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Welcome  to Umoja Orphanage Kenya's first Newsletter 2016

2016 is the year that we will open the doors to our first children’s home. 
But we need your help!  Read on to see what we have been doing since our volunteer tour that returned in October.  We haven't been resting on our laurels, as we've been busy with continued construction of our children's house; plus ensuring we have excellent water storage, education of our soon to be social worker, training of a house mamma, and bringing together our sustainability with the completion of a chicken house. A 40 foot container full of donated goods to furnish the house and clothing and bedding for the children is also sitting on our land. So now we have the crops, the electricity, the water, cows for milk, and soon chickens for meat and eggs. All we need are the funds to complete our first children’s home and we will be ready to take in orphans.
After you have read our newsletter, PLEASE see what you can do to assist us. A dripping tap fills a bucket one drop at a time, and your donation could help us reach the top.

I wanted to share this with you all.  Do you remember this book? Someone had posted on Facebook about a quiz that could tell you which children's book you are most like.  So I took the quiz. I was sure I'd get a Dr. Seuss one, but I landed with the Watty Piper book  'The Little Engine That Could'. This book sums me up me perfectly as Umoja is an epic journey to date full of challenges and celebrations of milestones. But I’m always ready to climb the next hill.

 (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) has partially funded a water and sanitation project at Umoja Children’s Village. Work began in November with time off over the Christmas period. A 3 level water tower is being constructed to hold 50,000 litres of water from our borehole. The water tower is huge as it will be enclosed on each level to accommodate future staff in 'bedsitters' with their own room, shower, and toilet.
This has been our second grant approved from Australian Aid in two years.  A massive thank you must go to team member Shanyn Limpus who writes our grants for us. Awesome job again! We thank Australian Aid for acknowledging the work we are doing and supporting our sustainability.
Our chicken shed is now complete. This shed will house up to 300 chickens as part of our sustainability project. Chickens will be the gift that keeps on giving as we will use their eggs and meat to give our children a healthy diet. We will also sell surplus eggs and meat to the community markets. We are now seeking sponsors to purchase our first 200 chickens, so they can be growing and laying for when we open the doors of our children’s home.
Want to help us purchase our first 200 chickens and food for them. Click here to see how your donation of as little as $5 can assist our chicken project.

A steady stream of donations has allowed us to continue construction of our children’s home.  The currency exchange rate between the US dollar and the Australian dollar has affected us greatly over the past 18 months, as we raise funds in AUD and pay for construction in USD.  We wholeheartedly thank a wonderful and kind person Nola Brimley from Victoria—who has been a supporter and volunteer to the project twice—for her extremely generous donation towards our water tower and house. Also thank you to our ongoing supporters and new supporters and donors. Without your assistance we would be unable to continue towards our goals.

Our kitchen has been constructed in a different style to what we are used to in Australia; the outside concrete pillars have been transformed into 'tree-trunk' style so that you would think they are real. The fundi (tradie) does a great job. Also the undercoat has been completed on the traditional lamu ceilings in all five bedrooms.

The children's home - We are down to needing now approximately USD $10,000 to complete construction to open our doors for our first children.

Guest Speaking

It was great to be able to update Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) at the November meeting at the Gold Coast, and to meet other people from so many other great projects in other districts. It truly makes you humble to see how Rotarians are making a difference all over the place.

Early in January I set off on a road trip down to New South Wales to guest speak at Rotary Clubs in Coffs Harbour and Terrigal. A joint meeting was held in Terrigal with North Gosford Rotary Clubs.  I also spoke at Coffs Harbour Daybreak Rotary Club. These were lovely parts of Australia to visit.  A huge thank you to the Rotarians who came to hear me speak about the project and to those members who hosted me, along with one of my daughters and two grandsons who came with me. It was great to be able to do some sightseeing along the way and it was lovely to meet you all.


Kind helpers

We have received an influx of knitted, crocheted, and sewn items. These items will not only help our future children but also the community around us and other orphanages we are able to share with. Thank you so much each and every one of you wonderful sewing ladies. I'd like to say a special thank you to dear 90 year old Rene from Bundaberg who is in a nursing home and has put so much love into her knitting and crocheting for us. 

Please note: we do not require any more items at this time. 

