A beacon of hope:Charity work in Africa
Children of the Donyo Loip Orphanage and Vulnerable Children Care Center Program in Laikipia, Kneya, receive tooth brushes and training on proper teeth care during the recent 11 years cxelebration since the inception of the charitable program . pic by G.Gitau, Ajabu Images
by Gaylord Njui Gitau, Ajabu Africa News, posted September 26, 2010
LAIKIPIA, Kenya_The sad memories of growing up during the colonial era in the white-owned Falcon Coffee Estate (Kiihu Estate) in Kiambu left a determined resolve to alleviate poverty among the underprivileged in Samuel Njoroge Kinyanjui. His father Daniel had been a mnyapara (supervisor) in the coffee farm with two wives and ten children but without an inch of land.
This was because his brother (Njoroge’s uncle) had duped his father of his 4-acre inheritance while he was in detention during the struggle for independence. To therefore feed his family was a tall order, leave alone to comprehensively educate it. Young Samuel, being the first born was forced to sell kales, repair roads, act as a watchman and prune coffee bushes to get school fees.
His father and the entire family moved to Laikipia from Kiambu in May 1976 to look for greener pastures. Here the situation grew worse with no roads, human-wildlife conflict looming large, hunger and tribal clashes necessitated by the need for pasture among the Samburu, Kikuyu and the Maasai. With this cycle of grinding poverty, Njoroge vowed to fight for the orphans and the less privileged when a chance arose. This calling to care for the less privileged and vulnerable children, was not one he could ignore. It was what led him to start pastoral work in 1980 at Faith Homes Churches of Kenya, Marurui. He later enrolled in Nyang’ori Bible School on a part-time basis and graduated four years later in 1984 as Pastor Samuel Njoroge Kinyanjui.
And therefore 16th August 2010 was a day of celebration to mark eleven years of Donyo Loip Orphanage and Vulnerable Children Care Center Program. This center lies in Laikipia West constituency in Olomoran Division, Kirima Location in Ndunyu village along Kinamba – Sipili – Olomoran Road.
The area is demarcated as one of the arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya. Its infrastructure is underdeveloped and therefore the area is underserved with basic services.
Donyo Loip Acrobatic Team on 16th August 2010 during the celebrations to mark the 11th year of the center.
Inception and Growth
Started in the year 2000 by Pastor Samuel Njoroge Kinyanjui popularly known as Moko the community mobilizer, his main objective was to provide basic services to the orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in this semi-arid Laikipia. The basic services are mainly education, healthcare, shelter, food, water and psycho-social support.
This project started with 5 children in an 8 by 8 foot semi-structure at the Bobo Chief’s Camp in Ndunyu village. The center was registered and certified by the Social Services with a nursery school starting immediately. The number of children that enrolled was 105. In the year 2003 the Donyo Loip Orphanage partnered with Global Alliance for Africa to develop the program.
In the year 2005, the number of children population had risen and there was need for a larger space. Pastor Samuel donated one and a quarter acres of his land in Mbara-inya 3 kilometres from the Chief’s Camp in Bobo. In the new piece of land they built structures where they started offering day care services for 85 children and shelter for 20 children.
The center has been able to acquire eleven and three quarters more acres of land around the initial donation by Pastor Njoroge. Now it is a single 13-acre block of land with 6 semi-permanent classroom structures, one office, 3 semi-permanent dormitories and 3 acres of developed farmland, 6 permanent toilets and 6 semi-permanent bathrooms.
Physical activities and children are inseparable, thus in 2005 he started an athletics program that currently has 20 children. His vision is to have them become international athletes. In the 2007/2008 athletics season, five girls from the center managed, through their coach Mr. Tuitho, to qualify for a Japanese competition where they performed admirably. Upon return, their achievements earned them sponsorship to much better schools and a marked improvement in their homes.
Linda Stolz of Global Alliance for Africa from Chicago (a partner) with children of Donyo Loip Orphanage.
Currently the center has 150 children with schooling starting from baby class, nursery and class one to four. The center is also currently sponsoring three children for their high school education. Since its inception, over 300 children have benefited from the project, with majority of them acquiring tertiary skills like mechanical, tailoring, carpentry and masonry skills.
With the increasing number of orphans in Olomoran Division, the demand to provide them with basic services has grown ten-fold making their day-to-day running operations budget to hit 110,000 Kshs per month while they can only raise 40,000 Kshs of this budget comfortably.
Transport is another key challenge since there is no vehicle in the center. The mode of transport here includes use of bicycles, handcarts and donkey-drawn carts. The situation worsens when a child falls sick. Getting to Mijore dispensary which is 5 kilometres away turns into a nightmare. Olomoran dispensary is 11 kilometres from the center in the opposite direction. The danger posed by the wild animals and cattle-rustlers is spine chilling especially when a child falls sick at night.
The national electricity gridlines are about one and a quarter kilometres away hence the challenges to cook and light the place are real. They use lantern lamps for light at night and firewood to cook.
The older children (class 5 to 8) attend their classes in neighbouring schools which may be far and return to the center in the evening.
This is due to lack of classrooms but they are now under construction. There is also a dire need for school equipment including textbooks, exercise books, pens, uniforms, sports ware and utensils to take care of the big number of children. The dormitories need metallic double-decker beds, beddings, mattresses so as to accommodate more vulnerable children.
Getting water is also a major problem as the center gets most of its water from a community-built dam and as it dries up the water turns bitter. It also becomes infested because animals also drink from the dam. This leads to the spread of water-borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhoea. Malaria is also a real danger due to the stagnant dam water. The need for a water purifier is quite apparent.
Giving Back to the Community
Through the mobilisation of 35 community based organisations, the project has extended in the whole division with the discovery of more needy children. The center also has a community development outreach aimed at empowering the guardians on social-economic affairs to help achieve food security and alleviate the burden on the center.
This is achieved by hosting seminars with professionals to guide the guardians and the community at large on good agricultural practices and hygiene.
The center has also started a rain-water harvesting project and it now has two tanks which store enough water for their daily use. In addition, when water is scarce, the center provides drinking water to the community.
The director, Pastor Samuel Moko (with red tie) and the Olmoran Division Education Officer Mr Omondi ( in cap)
The center has been organising medical camps for the community in conjunction with St. Mary’s Hospital Lang’ata’s “Least of These” department under Dr. Michael Johnson after every three months.
Pastor Njoroge’s plan is to have a borehole drilled in order to have a consistent water supply in the dry season and increase agricultural activities in the area during the rainy season. This will enhance food and water security even as new and permanent houses are constructed in the center.
He is excited by the contribution of well-wishers and donors. Special thanks go to Global Alliance for Africa and Kuki Gallman, the Laikipia Rancher. Good Samaritan Orphanage from Mathare slum has also greatly helped them and Nuru Africa who contributed mosquito nets to women in the child-bearing age group (50 years and below) and other well-wishers.
Pastor Njoroge’s maxim is, “You will not be remembered for the food you ate or for the small or big houses that you lived in, rather you will be basically remembered for two things; the problems you brought upon humanity and the solutions that you provided humanity.” He has chosen to be a solution provider to his generation, and with the promulgation of the new constitution, he sees a bright future for Laikipia County.
For further information, Pastor Njoroge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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