VICDA and Global Volunteer Network, GVN, have worked together for nearly a decade with the common goal of feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and giving hope and a home to the homeless of Kenya. GVN’s volunteer program regularly sends new volunteers to Kenya to work in various projects and the GVN Foundation has fundraised for and donated generous funds to VICDA’s many projects.
Each year GVN Foundation’s global fundraiser, Eat So They Can, asks people from around the world to host a dinner party in order to raise money for those who are struggling, primarily children. The funds are then distributed to GVN’s many projects, primarily in South America, Southeast Asia and East Africa. As GVN’s Kenya partner, VICDA projects have benefited directly from these funds and donations.
Ushirika Clinic is a community health center, located in the Kibera slum in Nairobi. Ushirika is a relatively small clinic that serves a vast population and they are more often than not short of supplies and medicines needed to treat their many patients. VICDA has sent GVN volunteers to Ushirika since 2006 and GVN Foundation’s recent donation of medical supplies and medicines will be of great assistance to the Kiberan community, literally hundreds of thousands of people.
This past year, GVN Foundation has taken a great interest in VICDA’s Spirulina program. Spirulina is a nutrient rich algae that can be mixed into foods or taken as a capsule and VICDA has established Spirulina “farms” to grow the algae as well as implemented feeding programs for HIV patients and children in particular to benefit from the protein, vitamins and other nutrients found in this “super food.”
Water is a resource that is hard to come by in much of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural areas. Maasailand is especially known for being arid and Maasai women oftentimes need to walk up to 6 hours a day, just to collect 20 L of water and carry it back to the camp. This is oftentimes the reason given for pulling Maasai girls out of school at an early age, so they can assist in the water collection for the family. By providing a new water tank, GVN isn’t only giving water to the community but they are giving back valuable years of education for young Maasai girls. GVN Foundation is assisting an area of Maasailand called Olshoboor, at a schooled called Ronesa School.
The mission of Hidden Baby is simple. They believe that “fashion should be about creating beauty and social change. Every Hidden Baby product has a baby hidden within the design to represent babies hidden from society’s sight.” A portion of the profits from all Hidden Baby sales is, then, donated to an organization that helps abandoned and forgotten children around the world. The Hidden Baby story is one of sisters coming together and merging their talents to create a fashion line that isn’t only unique and beautiful, but also sheds light on real life Hidden Babies. Founders Kelsey the artist and Courtney the activist, the sisters behind the line, were first inspired after visiting Happy Life Orphanage, in Kenya.
Happy Life Children’s Home is an orphanage located on the outskirts of Nairobi. VICDA has been supporting this incredible project for several years by placing GVN Volunteers at the project, providing food, healthcare, baby clothes and toys. Happy Life’s vision is to provide a caring home for abandoned babies in Kenya with the ultimate goal of adopting these children out to loving new parents. There is a spirit of love and joy at Happy Life and the amazing staff and volunteers work hard to create a feeling of family for the children in residence.
Almost all of the babies at Happy Life Children’s Home were abandoned and rescued and delivered to the orphanage and many of the babies at Happy Life were born premature and abandoned in Nairobi area hospitals. Because of this, several children at Happy Life require special medical treatment and regular doctor visits. This is an added cost to caring for children, and something that VICDA and their partners have assisted with in the past. Read more about the adorable little residents of Happy Life. Also take a moment to read about Niamh’s experience volunteering at Happy Life Children’s Home through VICDA.
Through the end of February, Hidden Baby has committed to donating 10% of their profits directly to Happy Life Children’s Home. Kelsey explains the reasons behind this decision on the Hidden Baby Blog. Many of the Hidden Baby items would make excellent Valentine’s Day gifts. And remember, every purchase made is also a gift to Happy Life Children’s Home and supports these real life Hidden Babies.
Contest winner’s from 2011’s Eat So They Can worldwide dinner party are now in Kenya distributing food and supplies with VICDA, GVN’s Kenyan partner. Want to join them next year? Host an Eat So They Can dinner to help raise funds for GVN Foundation’s many projects. VICDA projects have benefitted greatly from this program ranging from school feeding programs to desks and text books. Visit the Eat So They Can blog to read more!
What’s more, GVN Foundation’s focus this month is KENYA! GVN Foundation is partnering with Happy Life Children’s Home to bring attention to abandoned babies, a serious problem in Nairobi. Stylish handbags are being sold through their website to benefit this fantastic project. VICDA has been placing volunteers at Happy Life for several years and has a positive relationship with the organization.