"It has been a few months now since the Distribution Trip in Kenya, and the staff at VICDA have been busy visiting the projects that benefitted from your kind donations to assess how the money was spent and to begin planning for next year.
The feedback from the projects was very encouraging, and the Directors at each project were very grateful for the support they have received. Your donations enabled the GVN Foundation and VICDA to provide the food needed to support an incredible 168 children in one placement alone, at Shelter Children’s Home- just in time as the school holidays were starting, which means more mouths to feed! Kenya is currently experiencing some of the highest food price rises in history, enhancing food insecurity and making it more difficult for families to survive. As you can imagine, even a slight rise particularly hits orphanages and children’s homes hard, and ensuring food security became a priority across several of our projects.
Where possible, VICDA ensured your donations were spent with sustainability in mind, and a great example of this came at Nairobi Children’s Home. Whilst also meeting the direct needs of supplying food to the orphanage, most of the funds were spent on purchasing a new fridge for the home. This has helped immensely in reducing food prices, as now food can be purchased in bulk and stops any food from going to waste.
Additionally, at Thika Rescue Centre your funds helped to develop a sustainable agricultural project, assisting in the purchase of equipment, water piper and seeds to get the project started. When visiting the placement a few weeks later, it was great to see the crops thriving and the teachers informed us that the various classes tended to their own patch proudly, seeing it as a competition! Not only does this initiative enable the home to produce some of their own vegetables, but it also gives the children a chance to train in a very practical Kenyan trade, assisting them for the future. Finally, it was great to see the long term aim of Thika Rescue Centre is to construct a Green House, and they are already planning how to spend any future funds productively.
There were inevitably, several challenges and some alterations with the planned distribution of funds. At Happy Life Children’s Home, VICDA had put aside a significant amount of money to pay for an operation one of the young boys needed. Fortunately during the course of the planning, he was adopted and can now receive the care he needs from his new family. With considerable funds set aside for this operation, it was decided to donate these towards the Home’s considerable medical expenses at the hospital, which will enable the continued treatment of other sick children.
VICDA also used some of the funds to construct 6 new houses at one of the IDP camps they support. This was particularly successful, as it benefitted widowed and vulnerable women as well as their young children, reflecting 2 of the core objectives of the ESTC campaign. In addition, whilst the houses are very simple and assembled within 3 days, they are amazingly transferable incase the IDP camp is moved in the future.
At another IDP camp, the VICDA staff have become very involved and integral to the lives of the residents there. With the construction of the new school complete, your funds helped to assist 21 children in partially paying for their school fees. 2 children in particular were so happy to get back to school, they spent the same evening with their new classmates to catch up on the work they had so far missed!
So overall the distribution of funds was a huge success, and so many people benefitted from your kind contributions. Despite the rise in food prices which forced our attention towards meeting the immediate food security needs of many of our projects, we were able to implement a number of long term and sustainable projects which we hope to continue supporting in the future.
On behalf of VICDA and everyone at the projects, Asante sana!"
From everyone at ESTC, a huge thanks to Simon and everyone at VICDA, and to our all hosts who helped raise those funds in 2010. ESTC 2011 is just around the corner, and if you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late! You can sign up at www.eatsotheycan.org to help make this year's event as successful as last year's was!
- Luke and the ESTC team.