Tag: Kenya

Apr 11 2012

Backgrounder on birth certificates for sponsored children

Birth certificates in Kenya

Millicent worked hard to acquire birth certificates for her children Robert, left, and Ben, right, both sponsored through Unbound.

What’s in a name? Depending on where you live, it can mean a whole lot of difference, especially when it comes to government documents such as birth certificates.

Many sponsored children, aging friends and their family members in our Kisumu, Meru and Nairobi projects in Kenya do not have birth certificates.

The reasons for this vary. Sometimes parents cannot afford to deliver their children in hospitals.

Because there’s no one to notify the government when births occur at home, many of these children end up without a birth certificate.

A birth certificate is a copy of an official government document that proves you exist. It gives you an identity and validates your importance to society.

It can be difficult, if not impossible, for those without birth certificates to gain formal employment, open bank accounts and own property.

Unbound has undertaken an initiative to help families obtain official birth certificates. Through this initiative, we’re taking steps to empower them to take control of their futures and create a positive self-identity.

Read more about how Kenyans are obtaining birth certificates despite tremendous obstacles.

Apr 5 2012

Couple visit sponsored friend in Kenya, connect across cultures

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.

CFCA mission awareness trip - Newton and Scheryn Pratt

Newton and Scheryn Pratt on a 2010 mission awareness trip to Kenya. The Pratts have sponsored Newton for six years

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

Mar 27 2012

How a Kenyan chief used Twitter to tackle community crime

We were delighted to see this recent CNN article about a Kenyan chief using the social network Twitter to thwart a robbery!

cell phoneOnce the chief in the town of Lanet Umoja discovered that thieves were breaking into a neighbor’s house, he sent a tweet that local residents picked up through a free text messaging service.

Once residents surrounded the house, the would-be thieves fled.

Not only does this story show the power of a unified community, but it also demonstrates the reach of social media and cell phones in Kenya. The use of cell phones in that country has increased dramatically since 2000.

Janet Tinsley, CFCA project director for Kenya, said that cell phones have revolutionized the way that people connect there.

Even though landline telephones were historically too expensive for most families, cell phones have become more available as the government loosened controls on the telephone industry.

“A new, basic cell phone still costs around $100 in Kenya, far out of the reach of most of the population,” Janet said. “However, there are very vibrant used and black market cell phone markets operating in nearly every corner of the country. Read more

Mar 23 2012

Dominican Republic trip shows positive, sustainable change

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

We really had an “early-morning CFCA flight” out of Kansas City.

Twenty-eight students and faculty from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., boarded our same flight for Atlanta.

From Atlanta, Cristina and I went to a mission awareness trip to the Dominican Republic, and they are en route to a CFCA mission awareness trip to El Salvador.

Godspeed, dear friends. Thanks for keeping CFCA on the move!

At CFCA, we favor a culture of learning and listening.

Here are a few things I have heard this week in the Dominican Republic.

Sponsored youth Monica to her Puerto Rican sponsors, Beridiana and Rafael: “It has been many years. You are much more than sponsors. You are like my parents, and I love you.” (These sponsors have been with CFCA for 23 years.)

Sponsor: “Something I learned on the mission awareness trip (MAT) to Chile. Please keep in mind the elderly. Chile was my first MAT, but I’ll be going on many more trips with CFCA.” Read more

Mar 9 2012

Inspiring stories from sponsored children, youth in Kenya

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

What a joy to be back in Africa!

It’s so very encouraging to see the spirit of CFCA growing in this area. In particular, I would like to express my gratitude for the support and solidarity of our African sisters and brothers before, during and after Walk2gether.

(Please note: All photo credits in this report go to Regina Mburu, CFCA’s communications center liaison in Nairobi, Kenya.)

CFCA scholars

CFCA scholars in Kenya are dynamic, generous and very creative.

Listen to this poetic testimony of CFCA scholar Stephanie, this dynamic young woman from “up country.”

Stephanie has finished her secondary studies and is registered to continue her education, studying psychology at the University of Nairobi. Read more

Feb 2 2012

Wisdom of the Ages: James, 74, from Kenya

CFCA sponsored aging friend, James, in Kenya

James, 74, sponsored through CFCA in Kenya.

James, 74, has been sponsored for 10 years through CFCA in Nairobi, Kenya. He has seven children and enjoys exercise, especially bike riding. Sponsorship has given James a new lease on life.

What is your secret for long life?

I have always strived hard to maintain my health. I avoided taking alcohol frequently and I stayed off cigarettes.

As a young man, I was very active in exercising and I believe it has contributed to my long life. Being keen on the type of food that I eat has also added me some years.

What advice do you have for young people?

There is a saying that goes, “An empty mind is the devil’s workshop.” I would urge the youth to keep themselves busy with constructive work. They should strive to earn an honest living.

What is the most important thing your mother taught you? Read more

Jan 26 2012

Sponsor meets Kenyan child – ‘what being human is all about’

By Laura Seyfang, CFCA sponsor

As a longtime CFCA sponsor, I had often read the invitations to join a trip to visit my sponsored child.

