The Good Shepherd

Two days ago I was invited through Project X Impact to visit an HIV/AIDS project in Nyeri near Mnt Kenya.  In 1996 a caring Kenyan woman named Jane who was a community health worker saw a need in an area that was becoming ravaged by the deadly virus.  Children with lost parents, themselves HIV+, families torn up, and a community in despair.  Jane could not turn her back and she decided to do something.  She gathered what she could in clothing, bedding, and food donations and moved forward with her plan to do what she could.  Before long she had help from other Kenyans.  The community came along and ws engaged in educating and lobbying for the violated rights of the orphans living with HIV/AIDS. They acquired thier legal status in 2000, and through the offices of teh District Social Services began to provide a feeding programme to supplement the diets of those children in need as well as try to provide other basic needs.  The local government also came forward to help construct a safe home where The Good Shepherd Project could operate from, and building work began.  They also received a donation of land to grow bananas.  But before long an election changed everything, the new DC thought this was not worthy of funding and so a shell of a building exists. 

Still Jane soldiers on trying to support 769 HIV orphans, fostered in different homes, some grannies trying to care for as many as 9 children with little food, unsafe water and dealing with sick children. 

Her spirit is undaunted and she will find the help she needs.  Sometimes it is the Nairobi business community, and Sunday I witnessed Kenyans helping Kenyans as a group of Nairobians came together to see what they could do.  They brought food, bedding and hope.  They want to fund raise to finish construction and form an adopt a child program called Pacha (twin in Swahilli).  They are led by Michael Mwai.  There were many Heros I saw this day. Other locals that now live in Nairobi that have returned to help like Anthony Kiai who often gets urgent phone calls to round up food.  But not least was 10 year old Brian Machirak, a young boy that has lost his mother to HIV, his Father abandoning he and his siblings upon learning his + status, and leaving Brian with his elderly grandmother and 8 other children to deal with the consequences and pain of a disease that is taking it’s toll.

 

If you would like to find out more about PACHA and The Good Shepherd Orphan Project or to help, please contact Michael Mwai at michael.mwai@gmail.com

or goodshepherdorphansp@gmail.com

 

Images

The Good Shepherd Orphan Project

Jane the Program Director, she saw a need

Children reaching to say hello before feeding time

Feeding time at The Good Shepherd Orphan Project

BrianMachira, 10, his Grandmother Wangui Machira that looks after 9 children and his cousin Grace Wabura, 9.

Michael Mwai, a Kenyan Entrepreneur/Humanitarian, bringing Kenyans together to help Kenyans

 

waterwednesday photo of the day – Wednesday Jan 5 2011

Meet Dhahabu Kazungu, a 22 year old mother of 2 who lives in the tiny village of Bamba in rural coastal Kenya.  Dhahabu invited me into her home where we spoke for a while of what life is like for her as a busy mother.  Dhahabu rises before dawn so she can make a fire and take a 60 minute walk to get water for the family breakfast.  She usually goes with a friend and they make the trip another couple of times during the day.  “Water is the most difficult thing about living here.”  She dreams of better development within her family so that her children are educated and do better.