Life amidst poverty
This is an overview of all the current and completed projects as well as future plans at the Nyahururu Orphanage in Kenya headed up by Heroes of the Nations partnering with Be A Hero.
May 8, 2008: Exciting news from Heroes of the Nation Children’s Home! At 3 am on May 7 our Australian Director, David Crawford, received a text message saying the children and staff are very excited because they now have internet access for the 80 computers we installed in February this year. This project has now been officially completed. We then received the first-ever email from the school with photos of the children learning to use the new computers.
HOTN will now be one of the most advanced schools in Kenya, thanks to the opportunity delivered by YOU, our awesome donors. This will bring an increase in the number of tuition-paying students at our high school, bringing it one step closer to self-sufficiency.
Eighty donated computers, complimentary shipping by DHL and expert direction from Sammy Gitonga, head of I.T. at HOTN made this dream come true. This will lead to transformation of life at HOTN for both the 470 children and the local Nyahururu community through vocational training.
We can’t thank you enough.
COMPLETED PROJECT: Heroes of the Nation Children’s Home, Nyahururu, Kenya, Kitchen, Cottages, Dorms, & Medical Clinic
What has been accomplished to June 2007
It has been continuous building since about December 2005. The Children’s Village is hardly recognizable.
Heroes of the Nation Children’s Village started on 4 acres with a boy’s dorm, a girl’s dorm, a few classrooms, and a small hut which served as the kitchen. With the purchase of a much larger plot of land nearby a goal was set to move all the children to the new site, build the elementary school there, and change the existing site into a high school for both HOTN residents and boarding students from the community.
A dorm built for 80 has been completed and now is overcrowded housing 120 young boys.
As well the girl’s dorm followed, providing a home for about 115 girls (although designed for 80).
The new dorms have sinks and toilets so that will be a real blessing (when the water gets turned on).
Cottages for Younger Children
Although many of the older children are housed in dormitories, it has been found that the younger children are best cared for in smaller homes.
Yet another home was built for the smaller children, providing them with a more home-like atmosphere until they are old enough to go into a dorm
Heroes of the Nation have a few of these cottages, with plans to build more.
A brand new school, with 8 classrooms was next. All of the elementary children attend this school with its much larger and brighter classrooms.
Heroes of the Nation is in the top 10 of the schools in their region, a real testament to the love and skill of the teachers as most of the children are sick, malnourished and traumatized when they arrive at the Home, and many have been out of school for years.
The Nursery school children are still being bused to the old site, until more classrooms are built for them. The old site is now being prepared for another row of classrooms.
Once the new classrooms and dorms were completed, work turned to renovating the (now called) “old site” to use as a boarding high school. Now completing the first school year of operations, 58 students have enjoyed the facility – 35 children from HOTN and 23 paying students. It still needs some work, such as equipment for the science lab, and computers for the computer lab, but the older students are very proud of their new facility.
Over 50 girls live at the high school site (some younger children are bused to the new site for school), and about 40 boys live in a nearby rented house. The new uniforms for the high school students are a happy “violet” colour, chosen in honor of their beloved “Mommy”, Violet Gitonga, Director of Heroes of the Nation (along with her husband Weston).
The Medical Clinic building is now complete, but there is a need to furnish and equip it.
Medical Clinic under construction
The government has committed to pay for one doctor and one nurse to work part-time. This will allow the children to be treated without any extra cost to the orphanage and school. This achievement will save both time and money.
A new sewage treatment plant was installed, with a capacity for 1000 people; to provide for the over 400 people who use the site each day.
HEROES OF THE NATION
Heroes of the Nation provides a home for children at risk. These children may be orphaned or either unable to live at home or be supported by their parents. These Children’s Homes are in the form of orphanages, single-family housing, or hospitality centers. The children are provided with housing, education, and health-care. Education and training is culturally relevant and is centered on developing leaders for their societies.
Our basic children’s objective is to provide them with the fundamental necessities for a fulfilling life. We provide them with a family structure that includes parental care and education. We train them up to become both productive members of society, and leaders in society as well. To accomplish this, we first get children off the streets and into homes where they feel they belong. The love, education and community we provide is more readily accepted and integrated into their world-view.
Our basic community objective is to provide neighborhood development that benefits all members of the community. We do this through the integration of our children’s homes within the larger community through our “Village Concept”. An ancient African proverb states that: “It takes a village to raise a child”. HOTN has made this proverb a centerpiece in our strategy for assisting children-at-risk. The “Village Concept” expands our programs to include community development at a larger level. This includes a number of “cottage style” children’s homes on the same property as well as a school or educational facility, agricultural projects to contribute to feeding the families in the village, and health-care – in the form of a clinic or community health education program. A village brings a blend of housing, health-care, education, agriculture, and micro-enterprise all under one roof. Within this village gathers the young and the elder, the healthy and the sick, the single, widowed, and families; and, the weak & strong. Our villages extend an invitation for all to help and to assist one another. Those within the community are encouraged and welcomed to participate and be a part of our village.
