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Updating you on what's been happening at the project.
 
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GOAL ACHIEVED!

Exactly 5 years to the day since Umoja Orphanage Kenya was founded, our first 5 little children joined us for their new lives in their new home.

 

You might need to get a coffee - this is a big newsletter packed with information on what's been happening at Umoja!
 

In my last newsletter I wrote that we were nearing our anniversary and so close to completing the first house, and it would be pretty special if we had our first children before that date. Well, destiny had a part to play and it was incredible that our first children were rescued and brought to our home on the 30th July - exactly 5 years to the day since I founded the project!  It was also my birthday so what a special day. 
Unfortunately I had returned to Australia one day earlier and did not see the children arrive, but I had been there for their assessments to join our home. Never did I ever imagine we would ever receive twins, but we have, as our first children. 
Thank you to each and every one of you who have assisted in so many ways to make this happen for these children and more to come yet.The volunteers who give up their own time and money to come to Kenya to work for nothing to assist us, every person who has assisted with donations in kind, financial assistance and who held fundraisers for us, to RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service) who took us on as a project of theirs, to all Rotary Clubs who have assisted us along this journey, and especially my family and close friends who make up the Umoja Team, who have been my rocks along the journey to date.  Thank you for all your hard work always. To those that said it couldn't be done - thank you for the push along. 
Now onto the next phase of the project. There is much more to be done to get us as sustainable as possible, raise funds for a second home, a school, and that requires hard work and money.
MEET OUR TWINS ALEXIS AND ALARE
LET US INTRODUCE YOU TO OUR NEW CHILDREN
 
The twins Alexis (female) and Alare (male) aged 5 months
Kaingu (male) aged approximately 18 months on the left below
Duncan (male) approximately aged 1 year and 10 months below on the right
Edna (female) and Duncan's sister aged approximately 4 years below on the right

MY SIX WEEKS IN KENYA

I returned to Kenya in June to oversee the finishing of the first children's house, hire more staff, security, prepare contracts, organise more building, purchase items for the house, and attend many, many meetings, and attend assessments of children in great need, in preparation for our incoming children. It was a busy time, also a challenging and frustrating time to try and get everything in place and organised for our children's arrival. It was also emotionally and mentally draining to see how little children could be in such dire need and not to be able to help all of them. I had seen it so many times before, but now being faced with who would enter our home, well, that is the hardest part as you can't help but be affected by what you see and hear.  However I managed to have everything done in readiness for the children with the help of our wonderful Project Manager Patrick and our Social worker Martin.

MITCHELTON ROTARY CLUB FUNDRAISING DINNER
 

Our greatest thanks to John & Karen Sinnamon and Mitchelton Rotary Club who organised a fundraising dinner for us in June, which raised $15,000 to push us over the line to complete the home, and purchase many requirements for it.  The night was a great success, and our first fundraiser in Brisbane hopefully with many more to come. The highlight was to have my close friends, most of my family present, especially my mum, aunts, great aunts, cousins, and other cousins I had not seen for 40 years attend, and a special highlight was the surprise arrival of Ian Ritchie from Mackay West Rotary Club who flew down to surprise me at the dinner.  Ian was one of our first volunteers to the project which seems now so long ago, and it was so lovely to have him there as we raised the money to complete the home. Ian had been to the project when there was virtually nothing, and helped complete our caretaker's building. I often say the people I have met along this journey I was meant to meet, and we have formed such great friendships. That is such a bonus to have the people I've met enrich my life so much.

OUR NEW STAFF

We are pleased to increase our staff which will assist them immensely to be in employment.  Some have never had a job before. This takes our staff to 12 people.  12 people who now are now able to feed their family effectively and send their children to school if they have them.  We have hired 2 widows from our community to assist them care for their children which eases the burden on the villagers to care for them.
Rachael - House Aunty  full time
Lozi  - House Aunty  full time
Mwanamisi   - House Aunty  part time
Martin - Social Worker full time
Patrick M - Farm Manager full time
Michael - Farm Hand part time
Night Security Guard with Radar Security
Daytime Security Guard with Radar Security

We also have our existing staff
Patrick K - Project Manager of 5 years
Saide - Farm Hand part time
Mzera - Farm Hand part time
Rama - Farm Hand part time

With the increase in our staff, our wages each month have now increased 3 fold.  By sponsoring wages you are assisting us whilst we increase the size and production of our farm, to enable us to be in the future as sustainable as we can be. Please set up a monthly payment system to assist our worthwhile project.

