Gideon’s Orphans and Widows Integrated Development Organization
GOWIDO – Gideon’s Children Home, Ramba, Kenya
BE A HERO partners with GOWIDO to provide operating expenses and child sponsorship through our Home and Child Sponsorship Program.
GOWIDO is the acronym for Gideon’s Orphans and Widows Integrated Development Organization, which is the mercy ministry arm of Gideon’s International Ministries (not affiliated with the Gideon’s famous for giving out Bibles). GOWIDO, located in Ramba, Nyanza province, Kenya, was established by Newton Atela and his wife Caroline Weda in 2006 with the aim of saving orphaned and at-risk children from a life of abject poverty. They later founded Gideon’s International Ministries, the umbrella organization for GOWIDO and Gideon’s Opanga Church, which currently has over 700 members.
The following excerpt from UN News tells the story of Nyanza province – “In Kenya, Nyanza province has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS with one in six people living with the fatal disease, leaving a legacy of thousands of orphans struggling for food and to stay in school. In Kenya alone, over two hundred adults die daily from HIV /AIDS leaving behind children to fend for themselves or to be displaced among already overburdened neighbors or relatives. Rural women are particularly vulnerable to poverty as they do not have equal access to economic assets as those in cities. Subsistence farming is the primary – and often the only – source of livelihood for about 70 per cent of these women. In general, the burden of waterborne diseases, malaria and HIV/AIDS has affected income, food security and development potential.”
Following God’s leading, Newton and Caroline stepped out in faith and within one day, took 32 children to live with them and their own two children in their simple mud-based two room house, with no running water, no electricity and no way of providing food, education and other necessities for all these children; just faith that God would meet all their needs. This was a bold and difficult decision, but with moral support from friends and family they started this work, alongside of preaching and planting a church. Daily this tiny group prayed for provision and it came in many different and sometimes amazing ways, reminiscent of George Mueller’s story in the 19th century. The children of GOWIDO learned to pray, trusting God for their needs.
In 2009, Newton and Caroline met Canadians on a short term mission trip and through relationships formed during that time, development began at GOWIDO. Today GOWIDO operates Gideon’s Children’s Home which houses over 185 orphaned and at-risk children and Gideon’s Primary and Secondary Schools which provides education for 400 children. GOWIDO also supports a large number of home – based children; home based children are those who live with a widowed mother or grandmother, who are either too poor or too sick to fully provide for the children. The children’s circumstances are worse than those who live at Gideon’s Children’s Home. The vision of GOWIDO is to expand across Kenya to house and educate thousands of children, to build a hospital/hospice for children with HIV/Aids and to build a community college to provide vocational training for those living in underdeveloped rural Kenya.
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