Jul 9, 2015

Help Kopus

If I could fly to Nakuru, Kenya now to take pictures and videos and do write-ups of all the children who need sponsors there, I would. If I could do a video interview with them so that you could see what they're like, I would. (There's always Skype, but the wifi at my Aceh center can hardly load Facebook, let alone a video chat.)

But I'm not in Kenya; when I applied to International Humanity Foundation, they told me that the Aceh center needed volunteers, so I came here. But the Kenya center houses 75 children from the impoverished region of East Pokot, and gives them a home, food, and access to education. Because the region is very poor and the living conditions are harsh, the center also tries to bring relief to the community whenever possible. (It has a farm!!!! The kids are apparently really enthusiastic about helping to upkeep it.) Julie from the Kenya center tells me that they have only been able to provide two meals a day, and tea for breakfast. Ten kids are malnourished. I will elaborate on the breakdown of the sponsorship fee later.

Part of my work at International Humanity Foundation involves looking for sponsors for children who need it. I'm here to appeal for sponsorship for a boy called Kopus from the Kenya center.

Here's a writeup about Kopus that Julie sent me:

Kopus was living with his mother before he came to IHF, but she was too poor to care for him. He has three brothers who still live with his mother in the remote area of Riongo. Kopus is in Class One at Primary School. His favorite subjects are Mathematics and Kiswahili. Kopus loves to sing traditional songs from Pokot and he enjoys playing football.

Here, at IHF Kenya, we look after over 75 children such as Kopus by offering them a safe home, food and education. All of our children come from the marginalised tribes of East Pokot in Kenya who face some of the toughest living conditions due to drought and land rights conflict. IHF aims to support the tribes by not only looking after those children whose parents may have died or who due to poverty cannot support them, but by educating those children we are preparing the leaders of the future. Leaders we hope with pass on their knowledge and skills to their communities but also defend their rights, traditions and values.

I am writing to you to appeal to you to support Kopus. He can be supported by you in two ways either by paying for his basic needs (our Orphan program) at $37 each month, or by assisting him with medical care (Medical Program) at $15 each month. You can find out more about our different child sponsorship programmes at www.ihfonline.org and also sign up to sponsor Kopus.

If you choose to sponsor a child it is not just a transaction…you will be making a real difference to that child’s life. Each month your sponsored child will write to you and tell you what is happening in their lives. Many of our sponsors write back to their child and we make sure the child can read and understand the letter.  Some of our long term child sponsors have built a long-term pen-relationship with their child and have become firm friends. Our children are loving, respectful and very grateful for the support of their sponsors and this comes through in their letters.

I hope therefore you will be able to help us by supporting Kopus or indeed any of our children at IHF Kenya. Details of children who need support are on our website if you would like to consider another or several children. If you have any questions about child sponsorship at IHF Kenya I would be most happy to answer them.

If you'd like to read more about where the money goes:

We are trying hard to work to a model of sustainability by developing our Peace Farm but with 33 children in High School and a likely another 10 joining next year (only two will graduate) we are facing a sever gap between our income and expenditure.

It costs us around $28 a month just for food (which is less than $1 a day if you think about it), add to that commodities such as hygiene products and clothes at around $10 a month the Orphan sponsorship at $37 doesn’t quite cover the cost.   For the last year we have only been able to provide two meals a day and tea for breakfast. Four kids are officially underweight (according to the Kenyan Red Cross child BMI/age index)  and ten kids are malnourished.  We are seeking donations to sponsor breakfast but these will be sporadic at best.

For education, a high school student costs for fees an average of $300 per year plus annual requirements (school uniform and books) $100, plus transport and lunch money $108 – totalling $508 per year or $42 per child.  I have also not included one off costs like exam fees, admin fees, tuition fees and other random fees that  schools in Kenya require. You will again see that the TEP sponsorship of $10 per month nowhere near covers this.

Finally medicines – our medical sponsorship of $15 per month does tend to cover our medical fees however we do have special cases like Kamama that is blind and schizophrenic and who should be getting weekly counselling at $8 per week  and also Chepuser who needs an eye operation in the near future which will cost $843…

I don't know what the Kenya center is like, but I can tell you about the difference that sponsorship makes here at our Aceh center. A young child here recently lost his father due to an unexpected heart attack. His mum earns a very small income selling food or something. The child's older brother has a burger stand that doesn't bring in much income either, but he also just fell ill with a serious disease. The co-director at my center just managed to secure a sponsorship for this child. For just US$10 a month, the sponsor will pay for his school fees. They were worried that without this sponsorship, the child might have to quit school to help with the burger stand. At our Aceh center, the sponsorship is generally only used for the child's public school fees.

You can read more about the Kenya center through the volunteers' blog posts here

If you would like to sponsor Kopus, please please please let me know, and I'll get you in touch with Julie. If the cost of sponsoring a child is too high for you but you would still like to contribute in way you can, it only costs US$10 a month to sponsor a child's education, and the class sponsorship is $30 a month. You can also donate to the Kenya farm and the Famine Feed that they conduct to feed the surrounding community 2-3 times a year. (The last time I tried donating through the website I had problems with it though, so if you're having trouble with it too just let me know and I'll contact Julie to see if there's any other option.)

If you do decide to sponsor a child, please remember that it's a commitment. It doesn't just stop at 3 or 4 months - in the 5th, 6th, 9th and 14th month, Kopus will still need money for food and school. It's just a little over US$1 a day - think of it as helping to sustain a life halfway around the world. It forms a unique connection, more than a transaction; you're saying "I care about your day-to-day, and I'll see you through it however I can."

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