Updating you on what's been happening at the project.
 
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Please sit down, grab a beverage, as we've had an incredible couple of months that you'll want to read about!

MR. MATCH - WHAT A SUPPORTER!

 
As per previous newsletter in late August, 'Mr. Match' had offered to match all donations up to $1000 made during the month of September to assist with our self-sustainability farming project.
We were most thankful to our sponsors with $5500 being donated towards our 'Mr. Match' campaign during that month. 

THEN Mr. Match contacts us and offers to match the $5500 donated by our sponsors!!  What a supporter!!  Mr. Match is donating the matched funds to begin our second level of our accommodation bedsitter in our water tower complex. Mr. Match insists he remains anonymous and is even hinting he may do a match again next year.  What a man! Mr. Match campaign has not only given our sustainability program a boost for our farm, but is also allowing us to continue the construction of our bedsitters.  We are always so amazed at how generous people are for our children's home, and we thank all sponsors who contributed to this campaign, especially Mr. Match who has matched the donations made. We also thank all of our sponsors who continue to make donations to our project, allowing us to grow to help more orphaned children.
MR. MATCH YOU ARE AMAZING AND WE CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH!

Another successful volunteer tour!

Our 6th team of working volunteers to the project and what a team!

In October we had 11 volunteers including myself arrive in Kenya to assist at the project.  Volunteers worked for 9 days, then did a 6 day safari to some of Kenya's best safari parks.  To say they worked tirelessly is an understatement. With so much to do before our official opening on the 7th October, it seemed we would never get the work done, but we did!  It was a special time for them to interact with our workers and get to know our children.
Volunteers worked  and played with our children, learning daily routines for the home, cleaning, washing, assisting with Kenyan cooking and caring for the children. They also repainted our cowshed, caretaker's cottage & gates, repaired some fencing, erected permanent mosquito nets in the home, smoke alarms, many maintenance tasks around the project, planted seedlings, helped with machinery to clear a lot more of our land for further development, built a water feature and pond in front of the children's home, landscaped the area, made a clothesline and erected it, cleaned out and sorted our 40 foot container, mowed , removed shrubs, weeds, and prepared the area for our 'Official Opening Day,' sorted through boxes and boxes of donated goods putting into age groups in boxes, assisted with taking children to the health clinic, taking the children on their first ever excursion and first ever time to the beach, painting our name on our 40 foot container so the project is easily recognised from the road, and leaving their handprints on it for prosperity, assisting with constructing a culvert and road into our main gate opening to allow access into the project from this gate, made dozens of cloth nappees from towels for our babies, and spent much time playing and getting to know and love our children and staff.
 The volunteers also were taken for a visit to another children's home, volunteered at a children's feeding station where they helped feed over 1400 hungry children, and visited Base Titanium Mine on a tour. The mine is about 30km from Umoja Project and has been an assistance to the Umoja Project in many ways.  Let me introduce -
 
The 'F Team' : Amazing Rotarians & friends:
  • Nola Brimley, Victoria (3rd volunteering visit to project)
  • Stephanie Templeton, Tasmania (2nd volunteering visit to project)
  • Molly Wotherspoon, South Australia
  • Bronwynne Bates - Queensland
  • Noel Bates -  Queensland
  • Heather Barnes - Queensland
  • Graham Barnes - Queensland
  • Murray Davis - Queensland
  • Rick Bolsterli - Queensland
  • Tyler Booth - Queensland
Thank you for being part of 'Team F;' the laughter, the sweat and the tears. Our staff, children, and myself will never forget what you have done for us.  I know this experience has changed your lives forever and you are now even more patient than before, and you don't get frustrated easily anymore I'm sure!

Our children's first trip to the beach.  What an afternoon of such beautiful emotions.

The children had never seen the beach before or been on an outing other than being brought to their new home and to the health clinic. It was so special the volunteers were here to share this special time with them and to see the happiness it brought each one of them, and that was just the volunteers!

OFFICIAL OPENING DAY - 7TH OCTOBER 2016

With only a few days remaining from when the volunteers arrived until the official opening day it was all systems go.  Organising had been going on since July to organise caterer, entertainment, marquees, guest list, who would sit at the high table, chairs, food and where it would be cooked etc.  Having never organised a function in Kenya before it was rather daunting to begin with, however our Project Manager told me he had it all under control, and knowing what could go wrong, put in place procedures so the program would not be too altered.  The traditional dancers got lost, the Project Manager was late for his speech, as he had to go find them, the MC changed the program around and the food was late, but no one cared. (Hakuna Matata). There is no hurry or worries in Kenya. It was a very hot day!  We slaughtered our goats in the traditional way respecting the cultures of our community for the feast which is the cultural practice for such an event. 
We were very privileged to have the representative of the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, Christian Josiah, attend to open the project in lieu of Australian High Commissioner for Kenya, John Feakes who could not attend due to a prior invitation. Christian was very, very impressed with the project and how we had planned and implemented the project from the beginning.  Food was traditional, entertainment was traditional and the program was traditional so our volunteers experienced a real Kenyan cultural day which I am sure they will not forget.  The highlight of the day was a couple of our volunteers Noel and Stephanie dancing with the Giriama tribal dancers. We were in fits of laughter. They tried the best they could, but just didn't quite cut the moves like the Kenyans. 
It was wonderful to have all the Kenyans who worked on the project present, and also the owners of the Goodlife Orphanage Kenya, Mary and Kevin Maguire attending as they have been such a huge support on this journey.
It was a very proud day for me to have the official naming of our first children's home in honour of the Fleming and McLean Families of Bundaberg, who have been tremendous supporters of the project since the early days. The respect I have for Cliff and Lee Fleming and family, as they took me in as an employee when I was only 17 when their business was small, allowed me to honour them for their belief in me all those years ago, and the belief that I could achieve the extraordinary in Kenya by creating a children's home. Thank you for believing in me then and now and your continued support.

