For the last decade-plus, the Meeting House has supported two partnerships in Kenya: Moi’s Bridge United Orphanage and Academy and the Njoro Presbyterian Church Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program.
Both seek to provide not only critical sustenance for orphaned and other vulnerable students (e.g., food, clothing, shelter), but also prepare those children for life beyond their elementary schooling. The programs offer career counseling and financial support to cover the costs of secondary school and college tuition.
“The impact is the education and care of children who otherwise would not have had the opportunities that are now open to them,” says Meeting House member and longtime initiative steering committee member Rhonda O’Bannon, who has visited the east African nation several times to witness the programs in action.
Rhonda points out that such “opportunities” are not limited just to educational advancement.
In one instance during a visit to a center specializing in learning for traumatized children, a group lingered long in the showers and needed prodding to finish up. Why? Because they had never felt running water before.
“One of the things we cherish and appreciate is the safety of our drinkable water and a ‘refreshing’ shower. This was a reminder of what we have and take for granted.”
Of the first children to graduate from high school, five were girls and all five girls were accepted to college or university. Rhonda says, “This would’ve been incredible had the first five included only boys; in the Kenyan society, the fact that these were girls is extraordinary.”
Now, all five are fully employed with professional jobs—and there are 15 more students who have followed in their footsteps to attend college/university or a technical school.
A poem written by student John Njoroge expresses what support from the Meeting House and others means to him as well as his peers:
Giving me that push without which
I would probably stall
Your help has given me peace—
not only peace but peace of mind.
To learn more and find out how you can help, please contact Rhonda O’Bannon.