Mother’s Day is celebrated each year on the second Sunday in May in the United States, this year on May 14, and also on that day around the world in countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe where our partners the Lewa Children’s Home, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre and the Lerato Children’s Village, respectively, provide care and love for hundreds of orphaned and destitute children and youth.
Over not just years, but decades, Lewa founder and director and Bread and Water for Africa® international spokesperson Phyllis Keino, along with Lerato founder and director Margaret Makambira and Kabwata founder and director Angela Miyanda have become “mothers” for thousands.
It is a labor of love for all three compassionate and caring women who have taken in the most vulnerable members of their communities, including infants who were abandoned by their biological mothers and who never would have survived without being rescued by their loving saviors, as well as toddlers and young children left to fend for themselves on the dirt paths of small villages and hard streets of big cities.
Our orphan care program began in the 1980s when Phyllis began taking orphaned children into her home until her modest house could hold no more and Bread and Water for Africa® established our long-term partnership with her to construct the Lewa Children’s Home and assist with providing support for the dozens of children living there at any given time.
Phyllis has seen many children grow and mature from infants into successful adults over the decades today with children of their own, and she knows full well that for her it’s a never-ending responsibility and duty that she has undertaken.
“Despite all good intentions by many, it is still a daily reality that children are being abandoned, fall victim to domestic violence or become an orphan,” says Phyllis, and adding:
“Thank you very much for all the support given to the children of Lewa.”
Margaret wants to ensure that the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® know that “Without your assistance our children would still be in darkness, but through your love and generosity, the situation for our children is getting better and better.
“Orphaned children’s lives have been changed for the better and they are now being fed and clothed and loved. By ensuring the youth can remain in school and complete their education, the number of teen pregnancies has been reduced and, in general, they are happier and living their lives with a purpose.
“Thank you for all your love and support of all of us here at the Lerato Children’s Village. Please continue to help us keep of the good work and may God bless you.”
As for Angela, who founded Kabwata in 1998, she notes that it was formed “to provide basic requirements for orphaned and other vulnerable children in Zambia.
“Through the provision of shelter, education, nutrition and healthcare, and security and love, we try to help the children reach their full potential in life.”
And it’s just that which Angela has devoted the past quarter century to doing, with the help of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.
Angela went on to explain that she does not “select” the children who will come to live at Kabwata and eventually come to know her as “mommy,” rather “the police pick up abandoned children and bring them to our home for care.”
When asked what difference Kabwata has made for these children who have been rescued, she responded succinctly – “It has saved lives.
“Abused children now have a home. Malnourished children are no longer hungry, but healthy and prepared to start school.
“It has given hope to the orphaned children who had lost hope by providing them with a home.”
In addition, in the larger scheme of things, Kabwata has brought the dire issue forward by educating and reminding government officials themselves of their responsibilities “to the cry of the orphans.”
And in Angela’s own words to all the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who have helped her realize her own dream – as well as the dreams of the thousands of children who have called Kabwata home over the decades – she wants them to know:
“Twenty-five years ago, a new organization was born out of compassion. It was a hopeless situation looking at it with a human mind.
Children needed urgent help.
Many were the challenges of starting up a new place.
Promises and pledges were made but not fulfilled.
We put all our hope in God and indeed one visit at the Bread and Water for Africa® offices in the U.S. changed the life in the home.
We are so grateful for the coming to the aid of Kabwata.
To all those who have sacrificed their hard-earned pay, their giving has not been in vain; with sincere hearts of gratitude, their deliberate donating to Bread and Water for Africa® has made remarkable changes in the lives of the children.
Today we look back and are thankful for their kind hearts and spirits.”