Kimugul Primary School at Lemolo A is Open!

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We are so excited to share with you that Kimugul Primary School at Lemolo A is officially open and children are already there, busy learning!

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At the end of July the Nakuru county governor, His Excellency Kinuthia Mbugua officially opened the school and celebrated with the community. In addition to his official duties, Governor Mbugua generously donated 400 school uniforms, sanitary towels for the girls, 500 tree seedlings and 40 bags of maize. These donations were a complete surprise to the people living at Lemolo A and, as you can imagine, the celebrations were joyous and full of thanksgiving.

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VICDA would like to thank World Teacher Aid who made the construction of this school possible and who have changed the lives of the children in the Lemolo community. Thank you, also, to Governor Kinuthia Mbugua for his generosity and support.

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Governor Mbugua, Irene Wairimu and a representative from World Teacher Aid celebrate the opening of the school.
Donations from the governor.
Donations from the governor.
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67 Mexican Volunteers Come to Kenya

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67 Anáhuac University Volunteers from Mexico arrived in Kenya to work with VICDA on 31st May. Their two weeks in the country was primarily spent in Nakuru, working on projects for the Lemolo Community.
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volunteers 4The group arrived at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyata Airport and headed straight to Nakuru where they volunteered on different VICDA projects for a duration of two weeks in Lemolo Community. The groups consisted of students from different education grounds, lecturers and coordinators. Volunteers were able to participate in different project such 2 week medical camps, teaching in school both Lemolo A and B, digging trenches and connecting water pipes, digging pit latrine toilets, construction, cooking in schools and sports with children and youths. A lot was achieved during their two weeks volunteering and they enjoyed every moment working in the community.
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Irene Wairimu also received an award from Anáhuac on behalf of VICDA for all of the positive community work the we have been able to accomplish. The trip and award ceremony was a part of Anáhuac University’s 50 year Jubilee celebration.
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Irene will travel to Mexico for an international congress in September where she has been invited to deliver a speech about VICDA and community work in Kenya.

Caring for the Children of Africa provides food for Lemolo children

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Caring for the Children of Africa, an Australian NGO, has provided food for the children at Lemolo A and B camps. Distributed through the schools where about 750 children attend, this program will feed them for 4 months. Maize, beans and maize flour were provided. This is valuable nutrition that these kids rely on to get them through the school day.

feeding 6VICDA would like to thank Annie Copley and Caring for the Children of Africa for their continued work and generous contributions to the children at Lemolo camps.

Thank you to Sister Fund & Caring for Kids of Kenya!

Children at Lemolo happily carry their new chairs to their school
Children at Lemolo happily carry their new chairs to their school

VICDA would like to thank Sister Fund (USA) and Caring for Kids of Kenya (USA) for their generous donation to the IDP resettlement project at Lemolo A. As a result of their generosity, 130 chairs and 9 tables have been purchased for the children who attend Lemolo ECD school. Before the chairs arrived, the students were sitting on hard rocks during class. These donated chairs, along with other seats and tables donated from other generous individuals and organizations, have helped to complete the classrooms for the children in attendance and have contributed to their education.

As we say in Kenya, asante sana!

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Christmas Dinners for Manjani Mingi

Irene presents the families of Manjani Mingi with Christmas dinner.
Irene presents Christmas dinner and supplies to the families at Manjani Mingi

In mid-November Irene, VICDA’s founder and executive director, had a small request: to fundraise in order to provide Christmas dinners to the 331 families at Manjani Mingi IDP Camp. For about 450 Kenyan Shillings (about $5.50 USD) Irene hoped to purchase a half litre of cooking oil, a kilo of lentils, a packet of chapati flour and a few biscuits for the children for each IDP family in residence. She sent out this request, via email, to a couple of supporters around the world and each former volunteer and supporter worked to fundraise in their own corner of the globe.

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The result was nothing short of a Christmas miracle! Irene’s original goal of raising 148,950 Kenyan Shillings (about $1860 USD) to feed the 331 families was completely crushed when nearly 300,000 Kenyan Shillings (about $4,000 USD) of support came in! With the money raised over 700 families at Manjani Minig, Lemolo A and Lemolo B were able to celebrate Christmas this year. For many of these residents, they haven’t been able to celebrate Christmas since 2007, several of the children in the community have absolutely no memory of Christmas celebrations.

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A note from Irene, sent out Christmas morning to donors along with several photographs:

Hello VICDA Partners and Friends,
Thank you for embracing the appeal made for Christmas celebrations for the families at Lemolo. Thank you again for entrusting me and VICDA team with your finances.

You have remained very precious and dear to us and your Chrismas gifts have been overwhelming. You gave more than we expected for and due to your giving all the 700 families (4,700 persons) will joyously be celebrating their Christmas.  Apart from your kind and cash donations for the foods and clothing; we also received two special Christmas gifts from two of the donors which mean a lot to the Lemolo families. They donated cash for building of a pre-school (attached pics of ongoing pre-school construction) and piping of water for both Lemolo A and B. Some of you also decided to donate your cash towards Christmas gifts for the children homes in VICDA’s program; I am so much overwhelmed with your commitments and support towards VICDA work.

I started a journey and you took the risk of following me not being sure where I will lead you to. Thank you for remaining faithful towards your giving and you make things happen. As you celebrate your Christmas holidays please take good care of yourself and do not compromise your joy/happiness for anything.

Happy Holidays – Enjoy your Christmas and Happy New Year.
Please find the attached photos of your Christmas gifts.

Thank you.
Irene and VICDA Team.

