Posts Tagged ‘orphans’
AN EASTER MESSAGE-
As we celebrate this Easter season I am reminded of something a child said: “If I wasn’t here, I would either be a thief or dead.” That could be said of the 650 all the children who have been rescued. I know the life of a thief in Kenya is very short. It is clear to me all these beautiful children would probably be dead if the St. Clare Centre did not exist. Hunger, disease or violence would have extinguished their young lives.
My friends, it is also clear to me, these children have been given life by YOU!!! Your compassion has returned them to life. At this time of the year I remember YOU are the Easter people who have rolled away the rock and allowed these children to escape the tomb of the streets and abuse. The resurrection continues through YOU.
So on this Easter 2012 I say THANK YOU to all the sponsors and donors. You truly are Easter People.
Gratefully Yours in the Risen Lord,
The Form II girls are the pioneers of St. Clare Girls’ Center. They have encountered many tribulations in their lives. I will try to give you a better understanding of their story and mine, for I am one of them.
Father Riwa, a missionary from Tanzania, built St. Francis Children’s Village to help street boys in Kenya. The news of this school spread like wildfire. Many orphaned girls used to go to St. Francis to ask Father if he would sponsor them. St. Francis was only meant for boys and Father would not mix girls with boys, although he had mercy on us girls. Whenever he saw us, he only thought of how girls who have no parents were being mistreated. This encouraged him to build a girls’ school.
In 2006, Father Riwa built St. Clare Girls’ Center to help orphan girls from different tribes. We were very lucky to be sponsored since many of us lived miserable lives. We came from different backgrounds. Some had gone to school but others had not. When we met here in 2006, we all started with class one work because our Father Riwa believed that “Repetition is the mother of learning.”
The school was not yet well developed in 2006. There were no dormitories, and only a few classrooms. We came to school every morning and returned home in the evening. Our relatives who didn’t like us to study would refuse to take us to school so had to start our journey at 5:00 in the morning to reach school on time. Dangerous wild animals could attack us on our way to school in the morning, but since we were devoted to education we had to persevere. We also had no dinning hall so we used to eat our breakfast and lunch under the trees.
Some girls ran away because of these difficult struggles. They said that they were too big to start in class one. They had no faith that one day everything would fine. After running away from school, some got married had children. They wished to come back to St. Clare, but it was too late. Those of us who remained decided to cope with the situation as we believed what is says in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We did not lose hope as we were determined to put more effort into our studies. In that one year we covered the work from class one to class four. As the days went by, we became used to the school. We were provided with everything and we even began to forget the past lives that we lived.
The second year, 2007, the dormitories were built and we started sleeping at school. The dining hall also was built and we stopped eating outside under the trees. We were very happy to be in a comfortable environment. From there we started learning two classes per year. Everyday began with Mass at five o’clock offered by Father Riwa. What a wonderful school where pupils learn, freely guided by the Word of God from the Holy Bible. The school also developed a lot because of the many friends who provided enough money.
In 2009, we sat for our final exams in primary level. Everyone was surprised when the results came out, as we all had passed with flying colors. Nobody had below three hundred marks out of five hundred. We all made it to secondary level so Father added secondary level at St Clare. As a result, we did not struggle looking for schools. We worked hard knowing that education favors only the prepared mind. We all said, “YES WE CAN. NO IS NOT AN OPTION”.
Fourteen of us passed the Form One exam and were promoted to Form Two. We refused to look backward but only forward to a bright future where we could become the future leaders of Kenya. We have different ambitions, which I hope we will attain. We are role models in our school and so we have a big responsibility, which our teachers are helping us achieve!
Purity (bottom row, fourth from the right) is a Form II (sophomore) student at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Nchiru, Kenya.
Each year Bud when Sue Ozar return to Kenya, they bring a small group of volunteers who work at the Children’s Village and lend their experience, expertise, skills and talents to the children and staff. Rounding out the group going in February of 2012 are Chris Miller (on the left) and her daughter Kathryn Miller Borio. Chris is a veteran early childhood teacher in Fraser, Michigan and Kathryn is a speech therapist working in a medical facility in Chicago. Together they will team up and teach the “little ones” at St. Clare Girls’ Centre along with introducing new methods to the present Kenyan teachers.
Twenty little girls between ages six and ten will be arriving at St. Clare from an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Camp. These girls have languished in the camp since the post 2007 election violence. They will come to St. Clare with absolutely nothing except nightmarish experiences of the deaths of their parents in the violence and the abuse suffered in the camp. The girls already at St. Clare will embrace the new girls as their new sisters, teach them the school rules, community expectations and assure that each little one will have what she needs. While the four Dominican sisters and administration worry about where the basic essentials (underwear, jeans, shirts, sweaters, shows) will come from, the St. Clare girls know that God will provide donations for everything that is needed.
Last week Walsh University in Canton Ohio held a week of activities aimed at heightening global awareness and solidarity with the poor. A highlight of the week was the students took An Uncommon Walk for the Common Good where they wore flip flops or no shoes at all to simulate a connection with people in the developing world. Funds raised during this week were given to Friends of Kenyan Orphans with the specific purpose of purchasing flip-flops for the St Clare girls in Nchiru Kenya.
Without education in this developing world, you are limiting yourself. Education at St. Clare is unequalled.
Things at St. Clare are totally different from other schools from our uniform as we put on jeans, white blouses and navy blue pullovers to our beginning as a school.
When St. Clare started many people looked down on it thinking that the organization could not succeed. The school started with students learning under the trees since the building was not completed. This was not conducive to study because it was busy everywhere with construction. The teachers would dictate the notes for us since there were no appropriate places to place a blackboard. We found it difficult but since we had determination and the belief that education is the key of success, we had to persevere.
