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FROM THE FIELD, Orphan Care

Zimbabwe Orphans – what the boys have to say…

One of our African Leadership staff members, Michele Maynard, recently spent time with some of the Zimbabwe orphans Mocha Club serves in the Bulawayo area. The Zimbabwe Orphan Project is actually the longest-running Mocha Club project that members have been supporting since we began in 2005!

a little background…

African Leadership [Mocha Club’s parent organization] has been working in Zimbabwe in the area of pastor training since 1997. The orphan project was an extension of our organization’s work and grew out of the feeding program of 2004 where the plight of orphans was first identified. Since 2005, we have been able to support orphaned children who live in the districts of Bubi, Bembesi, Bulawayo, Matopo and Kwesi districts, where diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB claim too many lives each year.

In Zimbabwe, there are fees for education all the way from primary school to college, and it is virtually impossible to get a job without at least a high school education. So, Mocha Club is helping care for over 300 orphans between the ages of 6-21 by paying their school fees and meeting their basic physical needs. While we receive new children into the program, others have now completed their education and gone on to become teachers, auto mechanics, artists – breadwinners within their families and for other children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

The orphan project is currently only increasing in cost due to the fact that since 2000, the education system in Zimbabwe has all but collapsed, and households find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. The government education support program has also ceased which has also exacerbated the problem for households to meet school fees and other related school expenditures.

Your support makes a huge difference!

focus group: what the boys had to say…

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Michele’s focus group discussion with the boy orphans

Here is what Michele learned after spending some time with the orphan boys…

  • The boys were less shy than the girls.
  • The boys also said that they were treated well and that there was no discrimination of household chores. Most of them tended cattle as part of their household duties in the afternoons.
  • The boys also said that they needed textbooks and exercise books. Form 4 & 6 are very important because of the exams, and it is important to do well in these years.
  • One boy mentioned that he was not academically strong but that he was good at technical things and wanted to know if he would be funded to pursue a vocational school instead of an academic path.
  • The boys wanted to be teachers, a soldier, a doctor, a mechanical engineer, business studies, etc.

Thank you for your contributions that help provide for these children in Zimbabwe.

FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

What do you eat when you have HIV/AIDS?

Maize…millet…legumes…fermented milk? Just a few of the foods that are part of the HEKO nutrition program Mocha Club is helping fund for our friends living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya.

Here in the U.S., the current trend seems to be turning towards organic, all-natural foods rather than processed food filled with chemicals. But for our friends in Africa with HIV/AIDS, it’s more than a trend – it’s a means to help them live a longer life.

Good nutrition helps…

  • Reduce the risk of opportunistic diseases and the frequency of infections
  • Delay the progression of HIV to full-blown AIDS
  • Helps those infected maintain a healthy weight
  • Gives strength to the body and helps those infected stay active

Your $7 a month helps provide life-prolonging education to those living with AIDS.  Thank you!

Education, FROM THE FIELD

Meet Lucy.

Lucy

Lucy Kamwende Kamau, grade 10 student at New Dawn

We love to share stories from our projects and connect you with the actual people you’re serving with your $7 a month sacrifice.  Here’s a story from New Dawn, the high school that Mocha Club supports in the Huruma slum of Nairobi, Kenya.  By the way, the New Dawn’s graduating class of 2010 was named “best in the whole district” on their exams!  Way to go!

Lucy’s story…

Lucy Kamwende Kamau was born in 1990 and is currently in Form II (Grade 10).  She’s the oldest in a family of 6 children and lived in the village with her parents who worked garden plots for a living.  Lucy’s parents valued education and started her in kindergarten at age 6.  By the time Lucy finished primary school in 2005, she was 15-years-old and hoped for a chance to go to high school.  However like most Kenyan youth, that was not in Lucy’s immediate future.

Primary education in Kenya is free, but high school is only for those who can afford the fees.  Unfortunately, Lucy’s parents were unable to earn enough to send her to high school. She stayed at home and worked in the garden but became restless and decided to find work on her own to try and save enough money to go to school.  Over the next few years, she took a job as a house worker for two different families, but both ended with Lucy being mistreated and abused, like many house workers.  She returned home, defeated, with very little money in her pocket.

Lucy called her aunt and asked if she could live with her and work for her as a domestic laborer.  Her aunt was a working woman so she expected Lucy to take care of the kids, cook and clean.  Unfortunately, she found that she was mistreated in her aunt’s home as well.

Says Lucy, “I did this for about 6 months and then the pastor at my church told me about New Dawn School.  I decided to see if they would take me even though I didn’t have much money.  To my surprise they took me.  When I went I had lost all hope and my confidence was very low.  But the teachers challenged me to become the person that God wanted me to be.  Now I have focus and purpose.  I have worked hard and I am in the top 10 in my class.”

Now, Lucy is the Deputy Head Girl for New Dawn School.  Lucy carries a lot of responsibility in her leadership role.  She is well respected and part of the journalism club.

