Helping Children in Crisis Quarterly Report
Fall 2013, Kay R. Alden, Chair
HCIC is a committee of volunteers that operates under the General Church Office of Outreach. Our committees was formed to create a standard of practice for distributing charitable funds and establish an avenue for financial support to children in situations of need. Our mission is as follows:
HCIC Mission Statement: “The General Church Helping Children in Crisis committee facilitates the care of children in crisis by creating an organization to connect those in need with the resources and people that can help.”
Our current mission is to support 67 children at the General Church Sacred Care orphanage in Etora Kenya. The orphanage is run by the Rev. Samson Abuga under the direction of an elected board that answers to the General Church Board in Kenya.
Sponsorship/Operating Funds $11,219
This is money we can use to provide food, clothing, tuition, medicine, rent, and childcare
Capital Funds $8,467
These are fund allocated toward purchasing land, building dormitories, an eating pavilion and other smaller items such as stoves, pots and pans, etc.
Samson reports that on the whole the children are doing well. They are two weeks into their third and final term of the year. The high school students have returned to their respective boarding schools and the elementary school children are attending the Good New Preparatory School at the church. It is rainy season now, which means it is a time of the year they can expect to have a lot of malaria cases. The week before last there were 11 cases and last week there were 9. Samson takes the children to the Ogembo hospital for treatment when they are sick. There is a doctor there who knows the children well and treats them. He comes out to the orphanage twice a month to check on the health of the children. Samson says that they have a very good relationship with the hospital staff. He has a reputation for taking good care of the children and they pass that information onto the government.
The children are living in very cramped quarters in rented rooms near the church until we acquire the money to purchase the land ($20,000 – we have about $9,000 now) and build the dormitories and eating pavilion (estimated $130,000). The good news is that at least now the children have their mattresses on frames up off the mud floors and we hope to avoid the many cases of pneumonia they suffered during the last rainy season. The dorms that we plan to build will have real floors and better protection from the elements.
During the last few months the HCIC committee has been working with the GCSC administration in Kenya to establish an exit strategy for the children who are “aging out” of the orphanage. The older children are worried about what is going to happen to them in the future. Kenya law does not permit children over the age of 18 to be in an orphanage. Some of the children who are still in high school are over 18 since for many years they did not have access to education. These older children have been staying with members of the congregation when they come back from their boarding schools. The Kenya school system has three 3 month terms with a month vacation between each term. The school year starts in January.
Samson says that a high school education does not prepare anyone for a vocation that can provide financial independence. Those with just a high school education can only do menial labor jobs like cutting sugar cane, and these jobs are actually difficult to find since so many Kenyans need them. The children really need to attend at least two years of vocational school. Even jobs that we would consider not needing training like a manicurist or store clerk require vocational training in Kenya.
Both the Kenyan and HCIC boards feel strongly that fostering a sense of HOPE in the children is key to successful and responsible program. We want our children to have the opportunity to be useful members of their community at large and to the growing New Church community at the Etora New Church. With that in mind we propose the following policy:
1. Children will be supported through two years of vocational training beyond high school if they have demonstrated responsible behavior and academic ability. They must choose training that can be provided with the standard $800/year sponsorship. (It would be wonderful if in the future we could have the financial resources to go beyond this minimal support, but for now this is all we can responsibly offer.)
2. After age 18 children will live with congregation members with support from the community.
3. Funding for these two years will be considered a loan and offered only as long as the student is in good standing. Children will apply and interview with the GCSC board during their final year of high school and propose the vocational training they desire. They will be mentored on filling in applications and interview skills
4. Most of the loan will be forgiven (The exact amount is still to be determined) at the end of the program, but the student will be expected to pay back at least some portion of the loan to the orphanage. This piece is not intended to be a burden, but rather simulate Kenyan cultural practices where family members all contribute to the financial needs of the family.
The HCIC board understands that some sponsors may not want to sponsor children beyond high school, but we are hopeful that we can provide this care. Creating this policy means, though that our number of orphans we are supporting has now jumped to 67 rather than 65 since two of our children had already moved in with congregation members and two more entered. There will be a freeze on accepting more children until we achieve the 65 child cap again.
Sponsorship dollars cover the cost of food, clothing, education, housing, childcare and medicine. We currently have 34 children fully sponsored and 8 children partially sponsored. Our goal was to get every child fully sponsored by the end of the year. Due to generous donations to the operating funds we almost have enough to covered these costs until the end of the ear but it doesn’t look like we will have sponsorships for all the children by then.
During the past nine months we have used capital fund donations to purchase mattresses, bedding, mosquito nets and bed frames for the children. These purchases have allowed us to address some of the immediate physical needs of the children. Our next step is to create a long term solution to their care by purchasing the land immediately adjacent to the church and building dormitories and an eating pavilion. The people who own the land next to the church are willing to sell it. Samson has held several sessions of negotiations with the family and finalized a price of $20,000. The HCIC board approved purchasing the land for this amount, now we need to get it! We currently have $8467.00.
What we have accomplished since the last quarterly report
1) 13 more children have been either fully or partially sponsored
2) We added two new board members: Taryn Frazier as Public Relations Officer and Elise Genzlinger as Sponsorship Head. We are extremely lucky and grateful to have the help of these ladies.
3) Grant Odhner visited Etora while teaching in the theological school there and returned with good reports.
4) Grant updated pictures of the children. Gretchen Keith is currently editing them.
5) We received sponsorships from Australia.
6) Stewart Farmer conducted video interviews of board members to use for fund raising efforts.
7) There were two successful fund raisers in June in BA.
8) Wade Buick and Taryn Frazier gave a presentation at Cairnwood Village.
9) We finalized an exit strategy.
10)Glenview offered to donate their September bike-a-thon donations to HCIC
11)KNCS is considering some kind of support.
12)Our policies and procedures seem to be working well.
Where we will be putting our efforts in the coming months
1) Continue to get sponsors for the children.
2) Seeks donations for capital funds.
3) Continue to get word out about our organization and the role it plays in the General Church. Get young people involved.
4) Support Samson’s efforts to purchase land adjacent to the Etora church.
5) Continue to mentor Kenyan board and staff on responsible and transparent fiscal practices.
6) Create a short video to be circulated on the internet.
7) Update pictures of the children and finalize information on them.
8) Create a relationship with the ANC secondary schools and Bryn Athyn College.
9) Create a logo.
10)Move our communications to Constant Contact.
11)Offer an internship through BAC.
12)HCIC Soup Bowl fundraiser in November.
13)A visit to Mitchelville, MD is scheduled for January.
Again, thank you to all who have contributed to our efforts. Please feel free to contact any of the executive committee members if you have any questions or suggestions.
Kay R. Alden
HCIC Executive Committee
David Lindrooth – General Church LiaisonKay Alden – Chair
Gwynne Haladay – Finance Officer
Brittany Price – Communication, Research, Sponsorship
Taryn Frazier – Public Relations
Elise Genzlinger – Sponsorship Director
Wade Buick – Oversight Officer, Ambassador Program
Adam Cole – Field Consultant
Website – helpingchildrenincrisis.com
Facebook Group – The General Church Helping Children in Crisis
Email address – email@example.com
(Previous to Fall 2013 reports are available upon request. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)