Ever since mankind made the transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian society about 10,000 years ago, most of the world’s population relies on farming and other agricultural activities for food.

In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Zambia many millions are reliant not just on farms for food, but must rely on themselves to grow enough food for themselves and their families, and hopefully have surplus crops to be able to sell at local markets.

The challenges for these small-holder farmers, a large percentage of them women, are many and great – especially regarding having adequate rainfall during the growing season in these times of climate change which cause extensive drought leaving farmers with nothing as all they can do is watch the crops wither and die.

But in these countries Bread and Water for Africa® has been working for two decades to support agricultural programs leading to food self-sufficiency and economic independence on both large and small scale projects.

For example, in Kenya, working with our longtime international spokesperson Phyllis Keino and Jos Creemers, manager of the Baraka Farm, over more than 20 years we have been witness to their efforts in transforming 500 barren acres into a thriving agricultural and dairy producing operation which supports Phyllis’ mission as director of the adjacent Lewa Children’s Home.

In Sierra Leone, after years of a brutal civil war and the tragic, deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014/15, Bread and Water for Africa® longtime partner there, Rev. Francis Mambu, director of the Faith Healing Development Organization, is not daunted – in fact he is more determined than ever to restore agricultural production to his country.

Bread and Water for Africa® supports FHDO’s own large-scale rice farming operations through the purchase of farming equipment including tractors and more recently following the Ebola outbreak when farming activities all but ceased in the country, thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide Rev. Mambu with a rice planter/harvester which allowed him to greatly increase production on his land.

In addition, through FHDO programs, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided support to hundreds of small holder farmers – again almost all women struggling to raise their children – by providing seeds and seedlings for plants such as groundnuts (peanuts) at the start of the growing season.

Most recently we are working on a program to provide women with cassava (yucca) plants which, when mature, they sell to a processing plant owned by FHDO which converts the cassava into flour. The women then buy the flour at wholesale prices which they sell at their local markets – in effect making two profits on the same product.

In Zambia, Bread and Water for Africa® supports the efforts of our partner there the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre to have a banana plantation to support the orphanage, similar to the model created by Phyllis for Baraka Farm and Lewa Children’s Home. The banana plantation, started in 2007, was so successful that a few years later Bread and Water for Africa® provided funding for Kabwata director Angela Miyanda to double the size of the planation.

Then, in 2015, Angela came up with the idea to expand her food producing activities with pisciculture, more commonly known as “fish farming.” Bread and Water for Africa® provided her the “seed” money to construct ponds each containing 3,000 tilapia fish which mature in 90 to 120 days not only providing fish for the children, but making thousands of dollars in profits annually.

And in Zimbabwe, Bread and Water for Africa® partner, Shinga Development Trust, is not set up using modern farming mechanisms such as Baraka Farm, but instead utilizes a more traditional farming method known as “Farming God’s Way.”

As explained by Shinga director Margaret Makambira, “Farming God’s Way” stresses teacher farmers to build a sustainable farming method by managing the land, maintaining minimum wastage, no ploughing, and rotation of the crops.

From large scale modern farming to assisting small holder farmers subsisting on the small tracts of land, Bread and Water for Africa® places a high value on agricultural programs, and rightly so as so many lives depend on the success of farmers, big and small.

On December 9, 1988, the board of directors of Christian Relief Services agreed to provide support to a fledgling orphanage in the town of Eldoret, Kenya.

And with that, Christian Relief Services, the umbrella organization of Bread and Water for Africa®, took the first step in a nearly 30-year mission of providing loving homes for thousands of Africa’s most vulnerable, its orphaned and abandoned children.

Bread and Water for Africa® soon developed close ties with Phyllis Keino, founder of the Lewa Children’s Home, who today remains director of the children’s home and is the longtime international spokesperson for Bread and Water for Africa.®

Phyllis and her former husband, Olympic gold medalist Kip Keino, began their journey of caring for others by taking in a few parentless children in their community who had nowhere else to turn but the streets. Over the years those “few” became “many” as Phyllis could not turn away any child in need who showed up at her doorstep from her home.

By 1990, they had nearly 50 children they were caring for and raising as part of the family – and they realized they could not do it alone.

During the next decade, Bread and Water for Africa® stepped up its support for the children’s home to include funding for paying for all the children’s school fees and building a dormitory.