We would like to thank you for all you’ve done to help students like Lucy make a better path for themselves, but we think it’s best coming from her…

“New Dawn has helped a lot of young men and women who had no hope in life, like me. They are giving me a good education. Without it my life has no focus or purpose and I would be lost. I am so grateful to all the donors who have made this school possible and for all the overseas visitors who come to encourage us. The school has changed my life.”

~ Lucy Kamwende Kamau

* * *

Your $7 goes a long way for young women like Lucy.  Thank you!

FROM THE FIELD

What the Zimbabwe orphan girls have to say…

The Zimbabwe Orphan Project is the longest-running Mocha Club project!  Mocha Club members have been supporting these orphaned boys and girls in the Bulawayo area since we first began in 2005.

These children have no way to go to school outside of the $7 you provide.

what do the girls have to say?

girl orphans

Michele’s focus group discussion with the girl orphans

Recently, one of our staff members, Michele, got to visit the children and listen to them share about their lives.  Several girls were unable to go to school for lack of uniforms and school fees.  When Michele sat down with the girls, she asked them exactly what has kept them from going to school.

Here is what Michele learned after spending some time with these lovely girls.  They were all very shy, yet willing to share…

  • The main reason for missing school was not having shoes, uniforms, exercise books, or text books.
  • Late payments meant that they were also chased away from school.
  • Some were unable to take their exams because they were unable to pay the exam fees.
  • All the girls said that they were treated equally with their siblings in the households, even where some were orphans mixed with biological children.
  • They all said that if they had problems at home, they went to their grandparents or aunties (caregivers).
  • The girls shared what careers they wanted to pursue, including teaching, nursing, commercial science, and law.

Thanks to YOU, we’re able to provide uniforms, school fees, and other essentials so these girls don’t continue to miss out on an education.

in case you want a little background…

African Leadership [Mocha Club’s parent organization] has been working in Zimbabwe since 1997. The orphan project was an extension of our organization’s work and grew out of a feeding program of 2004 where we first identified the huge orphan problem in Zimbabwe.  Since 2005, we’ve been able to support orphaned children who live in the districts of Bubi, Bembesi, Bulawayo, Matopo and Kwesi districts, where diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB claim too many lives each year.

In Zimbabwe, children have to pay fees for education all the way from primary school to college, and it’s practically impossible to get a job without at least a high school education. So, Mocha Club is helping care for over 300 orphans between the ages of 6-21 by paying their school fees and meeting their basic physical needs. While we receive new children into the program, others have now completed their education and gone on to become teachers, auto mechanics, artists – breadwinners within their families and for other children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS or other diseases.  Amazing!

The orphan project is currently only increasing in cost because since 2000, the education system in Zimbabwe has all but crumbled, and households find it harder and harder to make ends meet. The government has also stopped their education support program, which has only made it harder for families to send their children to school.

Can you imagine if your ability to go to school was dependent upon someone an entire ocean away?  Yes, your $7/month does matter.

Thank you for making a huge difference in the lives of these children!

AFRICA NEWS, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

President Obama Must Address Sudan at the UN General Assembly – Huffington Post

By Jerry Fowler, president, Save Darfur Coalition; Haggag Nayel, secretary general, Arab Coalition for Darfur; and Dismas Nkunda, co-chair, Darfur Consortium

While President Barack Obama will speak to a number of pressing global issues when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow, one topic he cannot neglect is Sudan. The President should seize the opportunity to build international support for policies to protect the human rights of all Sudanese and promote lasting peace in the country…continue reading…

AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water

Sudan Update: Moving Towards Southern Secession

From our friends at Persecution Project Foundation (PPF), our partners on the ground in Jach [Jaac], Sudan, where we are helping build clean water wells…

Africa's newest country? (image from Persecution Project)

The Sudan Tribune recently reported that 24 humanitarian organizations issued a report that Sudan is “alarmingly unprepared” for the secession referendum in January 2011.

One of the key factors in insuring a peaceful transition is to clearly define the North/South Sudan border, something that has not yet been accomplished. Without both sides agreeing on what constitutes northern and southern Sudan, the possibility for a renewed conflict between the two regions is greatly increased if the South votes for independence.

The referendum on secession was one of the terms specified in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the North and South in 2005. A key player in the peace negotiations was the United States, which is accredited with making the CPA a reality.

However, since taking office, President Obama has been criticized by the Left and the Right for his lack of action in Sudan. Obama made many promises during his campaign about intervening in Sudan, especially Darfur. And experts agree that a strong U.S. presence will be needed to ensure that the referendum vote is honored by Northern Sudan. Few people seriously believe Southern Sudan will vote to remain part of the North.

Salva Kiir was overwhelmingly elected President of Southern Sudan and will likely become the President of Africa's newest country next year. (image from Persecution Project)

The bottom line is that the next several months are going to be crucial as Northern and Southern government officials work to reach an agreement on what a post-referendum Sudan will look like.

