raised by a single mother who struggles to put food on the table and pay rent because she can find occasional odd jobs. I know the challenges of being a single mom because I am one, too. Thus, I feel compelled to help another woman and mother in less fortunate circumstances provide the most basic needs of food and shelter for her family.
I have been painting with watercolors for years. I never considered marketing or selling my art until trying to figure out a way to help Kinya. I finally realized that I could use my God-given talent to help my friend.
For more than two years I have been on a mission to sell my paintings. Along the way, I won the right to call myself an artist. I send the proceeds from my art sales to help Kinya’s family. Last April Kinyaís family was able to purchase half an acre of fertile, productive farm land.
Kinya’s mom, Ann, immediately planted row after row of corn and potatoes to take advantage of the pending rainy season. Ann proved to be hard-working and industrious. Along the way, she proudly rose to the role of provider. While weeding with a hoe in hand, Ann beams in the photos I received from Project Timau. Annís smile demonstrates her strength to overcome adversity when given the opportunity. It shows she believes her family has a future.
So, Kinya’s house was built. Ann’s first crops were harvested. And, Kinya’s family bought two sheep because they were able to feed themselves and generate enough income by laboring on their own land. Along the way, Kinya found comfort and a safe haven from eviction. ìAt last I’m enjoying rains in a nice house that doesn’t leak. Thanks a lot for making my life happy Ö You are part of my life, I cherish your care.î Once again, I received another letter from Kinya that changed my life. It feels wonderful to be an artist, to help another single mom and to be cherished by Kinya!