Tuesday 28 August 2012

Msingi wa Tumaini

Msingi wa Tumaini

My wife and I have recently established a charity called Msingi wa Tumaini, which means "Foundation of Hope" in Swahili. It is a UK-based charity (currently a limited company but not yet registered with the Charities Commission). We were inspired to create the charity during our recent visit to Kenya, when we witnessed the deprivation and suffering of the hundreds of orphans who live in the village of Uyoma in Western Kenya, a village near Lake Victoria and the city of Kisumu. Many orphans and vulnerable children at the local Gagra Primary School suffer from hunger, HIV and a lack of proper clothes (including shoes) and educational materials (personal copies of school books, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.). The local school lacks many basic facilities, including a library or computers. As many as three or four children share one old copy of a school book and have to memorise what they learn without reference to any notes as they cannot afford to buy paper or pencils. Many of the children also suffer from visible illnesses such as ringworm and jiggers in their feet which come from walking without shoes and sleeping on mud floors in the huts in which they live. The sheer number of orphans, many of whom are children of people who died from HIV, is overwhelming for any visitor. Many of them live with relatives, aunts, uncles or grandparents, many of whom have to support three or more orphans.

Children from Gagra Primary School wearing donated clothing
which was kindly given to us by Dragon School (Oxford)

With these thoughts stirring in our heads, we resolved upon the solution of creating a charity that focuses on the local school and the orphans and vulnerable children of the area. Msingi wa Tumaini aims to provide for the physical and educational needs of orphans, vulnerable children as well as young women and mothers, including child protection, basic literacy and numeracy, nutrition, hygiene, arts and crafts, agricultural skills, animal husbandry and other essential skills. We currently focus on Gagra Primary School in Uyoma, where there are a high number of orphans and vulnerable children. We also plan to establish a children’s and junior youth empowerment programme for children aged 7 to 14, which teaches moral values as well as literacy and numeracy skills.

Map of Kenya - Uyoma is located near Kisumu on Lake Victoria

Many women in Uyoma are also the sole providers for orphans who are usually nephews and nieces, grandsons and granddaughters or other relatives. We believe in the importance of women as agents of change in rural communities, so we aim to provide agricultural, literacy, numeracy, hygiene and child protection training that will empower them to become independent and assist them in passing on values and education to the next generation.

Feeding Programme

We aim to support the feeding programme, providing all the children at Gagra Primary School in Uyoma with a balanced school lunch, five days a week. The estimated cost for fully supporting the feeding programme is £4000 per term or £12000 per annum.

Children’s Centre

We aim to establish a children’s centre, which can serve as a place for the children’s and junior youth empowerment programme and will also include a play area, children’s library and venue for classes in arts and crafts and other vocational classes. The estimated cost for building the centre is £20,000.

Chicken Project

We aim to establish a chicken project to provide eggs for children’s lunches and eggs for sale to support the feeding programme. The initial cost for establishing the project will be £4000, but it is hoped that the project will become financially self-sustaining.

Dairy Project

We aim to establish a dairy project which will support the feeding programme, both by providing children with fresh milk as well as  financially through the sale of milk in the village. We will purchase ten dairy cows to start with. The estimated cost of establishing the project is £8000.

Water Project

Access to water is a basic human necessity. The village has no sources of clean, fresh water other than rain water, which most people are unable to collect and is unavailable in times of drought. The nearest source of open fresh water is Lake Victoria, which is several kilometres distant from the school. As such, we plan to sink a well to provide constant access to water for all the children at Gagra Primary School, as well as water for the dairy and chicken projects. This will cost roughly £15000.

Child Protection Training

Child abuse, in particular sexual abuse, is widely practised in Kenya. We plan to provide child protection training, providing a venue for professional volunteers from the United Kingdom to come to Kenya and educate teachers, parents and other stakeholders in the community.

Clothing and Toys

We collect used school uniforms in good condition as well as other children’s clothing, books and toys for orphans and vulnerable children at Gagra Primary School. When the Children’s Centre is constructed, we will also collect books and toys for the Children’s Centre. 

The following is a video of me teaching at the local primary school. You can see the size of the English class and the way the children share books. 

Please 'like' our Facebook page here and subscribe to our Twitter feed @mwtumaini. Our website is currently under construction but will be located at mwtumaini.org.

Please get in touch and I will give you the charity's bank details so you can set up a standing order. Even if you can only commit to £5 or £10 month, you will be helping to support orphans who desperately need help and will contribute to the development of hope, education and a brighter future for children and women in the village of Uyoma. For more details on how to pay, please contact me at nicholas.bridgewater AT mwtumaini.org

Nicholas J. Bridgewater
Director of Operations, 
Msingi wa Tumaini