"DAYS FOR GIRLS" VOLUNTEERING TEAM TO OUR PROJECT AND COMMUNITY - SEPTEMBER

We were very busy in the months prior to September and October organising both volunteer groups to the project and surrounding schools, not to mention the organisation to assess, intake children, complete and set up the children's home, and hiring of another 8 staff.  Organisation was done for a "Days for Girls" group tour from 2 Rotary Clubs in New South Wales to visit 3 schools in our Kwale community to do "Days for Girls" workshops, and also hold one at our project for our surrounding community. I had organised the schools when I was in Kenya in July, and the group of 6 also consisted of a Kenyan Day's for Girls Representative from Nairobi.  The schools and the girls were very grateful for the workshops and also the handing out of the reusable sanitary kits for the girls to keep them in school.   The Mombasa "Days for Girls" also revisited one of the schools who requested another  follow up visit. Thank you Debbie for doing this.
We have since been donated from one of the wonderful volunteers another 75 kits made from the Mombasa "Days for Girls" group. These will be handed out to our surrounding village girls shortly.  The kits were made in Kenya by disabled women giving them the opportunity to earn a small income.  They were so excited to hand them over to me when I went to collect in Mombasa.
Huge thanks to Debbie for organising the making of the extra kits in Mombasa for us, Tina Latham, David Rivett, Warren & Sandra Mills & Peter Hamilton our volunteers, and also Christina Khamasi from Nairobi for assisting with the workshops.

 STAFF SPONSORS NEEDED URGENTLY

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.  Please consider a monthly contribution of $50 per month to assist with our wages.  We have 12 staff who otherwise would not be employed.

EXPANDING OUR FARM PROJECT FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Our 400 chickens should begin laying next month. We also were donated by a local Kenyan 2 sheep to increase our livestock. Our 2 female cows are due to give birth in December and January, and 2 more of our goats are pregnant. Our Sustainability Farm Manager Patrick Musyoka has been with us since the 1st August and has implemented many changes to increase our food production in this time such as:
  • Restructuring of staking props and wires in greenhouse
  • Increasing the number of beds in the greenhouse to accommodate full utilization of space (space economy)
  • Digging of the seed beds (double dug technology) on another 2 acres of land
  • Making of water catchment pads around the growing fruit trees and around the live fence around our boundary fence.
  • Further mulching of all planted fruit trees
  • Managing of our fodder grass for our livestock
  • Propagation of various needs in our nursery for the existing farm as well as for the greenhouse
  • Pest & disease control
  • Harvesting of fruit and greens for the children's home
  • Adding 8 - 9 ton of manure to our soil on farm expansion area
  • Expansion of outdoor farm, terracing of same, seed bed making &  manuring of seedbeds
  • Planting of kales, spinach, eggplants, sweet pepper, sweet potato, hot pepper, watermelons, pumpkin, zucchini and onions.
  • Creating extended compost piles
  • Planting more banana and paw paw trees
  • Sale of crops to market towards sustainability
  • Installation of some irrigation in the extended farming area.

VISITING NAIROBI EAST ROTARY CLUB AGAIN

Once again I had the privilege to attend a meeting of Nairobi East Rotary Club just before returning to Australia again in October.  This is my second visit to the club and what a warm welcome once again.  I was astounded at the huge attendance and very happy I attended on that day to hear the guest speaking by a member of such a successful company in Kenya started by young Kenyans.

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. The bedsitter has a bedroom, toilet and shower combined, kitchenette, and small sitting room/office. It is now nearing completion. If you wish to contribute to our second level bedsitter to allow finishing, please donate at www.umojahome.com/donate  to assist us in completing this level which the wonderful Mr. Match has partially financed.

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!

WINNER OF OUR WRITING COMPETITION

Congratulations to Disha Raval who is the winner of our writing competition for 2016 for her entry Peace."                                                                                          
Here’s what a couple of the judges said:

 "I think the author really captured the elements of 'peace' and what it means to humanity. Some well supported ideas that kept me engaged when reading."
"The author has contemplated what peace means. The writer obviously has researched our theme and produced a well-structured piece of writing.  I believe this writer feels passionaltely about peace."  Please
read the winning entry. Also read the Warm Witty Words blog to read 2nd and 3rd place entries.  Thank you to all who entered the competition and also to Donna Munro from Warm Witty Words who organises the competition each year. Thank you also to Deb Lawrence and Shanyn Limpus our judges.

What we need for the remainder of 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.  We are in need of more child sponsors. 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:

URGENT !!!!  USD $2500 per month for wages until we have our farm sustainable to cover wages
USD $1200 per year for child sponsorship

USD $3000 to complete our second level staff accommodation within our water tower
USD $15,000 towards purchase of another vehicle
USD $1500 towards further fencing off our fruit forest

 

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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