Water Project to Help Vulnerable Children
Jessica Sanders, Extreme Response’s new Orphans & Vulnerable Children Initiative Coordinator, has traveled to our three regions to meet ER staff and partners. One of those trips included a visit to Nyeri, Kenya and BELWOP, an ER partner that is home to 28 beautiful children spanning all ages.
Jessica spent two days at BELWOP, where children such as Joseph melted her heart. She writes, “I can still see his face and how he beamed every time he looked at me. The way he said ‘yes’ so excitedly when I asked him a question, even now brings a smile to my face.”
Like so many of BELWOP’s residents, Joseph has lived life on the streets and endured extreme circumstances that no child his age should even dream of. But under the care of BELWOP director Veronica Mumbi, “He is now thriving here and is often seen running around with the other boys, with a smile glued to his face.”
Jessica’s visit to BELWOP also revealed a significant need for water. Jessica and Veronica discussed this need, and Jessica came home with a plan, which she details here:
“Currently, water is hauled in weekly, but does not always arrive as scheduled. When it does come, it is rationed because they never know when the next delivery will arrive. Imagine not knowing the next time you will have water or how much you will have to clean, wash, bathe and cook for your children.
“The good news is Veronica and her staff presented ER with a simple solution: harvesting rainwater. Rain will collect in gutters, channel into downspouts and then into an underground water tank. The water would be pumped to various locations on the property – the kitchen for cooking, the dormitories for washing and bathing and to a vegetable garden. One rainfall could collect up to three-months worth of water.
“I am so excited about this project because it is truly life-sustaining! It will cost just $14,000 (U.S) to purchase and install the system, providing a consistent supply of water, while saving BELWOP thousands of dollars. Our goal is to raise these funds by August 1.
Will you join me in this endeavor to impact the lives of these children? My desire is to complete this project by January 2019 (with ground support from volunteers). Click here to donate in the U.S. and here to donate in Canada. Designate your gift “BELWOP WATER”. Or mail your gift to P.O. Box 345, Snellville, GA 30078.
For further questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Thank you!
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OVC Gives Kids Hope under Leadership of New Coordinator Sanders
(January 1, 2018 update)
Jessica Sanders recently joined ER as Orphans & Vulnerable Children (OVC) Initiative Coordinator. She has spent much of her first months traveling and getting to know our programs and partners. Below she shares some observations from a trip to Quito, Ecuador. Watch for regular updates from Jessica in 2018.
ER’s Quito Dump Community
Upon my arrival at our Quito After-School program, he ran up to me—without knowing who I was—and greeted me with the biggest bear hug. I recognized him from a photo. He was so joyous, running around and gladly participating in activities.
His back-story tells a different story. From the outside, he seems like a young boy who is “put together,” but lives in extreme poverty. It’s more than that. His parents did not want him. He lost his father at a young age. He was seen as an extra mouth to feed, which can be common in poverty stricken countries.
He was sent away to live with a family member, who wanted him even less. His time there was brief and he now lives with another family member. His situation is a little better, but not by much. He is behind in his studies and struggles in many areas, but his heart captured mine.
As I was getting ready to leave, he ran up to me again and gave me another long hug. He looked up and asked if I would return tomorrow. My heart dropped as I explained I was only there for the day, but hoped to return soon. Like many of the Quito kids in our programs, this boy has potential and I truly believe he can rise from the ashes.
Pan de Vida Feeds Street Kids
They formed a line outside for Pan de Vida’s mid-week outreach. The families in line knew the routine; hand washing first and then inside for a time of study and a hot meal. I was visiting Pan de Vida to experience how this ER partner helps people who work on the streets.
The Pan de Vida staff works with 40 families enrolled in its beneficiary program, plus 280 individuals on Wednesdays and Sundays. They focus on hunger relief, education and healthcare. They are mostly women and children. A few were elderly. The kids’ hands were dirt-stained. The women’s hair was either braided or “kept nice” as it is custom to have long hair here. I loved seeing the women in the traditional dress and men in their hats. Many collect and sell recyclables for a living. They are very protective over their “collection” and sometimes hide their day’s work in the bushes when they arrive at Pan de Vida.
Some sell candies and other items on the streets; others are now part of a new micro-business. In my book they are all survivors. I could not help but smile as a few women, upon seeing me, became excited over my blonde hair and greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and commented on how “precious” I was. How could I not smile as they came in grinning from ear to ear, chatting and laughing? Seeing people with so little who exude such joy puts things into perspective for me.
Casa Elizabeth Supports Girls in Crisis
She is about 12 years old and became pregnant by a family member. She lost the baby because her own body was still developing. Today, she is in a safe place and is slowly finding her ground. This girl is receiving support from Casa Elizabeth, a local crisis pregnancy center (part of Inca Link).
As I sat on a couch, the girl shyly presented me with oranges. My heart went out to her and the other girls in their care who are trying to heal from severe trauma. Seeing this program brought tears to my eyes as I thought about the journey to recovery they face.
Even though this was a short trip, I was grateful for the opportunity to better understand how ER’s programs and partners are helping give vulnerable children hope for the future.