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It’s amazing what can happen when people come together from all over the world with a common goal. Christmas wishes from sunny Australia, snowy USA and  nearby Nairobi  were all felt at Manjani Mingi. On behalf of VICDA, thank you to all who donated to make this the merriest of Christmases for these 700 families. And a special thank you to the kind donors who are piping water to the camp and constructing the preschool at Lemolo. These are gifts that will be appreciated for generations to come!

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The Woman Behind “Caring for the Children of Africa”

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Annie

Annie Copley of Adelaide, Australia first journeyed to Kenya as a GVN volunteer in 2006. Little did she know, the three months spent counseling HIV/AIDS patients in Nairobi’s slum areas would completely change the direction of her life. “This work has not only changed my life, it has become my life,” says Annie, ” I have a deep sense of gratitude today for the people of Kenya who, with their quiet strength and hope, teach me about real love, patience and tolerance.”

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Not long after her return to Australia Annie and her dear friend, Lauro Martire, hosted their first fundraising dinner at Lauro’s restaurant, East Terrace Continental. Held in November of 2007, that first dinner raised $11,000 – funds that were sent to VICDA at a time of great need, following the election violence of December 2007. With the money raised by Annie and Lauro’s dinner, VICDA was able to purchase mattresses, blankets, food and cooking supplies for recently displaced Kenyans in the Rift Valley.

Lauro on a visit to Kenya in 2011.
Lauro on a visit to Kenya in 2011.

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This successful dinner was the start of Caring for the Children of Africa, a registered non-profit run by Annie and directly benefited by several of VICDA’s projects. Annie credits much of the organization’s success  to the many donors and supporters who have assisted along the way but it was her collaboration with Lauro that started the wheel in motion. “Lauro has generously supported the work that I began in 2006 when he agreed to hold our first dinner in 2007. Like me he has fallen in love with the people of Kenya and I am sure he will return one day when his busy schedule allows.” Annie’s 2011 trip to Kenya was especially memorable as Lauro was able to come along and see first hand all of the good work the organization has been able to do.
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Since its inception, Annie and her donors have raised about $110,000. With these funds, Annie’s organization has helped tens of thousands of people in Kenya. They’ve funded mobile medical camps, major food drops, ongoing porridge programs in several IDP Camps, renovated classrooms, purchased desks and books and have supplied two orphanages (Shelter in Nairobi and Haven of Hope in Nakuru) with ongoing food and school supplies.
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Annie visits a family with AMKA.
Annie visits a family with AMKA.
Each dinner fundraiser is carefully thought out and planned by Annie and Lauro. She presents photos and stories of real Kenyans whom she’s met and discusses with her guests about the specific ways in which the funds will be allocated. “At our dinner last month, I presented one of the many recent stories where we were able to relocate a beautiful family, HIV patient Evelyn, with her 3 small children, from an extremely dire living situation in the Nairobi slums of Ngando.” Annie is full of emotion when discussing Evelyn. “They were living in a torn, leaking, muddy tent literally on the side of a railway track – so dangerous for the toddler who could have easily have fallen onto the tracks. We rented a one bedroom ‘shack’ for her near St Josephs, run by the AMKA project. It’s a clean, safe, and secure abode for her and her children.” Caring for the Children of Africa continues to support Evelyn and her children, along with other families Annie has grown to know and love over the years.
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A food drop for the 7,000 residents at Manjani Mingi IDP Camp.
A food drop for the 7,000 residents at Manjani Mingi IDP Camp.
The $13,000 raised at their most recent dinner held last month will go toward to construction of Lemolo Nursery School for the IDP children at Manjani Mingi Camp as well as continue a daily porridge program. “A lot of these kids in the camps still go hungry,” Annie explains, “the porridge program ensures that they at least get one nourishing meal a day.”
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Annie works with Irene, VICDA’s founder and executive director, to determine the greatest need and personally distributes the funds  and supplies on the ground – all the while keeping detailed notes to share with her donors. With her seven trips to Kenya Annie has been able to forge close relationships with many of the IDP residents and patients at AMKA, an HIV/AIDS counseling center where Annie first worked in 2006. Her obvious love for the people of Kenya is reflected in her ongoing dedication and commitment to the cause. “I know I’m going to die in Kenya someday with a big smile on my face,” says Annie, “because this is the work that makes my heart sing!”
Annie with Irene, donating desks for a classroom at Manjani Mingi IDP Camp.
Annie with Irene, donating desks for a classroom at Manjani Mingi IDP Camp.

Shalom Primary School

Donors and kids at Shalom Primary School in Rongai near Nakuru.
Donors and kids at Shalom Primary School in Rongai near Nakuru.

VICDA was very excited to partner with World Teacher Aid, a Canadian organization,  to construct Shalom Primary School in the Giwa IDP Resettlement in Rongai, Kenya. The children living at Giwa have had a very traumatic few years as they were violently displaced after the 2007 presidential election. In addition to living in small tents in overcrowded IDP Camps these children had virtually no access to education for about 4 years. The construction of Shalom Primary School was an important project for the Kenyans living in the area and serves as an enormous step forward as they begin to rebuild their lives in their new homes.

Currently 567 students attend Shalom Primary School. Shalom was the first primary school to be constructed in the area and includes classes 1 thru 8, an administration block and 3 toilet blocks. The construction costs approximately $110,00 USD and will be in use for generations to come.

Students at Shalom Primary School celebrate the opening of their school.
Students at Shalom Primary School celebrate the opening of their school.

Both VICDA and the residents at Giwa are grateful for World Teacher’s Aid and the work that they have done in the community. Last year donors from World Teacher’s Aid traveled to Kenya to meet the residents of Giwa and to search out new areas in need of schools and donations.