It started the moment we arrived home from Kenya. The usual calls from friends, former employees and acquaintances in Kenya.
“Can you help with school fees? A new business? Food for my family? Building a house on land that was gifted to me?”
And in our relative abundance, we have given, knowing all along that we desired something more structured and focused.
And then this summer, two teachers that we had worked with in Kenya were looking for work. I told them to go ahead and look for work in a local school, that we had nothing for them. I hated saying it, but these are persistent folk and they just need to hear it straight, the first time.
And then one of them emailed back and said she couldn’t go back to just teaching anyone. That after working with these vulnerable kids and seeing the change in them….that this was her calling.
“Could we please help?”
I hated hearing that. It stressed me out. Didn’t she know work was unsteady for us, finances unsure, our life still in transition from returning home? How could she possibly think that WE could help HER? I think we must have said no a few more times. I know I let a few calls from Kenya go to voice mail rather than having to say “no” yet again.
But she persisted.
And joined forces with another teacher we had employed and trained.
Ian being the person he is, called their bluff and told them to go find some vulnerable kids then.
They hunted. They found. They reconsidered. And hunted some more. And found.
The result is Kiang’ombe, an isolated slum village about 3km off the main road in Thika, Kenya.
Community members and elders were thrilled to hear from these teachers. Overjoyed with the fact that the idle school building they had built themselves within their community…might find life again through the funding of teachers and materials.
This is what we have hoped for all along in thinking again of how we might make a difference in Kenya.
Idle community school building in Kiang'ombe
Ameena Project will be a US based, 100% volunteer run organization made up of individuals who have been deeply and permanently impacted by encounters with extreme poverty. We will come alongside talented and passionate individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to working with the neediest children within their communities. We desire to work in developing and undeveloped countries. Simple and focused, it is our goal to recognize that to whom much is given, much is required.
By carefully choosing opportunities that fulfill our mission we reduce the risk of financial mismanagement, loss of community culture/knowledge, and dependence on outside leadership. While our group grew out of the wish to partner with these Kenyan teachers and enable them to serve the community of Kiang’ombe, we also recognize that the future might bring other partnering opportunities. But for now, this is how you can help.
We need people willing to fund this program for the 1 year trial we’ve committed to. Village elders have offered the free use of the facilities and are ensuring community protection of any program supplies that are brought in.
Kiang’ombe Nursery school will provide full day preschool for 50 children ages 4-6 as well as a full feeding program for enrolled children. We have seen from our previous work in Kenya the powerful effect this type of program can have on a struggling community. The change in the children is profound when they get the combination of regular nourishment, academic instruction, and structured social activities. Children in extreme poverty literally come alive when they are given these three basic elements of healthy development. The effects of this type of program also impact the local community, sometimes in a dramatic way. When parents know their children have a safe & nurturing place to spend their days, they are often freed up to seek employment themselves, multiplying the positive impact on family systems. When the youngest & most vulnerable children in the community begin to do better it has a tremendous impact on the community as a whole. Adult lives that were consumed with worry over their children who were malnourished and only just surviving are transformed when they hear the sounds of singing, see children playing together again (or maybe for the first time), and feel the relief that comes from seeing joy in their child’s eyes.
In order to maximize direct benefit to sponsored programs, Ameena Project values simplicity in all operations and management procedures. This will allow us to operate programs at a lower cost than more elaborate American derived programs. This will be a Kenyan preschool that looks like a Kenyan preschool. No fancy American supplies and equipment. But, because of this concept, we will be able to fund salaries for 2 teachers, a cook, and a security guard; and schooling and meals for 50 children 5 days/week for less than my monthly take home! And I only work 2 days a week!
Here are the specific ways in which you can choose to join this cause:
Make a one (1) time financial contribution towards the start-up program costs:
educational supplies – $555.00 toilet renovation & construction of chalk board – $278.00 cooking, food service & cleaning supplies – $445.00
55 student chairs, 4 adult chairs, and 10 tables – $834.00 1st month’s salaries & operation costs – $1200.00
or, make a year-long commitment to the monthly costs of running this program. We would LOVE to challenge you to commit to giving & joining in this project in exchange for the benefit of being uniquely connected to this community and 50 specific children. You can send a check to us monthly, quarterly, or in a lump sum.
While we work on acquiring non-profit 501c3 status, we have a fiscal sponsorship contract with Nomad Charities out of Bend, Oregon to allow for tax deductible contributions. If you desire a tax write-off, you would write checks to: Nomad Charities with Ameena Project in the subject line. If you don’t want to go through our fiscal sponsor, you can make checks out to Ian and/or Anne May with Ameena Project in the subject line. All checks (including Nomad checks) can be mailed to: Ameena Project, 1455 SW Huntington Ave, Portland OR 97225. Your monies will go toward the program in Kenya, all members of Ameena Project volunteer their time/services.
We anticipate the launch of our website, with more specific Ameena Project information in the next couple of weeks, but also recognize the need that is immediately present in Kiang’ombe, and wish to begin funding the preschool & feeding program as soon as possible.
These children are waiting:
If you have more specific questions about our budget, financial arrangements, giving, and/or volunteering opportunities, please feel free to email any of the Ameena Project members directly:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We also welcome those of you who wish to contribute through volunteering your professional skills.