In the meantime, Bread and Water for Africa® also provided substantial assistance in the construction of a primary school which would serve the children in the surrounding community whose school fees would make it possible for children living at Lewa to attend the new school free of charge.

Bread and Water for Africa® also provided significant resources towards the development of Baraka Farm which would not only provide food for the children at Lewa, but sell the surplus produce on the way to making the children’s home self-sufficient.

By the year 2000, the primary school had been constructed and there were 80 children living in the children’s home, which had grown to 96 children by 2002.

With the realization of the life-altering results being made at the Lewa Children’s Home, in 1999 Bread and Water for Africa® expanded our orphan care program to the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, founded by Angela Miyanda, the wife of the county’s vice president.

The need for such an orphanage in Zambia was dire as the AIDS/HIV crisis was leaving tens of thousands of young children orphans to struggle to survive alone on the streets. Tragically, many of the young children she took in were born with the virus itself.

In 2000, there were reports of 100 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses each day in the capital city of Lusaka alone, and Angela had made a home for 50 children at Kabwata who were “indeed blessed to be in Mrs. Miyanda’s care,” a Bread and Water for Africa® staff person reported at the time after a field visit to the country.

It was also reported that month that Angela had been able to take a $5,000 grant from Bread and Water for Africa® “and turn an old, shell of a building into a beautiful new dormitory for more than 80 children she currently has in her program.”

By 2003, Bread and Water for Africa® was providing life-saving assistance to more than 400 AIDS orphans in Zambia, and today, Bread and Water for Africa® and Kabwata remain as stronger partners than ever.

Around the same time, Bread and Water for Africa® joined forces with Emmanuel Ministries (later to become Shinga Development Trust) in Zimbabwe by Margaret Makambira providing assistance to orphans in that country as well. Like Kabwata, Shinga remains a partner of Bread and Water for Africa® today, and is looking forward to opening its own children’s home this year.

In 2010, Christian Relief Services founder Gene Krizek described Phyllis as the “Mother Teresa of Africa,” but we believe in 2017 it’s appropriate to name them all the “Mothers Teresa of Africa” as they truly have been, and will always be, the “mothers to thousands.”

Any child living anywhere in the world is destined for a life of poverty without an education.

Nowhere is that more true than in sub-Saharan Africa which in no way could be described as “a land of opportunity” for those who can’t read or write, add or subtract of have a general knowledge of the world.

Theirs is a life of struggle and despair with no hope for anything better in their life than to labor hard – if they are fortunate enough to find work – eat for a day, and have a place to sleep for the night.

That’s why Bread and Water for Africa® provides funding for school fees and school uniforms for hundreds of children each year in several African countries.

For example, in Cameroon, our partner there Hope Services, enables deserving children whose greatest wish in the world is to go to school with funding provided by supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.

This year, Hope Services Director Esther Ndichafah expects to enable more than 200 underprivileged children including orphans and what she calls “persecuted children” to go to school, giving them their only chance for success in life.

Her mission, she says, is to give “the underprivileged the same opportunities to be educated like others” and helping transform “poor children into established self-reliant individuals” by encouraging academic excellence.

At Bread and Water for Africa® Esther’s mission is our mission. We strongly believe that education is not a key to success, it is THE key to success.

In the villages of Bangolan and Babungo in Cameroon, as well as Lolo in Chad, secondary school tuition is extremely inexpensive compared to what it costs to educate a child in the United States.

That is unless you are a poor orphan and then it may as well be $1 million.

In Kenya, Bread and Water for Africa® provides funding for secondary school students living at the affiliated Lewa Children’s Home as well as sponsored children in the local community.

Stella Keino of the Lewa Children’s Home stated that by providing school fees for orphans living at Lewa and others “This benefits the Eldoret community and the country as a whole.”

Stella sees short term, medium term and long term outcomes for the students.

In the short term, children will be able to go directly to high school without any disruption to their education with funding for the school fees in place from the start of the school year to the end.

In the medium term, children will be able to attend all the years of high school without worry of how they will pay their school fees year after year.

And in the long term, the students will be able to attain a higher education than they otherwise might not have been able to “and develop themselves to be better citizens.”

In Zimbabwe, working with our partner there, Margaret Makambira, director of Shinga Development Trust, 30 primary school students and 20 secondary school students, will benefit from our school fee support program.

Margaret firmly believes, as do we, that an educated population will empower the nation, build healthy communities and lead to a long-term goal of self-sufficiency as she works to eradicate illiteracy in her community, one child at a time.

