My wife, Janet and I, have been supporting communities in Africa since we married in 2001, and specifically in Kenya since 2003. We commit ourselves to visit annually, loading ourselves up with donated children's clothes, toys, books, games, sheets, curtains, soap, adult clothes and anything else that can fit in our suitcases. Our aim is, and always will be, to bless the community we support, the children, youth, adults, orphans and widows, and to see them grow more and more in all aspects of prosperous living.
We have worked in partnership with one main family, the Kironjis', a family of husband & wife, six sons and one daughter who we support. Their father unfortunately and prematurely passed away, we supported his son, Samwel Kariuki to become trained to lead and to carry forward the vision in his father's footsteps. This he continues to do admirably, with deference to what his father began but also with a new and dynamic outlook.
Over the years our friendship and partnership has been rewarded with great successes sometimes and at other times with sad disappointment. It hasn't always been easy. We haven't always accomplished our goals. This work can be very frustrating and the main reason why? Finances. Lack of it. Friends and family have supported our work financially from time to time, but our vision has rapidly grown beyond the depth of their pockets and our own. Our vision is expansive. Our hopes are limitless.
We want to build a thriving community with an academy school, a church, a business and arts centre at its hub. Imagine a piece of land with a beautiful, bricks and mortar two-storey building, painted white and yellow with bright-lit large window panes and wooden beams at the ceiling. Inside are purpose-built rooms including a classroom for young children to develop language, numeracy, science and creative arts skills. Another room is equipped with sewing machines for tailoring, another is kitted out with carpentry tools, plumbing, electrical equipment and other technical items awaiting the teachers and trainers who will instruct those who wish to learn such trades and put them to productive use. Then there is the dance and music studio, the art room, the library, the computer room, the mini theatre, for the budding dancer, poet, singer and artist.
Can you picture this? We certainly can. And outside? A sports ground for playing and mastering physical skills like football, netball, athletics and even tennis. The grounds also hold a co-operative shop & mini-market stocked with local produce and sold at reasonable prices. And there is, of course, a spiritual centre for prayer, worship and quiet meditation. Attached to this is rental accommodation that can house some of the workers and help to support the running costs of the centre.
And so we need money to achieve this. We are seeking to raise funds of £35,000 initially. Below is a breakdown of the expenditures needed for Phase 1 - the project setup.
1. £4,800 for training (£2,400 each for myself and my wife to complete a 12 month part-time project management course).
2. £1,200 to complete the land purchase (£8,000 has already been raised).
3. £7,000 for planning, building materials & construction.
4. 3,500 for plumbing and sanitation
5. £3,500 for furnishings (desks, chairs, office equipment)
6. £10,000 for 4 x site visits in the year (approx. £750 for each flight and £500 for accommodation, food & transportation each).
7. £5,000 for workshop & computer equipment
Total funds required for Phase 1 - £35,000
Once set up our goal is to live in Kenya for one year to run the project and to train support staff and volunteers to man the ongoing project. This will be Phase 2 of the project. Costs to support us to live for one year in Kenya is approximately £15,000 between us. We would have to give up our current employment and rent out our home. We have other business ideas to create wealth and to train creative youth and tradespeople in social media marketing so that they can become self-sufficient themselves and we will ask them as part of the training to make a commitment to volunteer their services to the community project for a period of time.
This is our vision. This is our dream. And so how do we make this a reality? With your help. We are fundraising now to push beyond the financial limitations of our past and if you will partner with us, if you can see what we see and want to experience the fulfillment of being a part of making this happen, I know we will all be uplifted and empowered. I invite you to contribute generously to this life-changing, impactful project.