When Helping Children in Crisis (HCIC) was first formed in 2012 in response to a needy situation in Kenya, the committee knew that there would be challenges in maintaining a working relationship between the General Church Sacred Care mission (GCSC) and HCIC on account of the cultural differences and expectations between Kenya and the western world. The committee put considerable effort into creating rules and procedures that followed best practices in the field. The result is a 22 page document that can be found on our Policies and Procedures page.
This summer HCIC committee member, Sarah Odhner, traveled to Kenya and spent two weeks with the children and their caregivers. Her focus was to evaluate the Kenyan level of compliance to our standards. The children are doing well! They are healthy and happy. Sarah enjoyed spending time interviewing and playing with them, reading stories and singing songs. Gifts and letters were given to each child and the children had the opportunity to write letters back to their sponsors. These letters will be mailed to individual sponsors shortly.
The elementary school run by Rev. Samson Abuga that the younger children attend has received numerous academic awards from the regional government. One of the prizes for this success was a propane stove that the GCSC can use for cooking food. The Odhners added another stove and tank as a gift so that the cooks now should be freed from cooking over smoky wood fires in a small enclosed cookhouse. The facilities continue to be developed. The classrooms have doors and window frames; a brick security wall with gates has been erected. Electric lighting has been installed inside and outside the dormitories, kitchen, bathroom, and classrooms. The lights are currently powered by a gas generator. Our hope is that in the future we can secure funding to bring electricity to the property and in time running water as well.
Sarah identified several areas that need to be addressed in order to bring the GCSC into complete compliance with HCIC’s established best practices. This mostly has to do with adjusting operations to fit within an established budget, and providing more detailed and transparent documentation. Further progression on the building project will wait until GCSC has met these standards and demonstrated the ability to create and follow a budget for 2017. The GCSC board and staff are eager to work with us in this endeavor and indeed have already been working diligently with our committee. The kind of documentation and bookkeeping we require is new to them. We look forward to more personal communication and follow up visits to assure donor expectations are being met. We continue to operate the sponsorship program, receive general donations and fundraise. This fall/winter we hope to host another popular “Soup Bowl” in Bryn Athyn and we are raffling an exquisite crèche set that was made by four talented artists. Tickets for this crèche set will be available for purchase soon on our web page. If you aren’t already, please consider supporting the care of these children through donation dollars, volunteer hours and/or prayer.
Kay R. Alden, HCIC Chair