Over 250 children are currently being sponsored by generous donations from friends of SHARE, with countless others in need of sponsors and our help. In addition to the Share Orphan Sponsorship Program or SOS, SHARE is helping the impoverished communities of Homa Bay County, Kenya through several other initiatives. These programs assist the community as a whole by providing healthcare and disease prevention, as well as social services and education to make a positive difference in the lives of all the people in the area.
Map of SHARE Projects in western Kenya, in the vicinity of Lake Victoria. SHARE focuses its work in this region which has the highest concentration of AIDS.
SHARE’s health care initiatives include services by visiting U.S. physicians and other allied healthcare workers in Nyanza province, where there is only 1 local doctor for every 100,000 people. Other healthcare initiatives include health and nutritional education and provision of medical and psychosocial training.
SHARE has started a number of projects to help prevent specific diseases in western Kenya. These projects include control of the tsetse fly to prevent sleeping sickness, and affordable mosquito repellent and mosquito nets for malaria prevention. We have also directed some of our efforts toward fund-raising to build a bridge to replace a causeway which has caused a severe infestation of bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a serious water-borne parasitic disease affecting over 70% of children in the Lake Area in Kenya.
In 2004, SHARE donated a commercial-size solar oven to the Lake Victoria region’s widows as a means of providing economic empowerment to them. We started a program of solar cooking and water pasteurization as an incentive to learning proper methods and to discontinue the unhealthy practice of cooking all day in the tiny huts where they live. This gives the women the freedom to pursue other money-making ventures, and aids in improving the health and financial management of their communities. As women are freed from the drudgery of the past, they can better their standard of living and join with the men in making the political decisions that influence their lives.
SHARE’s Children’s Dental Initiative is providing basic dental care to the children of the region of western Kenya. Dr. Dorit Hermann of Rockland Pediatric Dental and Orthodontics, who is an expert in the field and has worked in developing countries in Central and South America, along with Dr. Jeffrey Karasik, SHARE Medical Director, travel to Kenya regularly for this important continuing initiative.
In 2016, thanks to the Macauley Foundation, we launched a brand new and much needed Vision care program. A team of two vision care providers, led by Dr. Vyas from Toronto, Canada, spent 8 days in Kenya and examined more than 400 orphans and community members. Almost all the community residents examined received reading glasses (thanks to a donation of 600 pairs of glasses we carried there). For the children who received prescriptions for corrective glasses, Dr. Vyas was able to ﬁll the prescriptions in Canada and each child received his or her own glasses, in time for the new school term.
Unfortunately, Dr. Vyas also diagnosed several potential glaucoma cases, including a few of our orphans. A diagnosis of glaucoma was conﬁrmed for two of our orphan girls ( sisters) and we have arranged for them to receive the necessary medications. Without the SHARE Vision Care program, these two children would have faced a future of certain blindness, a horriﬁc future for two orphaned girls.
Judging by the immense success of this First SHARE Vision Care Program, and the long lines of community members who were not able to get the examinations, we plan to continue this program with Dr. Vyas retuning to Kenya in December 2017.
In Kenya, where 1 out of every 20 babies die before the age of 1 year, the few minutes after birth are the most vulnerable. Helping Babies Survive is a program developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics. SHARE brought Helping Babies Breathe to Western Kenya in 2015.
Helping Babies Survive provides training for home birth attendants in neonatal resuscitation in resource-limited settings because assessment at birth and simple newborn care are things that every baby deserves. Newborns who struggle to breathe are thus given a much better start and an improved chance of survival. SHARE provides teaching and learning materials, resuscitation equipment, bag-valve-mask breathing devices, and bulb suction trainers so the program can be practiced and sustained in healthcare facilities throughout the region. HBB neonatal resuscitation techniques have been shown to reduce neonatal mortality by up to 47% and fresh stillbirths by 24%.
Helping Babies Survive Essential Care for Every Baby teaches health care providers essential health care practices to keep all babies healthy from the time of birth to discharge from the facility, focusing on routine stabilization, medical care, and successful initiation of breastfeeding.
For more information on Helping Babies Breathe, please click on the link.
Our deep gratitude to Nicola Musso Foundation for funding this project.
The Psychosocial Training program began in 2012, when Dr. Sharami Kerr and Eileen Schmidt, of United Hospice of Rockland and Orange Regional Medical Center, accompanied by Dr. Jeffrey Karasik, Pediatrician from Clarkstown Pediatric Associates and SHARE Medical Director, traveled to Mbita for a 5 day training.
They have since returned to Kenya to provide advanced training in grief and trauma support to the original 50 trainees and new training to an additional 25 professionals. SHARE continues to expand our sustainable healthcare initiatives into the cutting edge field of mental and behavioral health for the benefit of our orphans and the children of Kenya.
Classroom with some of the Grief Counseling Training participants.
SHARE social worker Lucy (center), Sharami (L) and Eileen ( R).
One of our main objectives in SHARE is to help the rapidly increasing numbers of women widowed by AIDS, as well as other groups of women who have organized themselves to take care of the orphaned children.
We help their agricultural projects by providing bulls, ploughs, fencing and planting material, and seeds and trees for reforestation. SHARE also creates sustainable opportunities for women through micro-economic projects based on solar ovens, tea farms and sewing machines.
Double Joy Farm, located in western Kenya, is an orphanage that provides school six days a week, complete housing, food, and facilities to over 100 children ages three to 16, orphaned by AIDS. The orphanage was started by its current Director, Mrs. Mary Hinde in 1994.
Throughout Double Joy Farm’s early days, SHARE was highly instrumental in supporting it through various donations and projects. SHARE support included donation of a clinic, a growing library, and food supplies for the orphanage. SHARE donations were also used in constructing a multi-purpose building (“The Hall”) which provides classrooms and a meeting room. With SHARE’s help, pit latrines were dug to help prevent diseases such as cholera. Further help resulted in the construction of a protective fence around the facility, and the purchase of donkeys for use at the orphanage.
The facilities have instruction in woodworking, crafts, sewing, and bicycle repair.
The children are given a plot of land with instruction in the care of animals and proper farming methods. Those who do well in school can go on to higher education.
The Children’s Bureau in Kenya considers Double Joy as one of the finest orphanages in Kenya; and while they can’t take all of the AIDS orphans in Kenya, the orphanage can be used as an example of what can be done to help all of these unfortunate children. The AIDS epidemic continues to escalate and the latest estimates from Kenya reveal that up to half the adult population between fifteen and fifty-five years of age are HIV-positive and AIDS deaths continue to increase. As the adult population decreases, food production is drastically reduced, poverty increases, and the welfare of children becomes ever more pathetic.
Read more about Double Joy Farm on its website.
SHARE delivered a gift to Double Joy: professional soccer balls donated by the New York Red Bulls through SHARE.
Double Joy Director Mrs. Mary Hinde and SHARE President Dr. Martha MacGuffie during a visit to Double Joy.
In 2006, SHARE completed the construction of a $35,000 dispensary in the vicinity of Lake Victoria. That facility serves as a clinic to approximately 150,000 people who live in one of the highest AIDS affected communities in western Kenya.
SHARE also financed the construction of a new operating theater at the district hospital in Sindo. Other construction projects have included clean water systems for hospitals and materials for pit latrines for schools.
As always, for these projects, we require a contribution of labor, money, or both, from the communities involved.
SHARE dispensary being constructed in Agynea.