The result of our efforts – all of us, Bread and Water for Africa®, our grassroots partners working every day to better the lives of children in the communities, and you, our supporters who make it all possible – is that today hundreds of children are in school instead of the streets, and tomorrow they will have a bright future, leading the way for thousands to follow.

Eldoret, Kenya, pop. 300,000, is the fastest growing city in Kenya, the second largest urban center in Midwestern Kenya and the fifth largest urban center in all of Kenya.

It is a sister city to Indianapolis, IN, Ithaca, NY, Minneapolis, MN, and Portsmouth, VA.

It is also home to the Kipkeino Primary School, and to hundreds of children living in the adjacent Lewa Children’s Home who attend the school.

As millions of children in the United States return to school in upcoming weeks, so do millions of Kenyan children, and as noted by Kipkeino school administrator Vimala Sebastian, “In the modern world of today, a computer lab is a necessity.”

At Bread and Water for Africa® we wholeheartedly agree. That is why, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able in July to fully fund a new computer lab for the school, along with high-speed internet access.

“When the old system was in use, pupils could rarely access the computers and most of the lessons were theory, which was not interesting,” Vimala said. “Right now, they all crowd around the screens which means the children enjoy the program.”

And the biggest strength of the program says Vimala?

“Students being able to use computers and becoming IT experts. They also use the computers for play which improves their cognitive skills as well as alertness.”

As such is true in Indianapolis, Ithaca, Minneapolis, and Portsmouth, so it is true in Eldoret.

Salim’s story is one that begins with sadness and woe, but ends with happiness and joy.

It starts when he was only four months old when his father took him to a hospital in Kenya where Salim was treated for malnourishment and pneumonia and where a defect was found in his heart which required treatment.

However, with his heart literally broken, the infant child would have his heart broken in a second way when his parents simply disappeared from the hospital without their newborn son, leaving no way for anyone at the hospital to contact them.

When he was able to leave the hospital, Salim was taken to the Lewa Children’s Home in Eldoret, Kenya. There, he received the care and treatment he needed, and more importantly, he received love.

And, even more good news, after a few additional hospital visits, the doctors were overjoyed to learn that the treatment had worked – the defect in his heart was cured.

Salim_2Today, Salim is about 8 years old still living at Lewa.

He has transformed from being an extremely sick, abandoned infant into a cheerful child who, has recovered from not one, but two, broken hearts.

“I am Odero!” he proudly exclaims today.

It’s springtime, and young boys and girls will soon be taking to the diamond with their gloves, balls and bats to play what is arguably the most American of sports – baseball.

But these kids aren’t in Cleveland, Chicago or Cincinnati. They live in Eldoret, Kenya.

Most young children in rural Kenya are happy just to have a soccer ball made of plastic bags or rags and twine, but these children who attend the KipKeino Primary School will soon have equipment that would rival any Little League team in the United States thanks to Chicago White Sox scout John Tumminia.

Bread and Water for Africa® is proud to play a role in helping Tumminia and his organization Baseball Miracles introduce the sport to hundreds of children at the KipKeino Primary School this year – we are sure they will have a ball!

This year, Bread and Water for Africa® will be helping to facilitate the clinics and games for dozens of children who will be introduced to America’s pastime by baseball professionals, many of whom will fall in love the sport that they had yet to have even heard of.

And, who knows, perhaps a few years from now we may be watching one of these young Kenyans throwing a fastball, or hitting a homerun, in a Major League Baseball game on TV. We can all dream, right?

 

Clean and safe water is such a scarce resource for so many, including in Sierra Leone.  Mothers, children, the sick, and indeed entire communities suffer from inadequate and unhealthy water in far too many communities of Sierra Leone.

That’s why this month, with our partner there, Faith Healing Development Organization, Bread and Water for Africa® will be drilling a much-needed well in Waterloo Community Sierra Leone to provide clean, safe water not only to the school where it will be located, but to a nearby clinic where uncontaminated water is critical to survival of the patients, as well as the community as a whole.

We have launched a 14 for 14 Matching Grant Challenge to raise the necessary funds – just $14,000 – to build this critically needed well.  This week, as World Water Day was celebrated on Sunday, March 22, there are so many reasons why this well is vital to this Waterloo community – including the 14 we are listing on our website through March 30.  14 facts for $14,000 life saving dollars Every dollar will be matched and will bring life-saving water to an entire community. We are working to raise awareness about the plight of so many that suffer from a lack of clean water with 14 important facts and raise $14,000 to drill that well.