Heroes of the Nation’s desire are for the orphanage programs and, in future, business projects to become “owned” by the community members. Financially viable small business is a major contributing component of this sense of ownership, and will provide some measure of sustainability to the orphanages.
FOUNDERS, HEROES OF THE NATION: Africa
Dr. Weston Gitonga and his wife, Violet, are the African Directors of Heroes of the Nation.
They reside in Nyahururu, Kenya, with their three children. It is full-time work overseeing HOTN’s orphanages and schools, which are located at six separate campuses in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar.
The Nyahururu Orphanage History
HOTN’s children’s home is located in the outskirts of Nyahururu in the Losogwa area of the Laikipia District, Kenya. This area is approximately 120 km from Nairobi in the southwest region of Kenya. The project is situated on 7 acres.
The Nyahururu Orphanage struggled until 2002 when, at the behest of Harold Eberle, Andrew Sievright of Heroes of the Nation went to Africa to meet Weston and Violet. Andrew had been a director of a 110-staffed YWAM base in Texas, and had traveled to Africa at the invitation of Harold Eberle to consider working with Weston and Violet. So began a heartfelt partnership to develop and operate orphanages and schools throughout Africa. In one year, with the combination of Andrew’s vision and the Gitonga’s ministry administration skills, the Nyahururu orphanage grew from 22 children to a home for 200 children. They now care for 370 children.
From the start of Heroes of the Nation’s participation in the Nyahururu Orphanage program in 2002 thru the end of 2003, HOTN has invested over $190,000 USD towards the purchase of land(s) and facilities, repairs & maintenance, and the operations of the orphanage. In 2004 and 2005, Be A HERO invested an additional $150,000.00 in new capital projects and over $100,000.00 for operating expenses through our child sponsorship program.
More orphanages are being planned as the vision expands to meet the urgent need to care for children who have been abandoned by the loss of their parents to AIDS. Heroes of the Nation owns properties for future growth in Nyahururu, Kenya – Mombassa, Kenya – Kigali, Rwanda. Government officials in Zanzibar and Rwanda have promised to help Heroes of the Nation with land grants for future orphanages in those countries.
HIV/Aids Situation in Africa
Statistics from UNAIDS shows that Kenya has a prevalence rate of 13.95%. Kenya has 2.1 million people affected with HIV/AIDS and is ranked 4th largest in Africa. There are over 730,000 AIDS orphans in Kenya resulting from the HIV/AIDS crisis. According to the U.S. Census Bureau/UNAIDS.
UNICEF estimates, the number of Kenyan orphans due to AIDS will increase to 1.5 million by 2010. Kenya has an infection rate of 700 a day, mostly in the 18-45-age range. Also, approximately half the Kenyan population carries the latent tuberculosis infection. In the past decade the HIV/AIDS epidemic has helped to triple the number of new adult tuberculosis cases in Kenya. Because of this, the life expectancy has dropped from 63 to 45. The chance that a 15-year old boy will reach his 50th birthday is slim.
Heroes of the Nation’s Nyahururu Orphanage are located in Kenya’s southwestern region about 120 kilometers from Nairobi. This region has a HIV/AIDS population of over 210,000 with an infection rate of over 12%. Nairobi has a HIV/AIDS population of over 175,000 with an infection rate of over 16%.
The large number of orphans and dying parents has caused a collapse of the family system. Kenya’s culture revolves around a system of extended family, but families are reluctant to take AIDS orphaned children in because of the stigmatization within their community. Heroes of the Nation, through its “Village Concept” is developing its orphanages with “home-based” care programs that helps prevent the disruption of the family unit that is essential to Kenyan life. The “Village Concept”, as part of the health-care program, includes the development of resource centers in rural areas that contain videos and information about the AIDS virus and its prevention. HOTN believes that education leads to hope, and hope leads to action.
Overview of Orphanage
- 370 children.
- On-site facilities are dormitories, kitchen, dining, and classrooms.
- The orphanage is part of the primary and secondary school system where the children attend classes, but the matron, supported by foster mother(s), and support staff, handles the day-to-day management of the orphanage.
The total 2006 operating budget for the Nyahururu Orphanage is $102,060.00 ($8,505.00 per month), of which the majority expenses are:
- $40,000 food to feed the children
- $33,000 staff wages
- $1,200 staff training
- $4,200 program supplies
- $3,300 hygiene & medical supplies
- $8,150 administration supplies
- $2,400 firewood & fuel
- $2,400 travel expenses
- $3,000 electric & phone expenses
- $1,200 vehicle expenses
- $700 clothing expenses
- $3520 school uniforms
- $500 farming expenses
- $1335 lights and heat
- Approximately $5,000 more goes to misc. expenses
Also, there is an estimated budget of expenses for the year in other vital areas:
Office furniture & equipment$3277
Sports goods & equipment$6700
The majority of the operating expenses are covered through Be A HERO’s Child Sponsorship Program.
This has been accomplished to June 2007