MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
On behalf of the SHARE Africa Board of Directors and all the people who depend on us, I extend my sincere gratitude to all our donors and supporters for your transformative generosity and encouragement. This past year has been extremely difficult and we know without the invaluable support of the orphan sponsors and donors who rose high to help us, we would have faced choices of eliminating and reducing aid when it is needed the most by the most vulnerable ones among us. In this time of Thanksgiving, our hearts are filled with gratitude and I am pleased to provide you with the yearend status of all our programs.
As you will see the pandemic is still with us, and the light at the end of the tunnel is elusive in the remote areas where we work. With the challenges ahead of us in 2021, we hope we can count on your continued support. We appeal to your Holiday giving spirit to enable us all, as Dr. Bobby Macguffie used to say “to make the world a little better”.
In these difficult times, the SHARE Africa Board and our staff in Kenya have been working to keep our sponsored orphans and their guardians safe and fed. As many of you know, the school closed in early 2020 and SHARE Africa sent the children to foster or guardian homes in their villages with food, masks and hand sanitizers. Since then, our staff has periodically distributed additional supplies, as well as school books for the children to study at home. Recently, children in Grade 5, 7, and High School Seniors were called back to school so they can be prepared for the Kenya National Examinations which determine their next educational opportunities. The Kenya government deemed it wise and safe to get them back in school and our staff has visited the schools to ensure that these children are studying in a socially distanced manner with appropriate personal protective equipment.
For those of you who have continued to stay in touch with your sponsored children and even sent extra funds, we are very grateful. Please continue to do so and as we receive responses from the children, we are sending them to the sponsors.
We anticipate that all of the children will be returning to school in January 2021 to resume their studies. As discussed before, There have been no remote learning available to them, and even if we distributed tablets to them (which the Board discussed) there is no readily available or reliable source of electricity for charging devices.
SENDING HOLIDAY GIFTS TO SPONSORED CHILDREN
As the Holidays approach, we often begin to receive inquiries from many of our sponsors as to how they can send gifts to their children. A number of sponsors send gifts to their children at this time of year or at the time of their child’s birthday. While this is not at all expected of sponsors, gifts are always warmly received by the children. Additionally, a small monetary gift often goes a long way in Kenya, where prices of goods are much lower than in the U.S.
Sponsors sometimes want to send gift packages to their children, however our experience has been that the Kenyan postal system is not always reliable and gifts often go missing and do not make it to the children. For this reason, we recommend that sponsors make a small monetary donation ($25-$50) on our website here: Donate Online. At the box ‘Send a gift of money to your sponsored child’ simply put in your child’s name, how much you would like to give and a message for your child. Enter the amount of your donation and then pay with credit or debit card. Alternatively, you can also send a check to:
P.O. Box 263
Nyack, NY 10960, U.S.A
Once SHARE Africa receives your donation, we will then wire the money to our social worker in Kenya. The social worker will take the child shopping, since most of them have never been to a store! The social worker will ensure they spend the money carefully on any necessities, as well as something they would like (toy, books, soccer ball etc.). You will also receive a ‘thank you’ letter from your child detailing how they spent the gift money that you sent them. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at sos@SHAREafrica.org.
SHARE Africa Orphan Sponsorship (SOS) is a key component of what we are all about. For an annual donation of $600 from one of SHARE Africa’s generous sponsors, the SOS program is able to cover the cost of healthcare (medical, dental, vision), tuition, vocational schooling, and other basic necessities for an orphan in need. Due to various issues, including both health and financial impacts of COVID-19, this year several of our sponsors have not been able to continue their sponsorships. Rather than dropping the sponsored children who rely upon SHARE Africa for so much, the Board has elected to cover the sponsorship costs for those children. However, that places an additional strain on SHARE Africa’s already challenged resources. Anyone who can spare $600 dollars for the year, in order to give a child a chance at a better life, please visit www.SHAREafrica.org.
If you have any doubt as to how meaningful this can be for both a child and yourself, please read this note from George Otieno.
CLEAN WATER PROGRAM
The Clean water program has two components: one to provide filtration systems to individual homes in remote villages, especially where our orphans are housed during the pandemic and to drill wells for easier access to fresh water where there is no water other than rain available. We are extremely pleased to report that in last few months we installed water purification systems in 58 house holds where our orphans are being housed. This has enabled access to clean drinking water, without having to walk miles to reach the limited sources of clean water available to them.
Our Board members, Brenda Reichelderfer and Pat Esgate travelled to Kenya this year to assure that the filtration systems are procured, distributed and households are trained in proper usage. While there, they also made progress in building essential partnerships for the well drilling project. Together with our local staff we are in the midst of finalizing partnership with the Bondo Rotary Club ( a local Kenyan Rotary club) . Specifically, the Bondo Rotary Charter will be overseeing and supervising water project at Double Joy Children’s’ Orphanage, that SHARE Africa helped start. Bondo Rotary is currently supervising two water projects in Bondo Sub County, so we are fortunate to have an experienced partner. In light of local Rotarian encouragements, both here in USA and in Kenya, we are now working on a Rotary “Global Grant” to double the current funding to support the remaining cost for drilling a well at the Double Joy Orphanage.
We are pleased that finally the basic need of clean drinkable water will be made possible due to SHARE Africa and will keep you posted of our progress.
As we previously advised, SHARE Africa had to cancel its Annual Dr. Bobby MacGuffie Memorial Dinner and Golf outing which is our largest fundraising activity and accounts for a significant portion of the annual budget. These monies both supplement our orphan sponsorships and provide funding for the other initiatives that add to the health and safety of the children, their guardian families. These include a number of much needed Primary Care Outreach healthcare program, and the communities at large. This include services provided by visiting U.S. physicians dentists, and other allied healthcare workers. Yet, all of this has been made increasingly difficult during the current pandemic. Nonetheless, our neonatal care training is on target as demand for these services has increased dramatically. The lockdown makes essential healthcare almost non accessible. Dr. Jeff Karasik, our Medical Director is scheduled to be in Kenya in December and will be tending to the needy and bringing much needed resources there.
While the response to our fundraising efforts has been gratifying, now that the year end is approaching and the students will hopefully be returning to school, we expect additional expenses. Anything, that you can do to support our programs will not only be appreciated, it will go towards significantly improving the lives of those who have literally nothing.
THANK YOU, and wishing you and all your loved ones a safe Holiday Season,
Daout Celestin Pat Esgate Jeff Karasik
Lisa Billotti Koury Dan Flannery Brenda Reichelderfer
Steve Silverberg Chuck Snyder Kate Torrey Jerry Warshaw