Many millions of Southern Sudanese live in the North. So their citizenship status would be a major issue if the South secedes. Moreover, there are questions on how to dispose the national debt, water issues (since the Nile runs through Southern Sudan, and is the lifeline for the North), and trade agreements (since all oil in Southern Sudan must run through the North to get to Port Sudan).

Please keep the work of Mocha Club and Persecution Project in your thoughts and prayers, so the security situation will remain stable enough for our work to continue.

AFRICA TRIPS, PERSPECTIVES

Melissa's Report from Ethiopia

MC Member Melissa Kohne went to Ethiopia again with Mocha Club this past summer.  Here she shares about her time with the one-month Mocha Club Ethiopia team…

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Ethiopia one-month team in their van – Melissa is on the front right in the black hood  (photo by Asher Wood)

“…our team members washed the street boys’ feet as a gesture of our love and gratitude towards them. The boys then in turn washed our feet. Such humility and servitude was really astounding…”

by Melissa Kohne

The Mocha Club one-month team of six arrived fresh from America on July 29th and just left on August 23rd.  The team had a great dynamic and every team member brought their own unique and refreshing outlook on Africa. We divided our time between three Ethiopian cities: Addis Ababa, Nazaret, and Ambo.   Here are some of the highlights:

  • In Nazaret we spent 2.5 days with the Women At Risk that Mocha Club supports. They are going through a nine-month program that focuses on counseling and job training. Each morning with the women we had devotional time together and then two women and two team members shared their stories with the group. To see such trust and hear such strength from all was truly one of my favorite times. The women also sang worship songs better than any other group I have ever encountered!
  • In Ambo our team taught English to children sponsored by Compassion International (at a school Mocha Club funded), and worked with street boys. Four street boys in particular were adopted by our group. Our last night together in Ambo, our team leaders surprised us with a nice dinner, and after a coffee ceremony, our team members washed the street boys’ feet as a gesture of our love and gratitude towards them. The boys then in turn washed our feet. Such humility and servitude was really astounding and I wish I could capture that feeling of love and place it in this blog post for you all to feel.
  • One of days in Addis Ababa, we had our own version of Thanksgiving.  All our team members were there, as well as our friends we had worked with the previous month. Seeing everyone interacting made it feel like a family Thanksgiving for sure.
  • On the last day, all the girls of our team got our hair braided.  Some of the girls even wore traditional Ethiopian dresses on the plane ride home. The sight we made all walking the streets together was really quite hilarious!

Yesterday an Ethiopian friend told me that I was not a tourist, I was instead part of the Ethiopian “dispora” (meaning I was an Ethiopian who left and has returned). Although it was said in jest, my hope is that the way I interact with all gives off that impression. I don’t want to be another tourist who comes, gives physical gifts, and leaves. I’m still learning each day how to live beside my African friends (and not simply observe how they live), and how to keep these relationships alive and well once an ocean is between us.

For more about Melissa’s trip, you can check out her personal blog.

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya president ratifies new constitution – BBC Africa

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki signs the new constitution in front of crowds in Nairobi

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki signs the new constitution in front of crowds in Nairobi (BBC Africa)

Kenya has adopted a new constitution, more than three weeks after it was overwhelmingly approved in a national referendum.

Tens of thousands of people watched as President Mwai Kibaki signed the document into law at a large ceremony in the capital, Nairobi…continue reading…

AFRICA NEWS

Sudan Leader Travels Despite Warrant – NYTimes.com

By ALAN COWELL
Published: August 27, 2010

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan arrived in Kenya on Friday to participate in a ceremony inaugurating the country’s newly minted constitution, flouting international demands for his arrest on genocide charges.

Mr. Bashir faces two arrest warrants: one issued in July by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on three counts of genocide and one from March 2009 for war crimes and crime against humanity. In theory the warrants could be enforced by any of the court’s member countries, which include Kenya…continue reading…

Education, FROM THE FIELD

Worker Readiness School in South Africa

Here’s an update from our Mocha Club project, Living Hope Community Center, which provides support to those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Cape Town, South Africa.
Living Hope students

Living Hope has launched its Worker Readiness School! In their effort to help those living with HIV/AIDS find jobs, they researched what South African employers are looking for.  Surprisingly, the employers’ greatest need is not that workers have the hard skills, but rather soft skills like emotional readiness and a positive mindset.  This prompted Living Hope to start the Living Way Worker Readiness School.   The course began in April 2010 with 10 participants, and Living Hope has already seen a lot of fruit from the program!
The training is a mixture of personal development, interpersonal growth, and fundamental job skills.  Specific topics include:

  • Work Ethics
  • Values
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Interviewing
  • Resume writing

The course is 9 full days of training spread over a three-week period. With homework and tests, the teachers ensure that all students are engaging with the material.

When asked what they had gained, some participants responded…

“I gained hope, forgiveness and taking initiative at a workplace as well as communicating with your colleagues.”

“How to manage my time and money… and how to be resilient.”

“To be on time, honest, forgiving, handling money God’s way, to communicate well.”

Thank you for your contributions that help provide job training to our friends affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.