Sunday Spotlight: Sara Sakwa

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Children, Education, Health, Sponsorship, Stories, Women's Community

Today’s spotlight is on Sara Sakwa.

Sara Sakwa is a special member of our staff at Heritage. After her husband died several years ago, Sara found herself challenged. Her husband’s family made her life difficult, and providing for her children was hard when she was only able to find casual labor work. But all that began to change, she says, when she met Davis, the director, and he invited her to join the sewing group at Grace House. She kept going to the group more for the fellowship and support than the sewing. She found such comfort and hope in the women she met there. If it weren’t for this group, Sara is convinced that she would not be alive. They encouraged her to keep pressing forward, even in the face of difficulty. The group also helped bring her closer to God. Without God, she says her life would have been unbearable.

Not long after she joined our women’s group, she found a job at Heritage Academy as a cook, and she’s been with us since.

She said that since she joined the Heritage staff, her life has improved greatly. She feels at ease, and many of her problems have disappeared. She has a new home, which gives her a sense of security for the future.

Her five children all attend Heritage, and sponsorship means the challenge of providing for her children’s education has been alleviated. As she speaks about sponsorship, Sara gets emotional. She said that sponsorship means everything to her because it means her children will have more opportunity in life. She says she’d like to see her children work hard, be good, open doors for themselves, and have the courage to walk through those doors. She hopes for a brighter future for each of them.

Sara is so grateful for Village Project Africa and the opportunities the programs have provided for her and her children. She’s grateful for the support and love she’s received from Davis, Margaret, and so many others on staff at Heritage. But, most of all, she’s grateful to God for all He’s done in her life. She hopes God will continue to be with her as she walks into the next chapters of her life, whatever they may be.

Road Trip for Water

Written by lauren. Posted in Health, Stories

A group of guys from OuiLove, one of our partners, recently went on a road trip to raise awareness and, hopefully, raise funds to provide clean drinking water for the people of Makutano and other places in need around the world. They created a video, hoping to catch the eye of Coca-Cola and win $1 million dollars in donations to provide new wells in our village and others they support.

To catch the eye of Coca-Cola, the video has to go viral—the more people who see it, the more “viral” it is. Please watch the video, like the video, and share it with all your friends and family. Let’s see what a little can do—because we know little is much when God is in it!

An Update from Margaret

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Education, Health

Wow!  Things are moving forward around here faster than we can keep up! Here’s a quick update about two of our major projects:

The Clinic

Davis, Terry, and I recently took a trip to Rondo to visit the Sabatia Eye Hospital and meet with the director there.  It was a great meeting for us! The director provided us with great information that will be so helpful as we run the clinic in the expansion.  We all came away very encouraged. We head to Nairobi this week to get lab equipment!

They have started painting the clinic with some very bright and beautiful colors.  The reception room is painted, as is one of the doctor’s offices.  Some of the windows have also been painted.  They are already getting the land around the building leveled and ready
for planting!

 The New Well

The well (borehole) is nearing completion!  Oh my, it is exciting for sure.  We got home from Rondo just in time to see them begin the testing phase.  A new truck arrived to test the output and purity of the borehole. They pumped water for 24–30 hours; at first the water was cloudy, but then it became pure and beautiful.  What a gift to the children and the village!  We
should now have plenty of wonderful clean water!

 Love Changing Lives!

Margaret

Year End Update

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Education, Farming, Health, Village Project Africa

2012 has been an exciting year for Village Project Africa! We have continued to see God at work in the village and are so pleased to see programs continue to blossom and grow. We are so excited to see what He has in store for us in 2013!

Here are a few highlights of the exciting things that have happened and continue to happen in the village:

  1. Heritage Academy will add 6th grade curriculum in January 2013, and accept enrollment for a new preschool class, bringing our enrollment to approximately 600 students.  Our children are healthy and happy, and they are learning.  Each term we see the test scores improving.  Recently the teachers gave their testimonies to some visitors.  We were inspired as they told, one by one, how God had called and led them to Heritage Academy.  Our school is a safe, loving, Christian educational environment.
  2. 41 students graduated from Heritage College this month with a degree to teach early childhood education. We started Heritage College two years ago with this African proverb in mind: “Educate a girl and you educate a community.”  Of the 41 graduates, 11 are girls from our village. These girls now have hope for a brighter future not only because of their education, but also because of their association with our Godly teachers and staff.    
  3. We will break ground in the coming weeks for the expanded clinic. Recently, another parent died, the father of three of our dear students.  We see this much too often.  Now our community has another widow and more fatherless children.  At the funeral, we saw fear in their eyes because their future is so uncertain.  But our Village Project community will walk with them through these darkest days. The death of this father is another affirmation of the priority to expand the clinic and improve the health care available to our community.  Thank you, Church at the Crossing, for partnering with us.
  4. Grace Community Church is growing. We see attendance of over 30 adults plus children on Sunday mornings.  Pastor Joseph and Pastor Isaac will begin teaching the congregation from the books that we used to teach the pastors’ classes.  Pray for them as they spread the Word and disciple believers.
  5. The agricultural program is growing and prospering.  Two greenhouses and the surrounding land are planted with vegetables.   We have 4 cows and more on the way.  The chickens are producing eggs and meat.  AND the bees produced the first honey! This farming program is providing nutritious meat, eggs, dairy products, and vegetables to our school children and employees. It also provides employment in the community and a small income to the school as we sell extra products in the market.
  6. We are getting electricity!!   This project was initiated by the parents of our Heritage Academy students, and is a partnership between parents, local community, and VPA donors.  Parents each gave 100 shillings and one of the neighbors is allowing the power lines to go through her farm to help reduce the cost. But it was not enough.   VPA friends joined together to finish the project, and we will soon get electricity.  This will allow opportunities for evening meetings and classes, as well as expanded curriculum such as computer training.
  7. The new multi-purpose (cafeteria/auditorium/church) building is almost completed and is already being used for school and community meetings.  It is the only building in the area that can hold such large groups. Recently, we held a parent meeting with over 250 in attendance, who fit comfortably in this beautiful building. In addition, we are completing new classrooms and administrative offices to accommodate our growing enrollment.  Often children tell us what they like best about Heritage Academy is “the buildings.”  We smile at their answer, but they really love to have a good place
    to learn.
  8. Our child sponsorship program continues to grow! We now have over 150 children sponsored and hope to have even more sponsored by this time next year. The education, nutrition, and healthcare that sponsored children have received this year have been absolutely transformative for so many children. A new online system for sponsorship will be rolled out in 2013, so stay tuned. We hope that even more children will find sponsorship—we have close to 500 children waiting for a sponsor!

We are so thankful for each of our supporters and the way you have come along beside us in so many ways to continue the work God has laid out before us. We look forward to continued and new partnerships in 2013!

We hope each and every one of you has a blessed and happy new year!

Love Changing Lives!

Dr. Terry’s Story: Six Weeks of Care

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Education, Farming, Health, Village Project Africa, Women's Community

Dr. Terry Horner (known affectionately as Dr. Terry in the village) traveled to Makutano to provide care and medical knowledge to the people of the village. After six weeks, Dr. Terry was inspired by what he saw and the compassion, care, and charity he saw all around him in the village. 

I recently returned from an uplifting and inspiring six-week trip in Makutano, Kenya, where I worked with Village Project Africa. I wanted to go back for my second time, because I saw last year how much work needed to be done to improve medical, agricultural, and educational facilities. I feel it is my calling from God to help the village people, who have spiritually-inspired me and become my friends. We continued Village Project Africa’s mission to help current and future generations of this impoverished village break the chains of poverty. 

Last year, I stayed three weeks with the group and refreshed my childhood farming skills. Over the course of this year, Village Project Africa transformed the school garden into a larger garden with a greenhouse for tomatoes and cabbage. Village Project Africa now has self-sustaining produce that they eat and even sell. To complement the produce, a farm manager now cares for 200 chickens and three cows. 

The focus of this year’s trip was to expand a small medical clinic with one practitioner, who sees 500 students for free. I realized how difficult it can be to care for the children and families when I couldn’t access current technology in a comfortable environment like at home. Village Project Africa proposed a much larger clinic with laboratory services to help treat patients based on a diagnosis, rather than by symptoms. In addition, maternity services with pre- and postnatal care and deliveries will be initiated to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate.

This proposed clinic will serve women who currently deliver at home or have to walk several miles to reach another center. HIV and AIDS patients will also have access to
better treatment options at this facility. Once the plans are approved, we can start construction. We plan to return next year with a larger medical team from the U.S. to provide a free clinic. 

A few days before I arrived, a Kenyan medical student started volunteering at our clinic. His story caught my attention because he lost both of his parents at a young age and he was interested in becoming a neurosurgeon. He told me he struggled with school, but said he remembered his father’s advice that education was the key to success. He paid more attention to his studies and his hard work paid off when he became the only student in his secondary school’s history to receive perfect grades. In addition, he scored 37thon a test among 67,000 students in Western Kenya. Despite being admitted to the medical school at Kenyetta University, he could not pay for more than one semester. 

For the next six weeks, he amazed me at how much he knew about medicine with only one semester of medical school. His potential is great, and he wants to stay in Kenya to become the fourth neurosurgeon in his country. Village Project Africa promised him financial support during seven years of medical school. In exchange, he agreed to stay and practice in Kenya. 

Finally, the local school called the Heritage Academy has been booming. There are more than 500 students now and a new 6th grade will add 100 more children. The government signed off on plans to start building a dining hall/conference center. Among other benefits, it will give children a place to eat out of the dust and rain.

As a physician, I am always grateful for the chance to help someone physically, but this also gives me the opportunity to share my faith through service. I thank all of my patients, colleagues, and friends for their support. Being a part of Village Project Africa has changed my life by showing me the purest forms of compassion, care, and charity in Makutano.

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