As the days went by and the school developed, more pupils who were really in need of education and could not find it elsewhere, joined us. We were now many pupils living in an environment conducive to study. Our director brought different teachers from different backgrounds to teach us. We really enjoyed the education since many of us could now read as well as write. Despite the right to education provided by law, many girls like us were denied the opportunity.
With time, the school curriculum was enhanced. The teachers started coming in the classroom at six o’clock in the morning and ending lessons at four in the evening. This is the type of learning that we now follow.
Right now, the teachers are devoted and working very hard together with the sisters to educate us spiritually, morally, emotionally, physically and psychologically. In addition to learning in the classroom, extra activities have been added. The staff members have come up with different clubs where students participate. The clubs include movement, drama, music, scouting, environmental and dancing clubs. Different teachers conduct these clubs and they nurture girls’ abilities and talents and help girls develop respect for each other.
Our teachers always tell us that successful people are not super human or endowed with certain abilities lacking in others. They are ordinary people with extra ordinary persistence and determination. The girls of St. Clare are very determined to achieve their goals by getting an education. We at St. Clare Girls’ Center have dreams that we want to make realities. There is no way we will become nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, neurosurgeons, teachers without this nine letter word “EDUCATION.”
Purity is a Form II student (sophomore) at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Nchiru, Kenya.
Matt Rahtz, pictured here on the left with a friend , is bringing the message of the Children’s Village to his school mates at Vincentian High School Academy in Pittsburgh. Through a variety of school activities Matt is aiming to establish a regular link between St. Clare Girls’ Centre in Kenya and Vincentian Academy.
Matt has a long standing relationship with the children in Kenya. His family are sponsors for one of the girls at St. Clare and his mom, Betsy, is a member of the Friends of Kenyan Orphans Board. Five years ago, when Matt was still in middle school he was involved with his parents, Jim and Betsy and sisters, Collen and Erin, collecting funds at school, family and in the community to purchase jeans, shirts and sandals for the chlidren.
Matt is working with the International Baccalaureate program in his school and we are hoping this will be the template for approaching other schools to assist their brothers and sisters in Kenya. Thanks Matt for leading the way.
PS: Matt is also a heck of a basketball player.
Marilyn and John Parker have been coming to Kenya for many years, volunteering their talents for several months each year. Last year while traveling on the other side of Mount Kenya they discovered Jane and her brother and brought them to Fr. Riwa. To support them, they found sponsors among their friends in Connecticut. At St. Clare it was discovered Jane had a severe limp caused by a birth defect, but a defect which surgery could correct. This year Marilyn and John returned to Kenya and they brought the $400 necessary for the surgery. Jane is pictured here in the courtyard of St. Clare on her crutches. The surgery was a successand now the focus is on her healing. Thanks John and Marilyn.
Sarah Wamburi is the administrator at St. Clare. It is her job to take care of all the administrative details. She recently sent this email.
“I know Father Riwa, is worried what the children will eat tomorrow and the day after, where they will live, what they will wear and mostly what will become of them in the future. The world doesn’t differentiate. When food prices go up, they go up for us too. When medical care and clothing go up, same for us also. We are not given an exemption and everyday it gets tougher and more and more children, needy and elderly people are crying for help. I know how difficult it is for Father Riwa to turn his back on them, how much it weighs him down when he can’t offer the much needed assistance. I know all of this comes back to you, and everyday more is required from you. But I believe God placed us in different capacities with a purpose and has given us responsibilities that he knows we can handle, of course through his grace. This is his work, which he is doing through all who are involved so he will provide whatever is needed including good health, strength, favour, ideas etc.”
A special Food Campaign has been started to assist the children. ANYONE WISHING TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SPECIAL FOOD FUND CAN SEND A CHECK TO ‘FRIENDS OF KENYAN ORPHANS’ (920 BERKSHIRE ROAD, GROSSE POINTE, MI 48230) or send a donation on PayPal through this website.
This article was written by Beatrice who is an older girl in Form II and a big sister to the younger children, as you see her her with Judy, the youngest 4 year old. After many years at St. Clare, Beatrice offers her insights on how love binds them together as a family.
AT ST. CLARE, WE LIVE IN LOVE (BEATRICE)
At St Clare Girls’ Centre, we all observe the greatest commandment given to us by God, which is love. For we know in love you canachieve more from others as long as you live in this world. This is why at St Clare there are about twenty different tribes but as long as we are together we speak one language. So we are able to understand one another. We are as one family united by Jesus Christ through a great messenger who is the father and mother of the St Clare children, Father Francis.
In St Clare because of love, no one is considered higher than the other one; we are all equal as one family united by Jesus Christ. As a family we do everything together. We all jog in the morning as one family. The nutrition is the same amaranth and bread for we believe in natural food. After classes we usually have sport, both teachers and pupils, and everybody normally participates fully without being forced for we know through exercises we are able to keep ourselves fit and our muscles relaxed.
For many reasons being from the poor backgrounds of the children at St Clare, we need to show love to one another. There are different kinds of children who really need to be taught how to carry themselves for since they were little they have never had their parents to teach them and bring them up in a good way. When they come to St Clare, they find love among the people in the environment and they take the people in authority as their parents.
Because of love shown at St Clare children grow and are never sad. They are always shining and happy for they lack nothing and they never think of any evil things or flashback to the problems they had undergone before. This makes St. Clare a small heaven for it is where many children from different parts of Kenya find happiness when their parents die and their relatives reject them, the same way Jesus was rejected by his people.