Kenyan Partners Essential to Success of Umoja Partnership
Our Kenyan Partners: Alumni, Guardians, LINK teachers
The Umoja Partnership depends on our network of supporters in Kenya to be the hands and feet of the project. Learn more here about the groups and individuals who are hard at work to help the children of Chulaimbo reach their potential!
The partnership is blessed to have had dozens of students graduate from secondary school, many of whom are now giving back to the project with monetary support for scholarships and as mentors of current Umoja students. As our group of alumni grows, they have continued to expand the amount of support they send back to the project, selflessly returning the hope and help that they themselves received.
Meet an alum - Barack Akelo
Those who hear the name Barak may think of other famous people, but our Barack has the honor of being what they say in Kenya “first born.”
Barack was the very first secondary school student to finish school under the support of the Umoja Project. He currently teaches at St. Mary’s Gorrety Secondary School.
Barack has stayed involved with the project coming back to talk with visitors to the project whenever possible. He was one of the main alumni that worked on developing the curriculum that we use in the Boys Empowerment Program, where he serves as a facilitator and mentor. Most recently during the social distancing he has been staying busy writing proposal for the Umoja Project to submit to Kenyan companies to help us fund the BET UP program and keep it going.
Countless children in our service area have been orphaned by one or both parents. These kids are often single heads of household and continue to live in the small hut where their parents resided. They are unable to sustain their subsistence, as little income is available to secure food, clothing, and other basic needs. The ability to obtain an education single-handedly is impossible. The Umoja Partnership steps in to be “mother and father” to our students, but it would be impossible for our programming to meet all their emotional and physical needs. The remaining space is filled by our wonderful guardians.
These men and women (often advanced in age) operate as caretakers for students, providing love, care and physical resources to young children who would otherwise be single heads of household and usually continue to live in the small hut where their parents resided, without adult supervision.
The Guardians contribute monthly to a fund that helps sustain the Umoja Partnership monetarily. They contribute an immeasurable amount of support to the individual children they take in and their community at large.
Meet an guardian - The Edwina Group
Edwina is the chair of the secondary guardian group. She has seen the power of the project. She has a grandson, Stephen, in high school and another, Bryan, a fourth year education major at Chuka University.
Edwina is the chair of the secondary school guardian group . Each one of our 19 primary schools has a guardian group, and one large group is formed of all the secondary (high school) guardians. Primary school guardian groups provide the additional help necessary to support the school lunch program. Umoja supplies the grain and the guardians provide the cook, the firewood, and the cookware. Secondary school guardians have begun a table banking (micro finance) group where they all put some money in each month.
Erokamano! Asante Sana Edwina and all the guardians who support the Umoja Project! Thank you very much!
Link teachers are the liaisons and advocates for the project in each school district. They are the connectors of household guardian and the individual primary school; the project and school administrators; students and the project; enabling frequent and accurate exchange of information among all parties. Link teachers are close by students day-in and day-out at each school, positioning them to provide referrals for support to the project and alerting our staff in Kenya to student needs.
LINK teachers are essential to the project’s success, giving their time, effort and heart to our students out of compassion; LINK teachers are not compensated for their work with Umoja Partnership. Their dedication is irreplaceable for Umoja.
Meet a LINK Teacher - Alice Osango
Mrs. Alice Osango has been the Link Teacher at Kuoyo Primary School since the inception of the Umoja Project. She also serves as a facilitator to the Girls Empowerment Program and a member of the Umoja Advisory Board in Kenya. She spent 40 years teaching. She lost her husband in 1993, but family is her priority: she has five children, four grandchildren, and two adopted orphaned children.
One can always count on Alice to show up to events, food distributions, and even for the individual child when she sees the need. An example recently was one of our students who qualified for direct admit in 2019. He came to an event in a t-shirt and she asked him was that they best shirt he had. He nodded, “besides my school uniform.” She went with him to the market after the meeting and purchased him a new shirt.
Alice says, “Umoja plucked children from the bush, gave them lunch, education, and hope. If Umoja does not continue they will go back to the bush.” This refers to the way children because of their hunger would go looking for food like guava in the bush instead of attending school.
Retirement from teaching thankfully does not mean she will leave the project, she assures us that she will continue to serve as a board member and a GET UP facilitator because Umoja is in her heart.