Learn more facts about the necessity of clean and accessible water, and join us in our mission to ensure that the residents of the small village of Waterloo have something we all here in the United States take for granted – a steady supply of clean, safe water.

 

 

14Facts_Infographic_Web_Mar30

It may be a cliché, but there’s no denying its truth – time flies.

It’s hard to believe all that Bread and Water for Africa® has been able to accomplish in the past 18 years (since our inception in 1997) with our partner organizations in numerous countries throughout the African continent.

And perhaps none has been more rewarding for us and beneficial to the most needy children in Kenya – orphaned or abandoned by their parents – than our partnership with the Lewa Children’s Home and our international spokesperson Phyllis Keino.

What began as Phyllis’ mission to provide a loving place to live for a few children in her local community of Eldoret in the early -1970s has evolved into a home for hundreds of young children who would otherwise likely be fending for themselves on the streets with no one to care for them, one of nation’s top primary schools and a farm operation which not only provides food for the children, but has excess produce and dairy products to sell at the market.

Bread and Water for Africa® executive director Bethlehem Tessema had the opportunity earlier this year to visit her close friend Phyllis and see all the progress the home, school and farm have made since our partnership with Phyllis began in 1997.

“It is amazing to see all that Phyllis has been able to accomplish with the assistance of Bread and Water for Africa® supporters,” said Bethlehem. “We are proud of what we have been able to do, together with one of our longest-standing partners – the Lewa Children’s Home, the KipKeino Primary School and the Baraka Farm – and it’s all thanks to you.”

So it is today, a dream to do more for Kenya’s children with no place to turn than just provide a bed with a roof over their heads and food in their empty bellies, has been realized. They have a home where they know they are loved, and an education so that they will be able to mature into successful adults with hope for a bright future.

Merry Christmas from the Lewa Children's Home

Together We Helped Make a New Life for Hundreds of Orphaned and Abandoned Children During Our 2014 Fiscal Year. 

  • Please Give Today!107 orphaned and abandoned children lived in the Lewa Children’s Home where they received food, healthcare, an education, and a loving place to call home. (Kenya)
  • 74 orphaned and abandoned children have a place to call home where all their basic needs were met, giving them hope for a healthy future. (Zambia)
  • 400 children, most born with HIV, benefited from an orphan feeding program operated by Shinga Development Trust. (Zimbabwe)

Thanks to your generous support in the past, we have accomplished so much for the children of Africa, but the need to ensure our programs continue in the new year is still great.  

Please make your year-end tax-deductible gift for the hundreds of orphans we already help, and for those still in need.

Training Kenyan Farmers

They say that knowledge is power, and thanks to Bread and Water for Africa®’s partner in Kenya, Baraka Farm , today there are some very powerful smallholder dairy farmers who are realizing great increases in their milk production.

Farmer TrainingPhilimon, Stanley, Raphael, Paul and Samuel each have fewer than 10 cows, but with the training they received through the farm’s Practical Dairy Training Center they learned how to more than double the amount of milk they were getting from those cows without increasing their number.

Course modules included feeding, an introduction to various zero-grazing options, production of the milk in a sanitary and hygienic manner, and calf-rearing. Future courses will include the topics of cow health, fertility and farm record keeping.

While there is much to be learned in a classroom setting, more than half of the training is spent on the farm doing practical hands-on training on a small model farm, similar to the circumstances in which the students operate their own farms.

And for those who cannot make it to Eldoret to take the class themselves in person, Baraka Farm has started posting videos on youtube for anyone with a computer to view and learn from. For example, see the video below, it is now possible to gain information about calf rearing from the farm manager Jos Creemers himself.

There can be no doubt that for the small Kenyan farmers Philimon, Stanley, Raphael, Paul and Samuel the knowledge they obtained through the course will benefit more than just themselves alone, but their families, and those they share the knowledge with in their own communities.

Through your support of Bread and Water for Africa® you are helping to put more, and safer, milk into the bellies of children and making Kenya a more prosperous place to live, one small farmer at a time.

A serious drought is having “immense impact” on people’s lives and livelihoods in Ethiopia, stated a United Nation Emergency Relief Coordinator who visited the...