Catching up

It was great to catch up for lunch in Bundaberg with one of our September volunteers at the project, Gordon from Gladstone Rotary Club. We brainstormed on ideas for the project and viewed magnificent photographs from Gordon’s time in Kenya. One of the benefits of creating the Umoja project is meeting so many lovely, kind,and caring people along the way.

A helping hand for our future staff member

Martin (with the backpack in the photo above) is being sponsored through University and will soon graduate as a Social Worker in April. YIPPEEE!!  He will be the first in his village to achieve a university degree. I first met Martin and his family at their village on my first volunteering trip and subsequent trips to Kenya. I saw a gentle young man who had so much to give with untapped potential for learning. He spoke often to me of his aspirations to continue to help orphans, but there was little he could do to attend university to become a social worker. His father somehow managed to scrape together the funds for his first term by selling off some livestock. Martin's father then died unexpectedly and any hope of him achieving his dream went out the window, so we assisted him to continue with his education and upon graduation we will employ him at our project. Martin has done his practicums at the Goodlife Orphanage, our mentoring orphanage in Kenya, and he has been given fantastic reviews of his time there.  He sends his results to us, which are always of a high standard, and keeps us updated on his theory. When the first orphan from Goodlife Orphanage moved out into the workforce recently, Martin was there with the Goodlife’s social worker to assist.  Martin does this as a caring human being, as he is not paid and has to fund his own transport from his University to Mombasa. In this photo he is assisting Abdullah with the purchase of a bed and transporting it to Abdullah's room, which he rents. 

Martin is going to be a huge asset to us as he will be in charge of liaison with the Children's Department, collection of children, court hearings for children to be awarded guardianship and a birth certificate, (as most will not have one or even know when they were born), children's physical health and mental health plans, their counselling, and whatever children need within our home. Hopefully one day Martin will also be able assist with the adoption process. It has been a pleasure to see Martin embrace learning and work towards achieving his degree. We are looking forward to employing Martin as Umoja’s first social worker. Martin is an example of what can be achieved if a helping hand is given.

More thanks to:

  • Our wonderful supporter from Gladstone who has donated more medical supplies to take up to Kenya for our next health clinic in September this year. 
  • The Rotary Clubs who have donated.
  • Past and future volunteers to the project who continue to support us in any way they can; including thinking of fundraising ideas, to holding fundraisers, guest speaking on our behalf, spreading the word, and purchasing items for children in need that they've met while volunteering in Kenya.
  • Discovery Coast Rotary Club and Gladstone Sunrise Rotary Club who have decided to sponsor a child each.
  • Donna Munro (whom I have never met) who has organised for the 3rd year our Umoja Writing Competition . Please share to anyone you know who loves writing.
  • Bundaberg News-Mail who ran an article on us on the 22nd December 2015.

What we need for 2016 - Can you help us?

As you can see there is always a lot going on pulling this project together.  It hasn't happened overnight and takes a lot of planning and raising funds to ensure that sustainability is in place prior to taking in children.  When the children's house is finished, and we take in our children, we know that we have put the foundations in place for their health and well-being. 
Why not consider contributing to one of our projects within our project or help us to complete our children's house.
For as little as $2 a month you can contribute to one of the projects below, or alternately, perhaps you would like to sponsor our monthly staff wages? We are going to have to hire 4 more staff (like Martin from above) when we take in our first orphaned children.

We need:

USD $10,000 approximately to complete our children's home
USD $1,500  to purchase shade cloth for more crops
USD $4,000  to fund solar panels + solar hot water system for children's home
USD $1,000  to buy bull + permits and transport to service our females to increase stock
USD $4,000  to establish a biogas system for re-useable energy (gas for cooking)
USD $3500 to purchase shipping container for conversion into office/residence (includes permits and transport). 

USD $50,000  from Rotary Clubs/Businesses/Service Clubs to assist in application for a Rotary Global Grant to purchase a new vehicle for collecting children, hospital visits, court hearings, and collecting materials and taking produce to market.

Donate here  and be part of the big picture of Umoja.  Until next time, stay safe and happy.    Cathy & the team. 
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Copyright © 2016 Umoja Orphanage Kenya, All rights reserved.
Registered in Kenya as Umoja Children's Village - Ukunda
Registered in Australia as Umoja Orphanage Kenya. Registered Charity Number CH2110

Australian Business Number 9016541649
Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) Project Number 51/2011-12
Proudly sponsored by Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg

Our mailing address is:
133 Barolin Esplanade, Coral Cove, Bundaberg. 4670 

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