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia, in Kenya

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia.

While I felt committed to the CFCA mission and loved sharing letters with my two sponsored children, one in the Philippines and one in Kenya, I never felt able to justify the time and expense of such a trip.

This past December I was able to make it happen when I combined a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Trip with a visit to my CFCA sponsored child in Kenya.

I wasn’t sure CFCA would embrace my visit since it wasn’t one of their trips, but was very happy to receive overwhelming support to make this personal connection happen.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-denominational Christian organization whose goal is to provide decent affordable housing for all. This organization provides opportunities for volunteers to help build houses in nearly 50 countries around the globe.

During my trip to Kenya with 20 other volunteers, we were able to work on constructing four houses for families in an internal displaced persons camp, where they had been living in tents for almost four years.

It was a lot of hard work, but the results were extremely rewarding.

At the conclusion of the Habitat Build, I hired a driver who took me to Meru in northeastern Kenya, where my sponsored child, Sophia, lived. Read more

Nov 22 2011

‘Spirit of love’ infuses Kenya/Uganda mission awareness trip

By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Nairobi

CFCA sponsor Susan Colton hugs her sponsored child, Ritah, in Uganda

Susan Colton hugs her sponsored child, Ritah, in Uganda.

Each mission awareness trip stands out from the rest. The recently concluded trip was no exception.

The 12-day trip around CFCA projects in Kenya and Uganda started on a high note with 18 trip participants in good spirits and excitement as they touched ground in Africa.

The orientation day set the pace for the six days that the sponsors would be in Kenya. Here they met and interacted with staff members and learned more about the Nairobi project.

A visit to the Nairobi coordinating office and the Kangemi outreach program gave them a chance to see how CFCA works.

It was exciting to see their eyes light up as they experienced a deeper understanding of the program. Read more

Oct 10 2011

Helping sponsored friends despite economic insecurity, inflation

Beth, mother of CFCA sponsored child and beekeeper in Nairobi, Kenya

Beth, a mother of CFCA sponsored children in Kenya, started beekeeping to generate more income for her family and rely less on sponsorship benefits. This becomes even more important during unstable economic times.

Inflation is a daily reality for many of the families CFCA serves. Despite these and other economic challenges, we remain committed to helping families find long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty.

The following post has been adapted from an article written by Janet Tinsley, CFCA project director.

By now, we are all familiar with the nearly constant news about economic crises around the world:

  • a stock market crash sends economic shock waves across the globe
  • a civil war impedes the distribution of oil and drives up transportation costs
  • severe drought conditions cut off peopleís access to adequate food supplies and means of income, etc.

All people worldwide are affected in some way by fluctuations in the global economy.

Since 2006, the worldwide purchasing power of sponsorship contributions ñ $30 a month ñ has decreased 5 percent, and in some countries where we work it has fallen more than 20 percent.

We hear from projects all the time about rising prices, inflation and economic crises in the countries where we work.

Meanwhile, we often hear from sponsors about how difficult it is for them to meet their monthly contribution in the midst of rising prices, inflation and economic crises in their own country.

What does this mean for project teams struggling to provide quality benefits and services for sponsored friends? Read our answer

Oct 5 2011

Sponsorship = ‘meeting someone from a different place’

CFCA sponsor Sophie Samson

Sophie Samson

Fourteen-year-old Sophie Samson of Osseo, Minn., sponsors Linda, a girl her age in Kisumu, Kenya.

Sophieís parents pay for the sponsorship, but Sophie writes the letters, said her mother, Toni Samson.

Sophie has always been a compassionate person, so Toni wasnít surprised when one Christmas, Sophie asked to sponsor a girl her age instead of asking for material gifts.

Compassion runs in the Samson family. Sophieís 11-year-old brother is thinking he may sponsor a child, too, Toni said.

With Sophieís support, Linda receives educational support, health care and participation in Christmas and birthday celebrations.

Questions for Sophie: Why did you choose to sponsor Linda?

I wanted to help someone who is less fortunate than me.

Describe your correspondence relationship. Do you exchange letters often, occasionally or seldom? Does Linda write good letters?

I try to write as often as possible, but it takes awhile to receive letters since we live so far apart. We write about every other month. Linda writes good letters. She usually tells me about her family, tennis, and school.

How do you feel knowing your support has given Linda the opportunity to play tennis and discover her amazing talent?

I think itís awesome. I am very proud of her, and I hope she continues to play tennis for a long time.

Have you met Linda in person? Have you considered meeting her on a CFCA mission awareness trip?

I havenít met Linda in person, but I would like to someday. I think it would be really cool to go on a mission trip, so maybe sometime soon I can go.

Is there anything you would like to share about Linda or sponsorship?

I have had a good experience with sponsorship, and I would encourage other people to try it out. Itís a great way to help someone out and meet someone from a different place in the world.

I think it is a really great opportunity for the person being sponsored and for the person who is sponsoring.

Note: Linda is a talented tennis player. Read more about her story.