GREAT SUPPORTERS IN KENYA

The Australian Mining Company Base Titanium have assisted us several times. Base Titanium have a mine about 20km from our project.  Whilst there this time they delivered to our project bunk beds, tables, cots and chairs made in their carpentry section. It was a big day with delivery and setting up, and we were so grateful to add to our existing donated cots and bunk beds for the children.  The company also assisted in training one of our farm hands at their farm training facility for 10 days to take care of our chickens which also arrived whilst I was in Kenya.

ARRIVAL OF OUR CHICKENS

Finally after months of waiting our 400 day old chicks arrived safe and sound from Nairobi.  Our staff member Michael had been trained and everything was ready for them including their heating lights and jiko to keep them warm.  We lost 2 of the chicks in the first week and in a couple of months we will have 398 eggs a day hopefully to sell to hotels and restaurants to assist with our sustainability. Thank you to our wonderful donor.

UNPACKING THE CONTAINER

It took two days and was a huge job in setting up the house.  The wardrobes and shelving were not finished so we had to stack boxes in rooms.  We cannot thank those enough who donated towards our wish list when we were sending our shipping container to Kenya last June. We were also able to purchase our fridge, freezer and stove from donations from very kind people, and have our curtains made by part of the fundraiser from Mitchelton Rotary Club. 

VISITING ROTARY CLUBS IN KENYA

It was a pleasure to be able to visit 2 dynamic Rotary Clubs in Kenya.  Firstly Nairobi East Rotary Club and Ruiru Rotary Club where I was a guest speaker.  It was wonderful to see the work these clubs are undertaking in Kenya as well as share fellowship with them and many laughs.  What an inspiring group of people they are.

BUILDING CONTINUES

When we had our 4 level water tower constructed next to our borehole it was always our intention to have accommodation built on each level of the water tower for our staff who need to be onsite.  Thankfully we have raised the funds to complete the first level for our Manager to stay in. The bedsitter has a small bedroom, toilet and shower combined, kitchenette, and small sitting room/office.  If you wish to contribute to our second level bedsitter please donate at www.umojahome.com/donate

ROTARY FOUNDATION GLOBAL GRANT

We are currently in the process of applying for a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation. We have our Host Rotary Club in place in Kenya. If your Rotary Club is interested in being part of this process to assist us financially please contact us as soon as possible.  Thank you to all the amazing Rotary Clubs who have already contributed to this grant application which is soon to be lodged. Together we achieve the extraordinary!

A SPECIAL TIME FOR VOLUNTEERS

In October we have 11 volunteers coming to Kenya to work at our project. It will be a doubly special time for them as we now have children, but also we will be holding our "Official Opening" whilst they are there.  We are proud to say we have a volunteer coming for her third visit this trip and one for her second visit.  How awesome is that?  There has been much progress since their last visit.

Also in September we have 6 volunteers coming to the project from Gosford Rotary Clubs.  They will also work in community schools educating girls on menstrual hygiene and presenting them with 
"Days for Girls" packs for their menstruation. I spent some time whilst in Kenya visiting schools to coordinate their visit. It has been months in the planning. The schools are looking forward to learning about how "Days for Girls" helps keep girls in school during their menstrual cycles. A huge number of girls in Kenya mostly do not go to school during this time missing vital learning time.  On their final day the volunteers will be holding a session on our land for our community girls.  As we say, we are much more than a children's home as we assist in the community wherever we can.
With these two groups it takes our number of volunteers to the project to 69

UPCOMING FUNDRAISERS

We have two fundraisers.  If you love writing, please get your entry in for the Umoja Orphanage Writing Competition which closes on the 26th August.  Also we have our Celebration Trivia Night on the Saturday 30th August if you live in the Bundaberg area.

DON'T FORGET - OUR WRITING COMPETITION IS CLOSING SOON

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 takes a lot of planning and raising funds to ensure that sustainability is always in the forefront of our minds for our children.  
For as little as $10 a month you can contribute to one of the projects below, or alternately, perhaps you would like to sponsor our monthly staff wages or sponsor a child?  Please contact cathy@umojahome.com for information on child sponsorship.  You will receive a monthly report on your child including photographs of their progress, and hopefully one day you may be able to come to Kenya to meet your sponsored child. 

We need:

USD $1,500  to purchase shade cloth for more crops
USD $1000  to hire tractor, casual staff to clear more of our acreage, 4 ton of manure to prepare soil on this acreage to increase our crop yields for sustainabiltiy
USD $1,200 per year for child sponsorship

USD $2500 per month for wages until we have our farm sustainable to cover wages
USD $6000 to complete our second level staff accommodation within our water tower
USD $4,000 to establish a biogas system for re-useable energy (gas for cooking)
USD $3500 to purchase (only) shipping container for conversion into office/residence (includes permits and transport)
 

 

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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