SHARE’S MEDICAL DIRECTOR AGAIN VISITS KENYA
SHARE’s board member and medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Karasik conducted his annual visit, training and program review at facilities in Kenya during December. During the trip, thirty students were trained at ten different facilities in the techniques used in helping babies breath and helping mothers survive. This is the ninth year of such training, which over the years have saved many lives of infants and mothers, but it is the first year in which all of the trainers were SHARE staff. In addition, every week the SHARE mobile clinic, staffed with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other trained healthcare workers go out into one of four remote areas not served by medical facilities to provide basic medical care to the inhabitants. Unfortunately, the Van used to provide this vital service is now 15 years old and needs to be replaced. Due to import duties, a replacement will cost approximately $65,000.
The SHARE Africa Board is planning to make a plea to all our supporters to help raise the additional funds this year so that this important life-saving program may continue. Please watch for notices concerning a planned Spring event which shall focus on raising those funds.
As previously reported, a dental group from Connecticut, headed by Dr. Singh, visited Kenya in November. They raised their own funds to conduct a four day visit, during which they treated 100 children and 50 adults in the communities served by SHARE.
EXPANDING SERVICES TO COLLEGE AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOL STUDENTS
SHARE Africa has historically provided support to its sponsored orphans through high school, and more recently, during the first year of university for those orphans bright enough to obtain admission (after the first year, the government subsidizes the remaining years education). SHARE has recently begun providing financial support to those orphans who can pursue vocational education at a local college or a vocational school, where they learn to be auto mechanics, masons, plumbers, carpenters, etc. This expansion has become a key to avoiding continued poverty among these orphans by providing them with a sustainable way of making a living.
One of our Board Members, Brenda Reichelderfer, has been sponsoring an orphan since 2006 and began supporting him through college, before SHARE formally started the program. We think his story, although a bit long, is worth reading and deserves a spotlight, as it demonstrates just how much of a difference support of these orphans can make in their lives and even, in the case of this young man, the lives of others.
My SHARE Orphan – Clinton Ogweno – on the move….
My relationship with Clinton started way back in 2006. He was Orphan (File #44) for SHARE and a little vulnerable boy with a bright spirit. I have been in relationship with him from his primary school through his University education. We (he and I with the help of SHARE) found a way to get him in University even before there was a SHARE program for that and boy am I glad we did. I told him I wanted to write up a little something for the SHARE Newsletter about not just that he is in University but the things he’s told me along the way he is doing to give back. Here is just some of what he said:
It is with my most humble humility that I express my sincerest gratitude for being a recipient of SHARE support. Your financial and emotional generosity is always a blessing and has allowed me to be one step closer to my career ambitions. I am a motivated recipient of SHARE privileges and my desire to be associated with SHARE will remain for many years to come.
My life began with multiple misfortunes and traumatizing experiences at a tender age including the loss of my father, loss of a loving foster parent/guardian, an extremely vulnerable family background, lack of proper shelter and adequate daily bread for the family. My brother was severely disabled in a freak accident. I am the fourth born in a family of 6 and my disabled brother has an additional 6 children who are still in their early growth of development. As the only one finding a way to higher education through the help of my SHARE sponsor, a lot of hope and expectation from the family is bestowed upon me. I want to be in a position to help my siblings and disabled brother’s family. This chain of extremely hazardous conditions has been my push and pull factor to achieve my dreams and to break from the prison of poverty.
I am currently a Junior in Nairobi University studying Civil Engineering and despite all the academic pressures that entails my spirit of giving back to the society lives strong in me. I am engaged in mentoring young boys and girls in the society through motivational talks, academic coaching, and life coaching. I managed to help one of the students whom I was mentoring from a less privilege family studying in a poor rural school to improve in his final grades such that he then met the college admission requirements to do medicine or Engineering. I am looking forward to using my acquired mentor ship skills to mentor my fellow young brothers and sisters in SHARE.
Apart from that, I have also enjoyed engaging in community outreach programs like organizing charity activities such as visiting orphanages and children homes. One particular one is TRRE HOUSE, through a partnership with RED CROSS Kenya, where we offer donations and support in terms of food, clothing, cleaning, cooking and also give hope to the less fortunate. I am also part of Nairobi University Catholic students Mission Team, where we sacrifice our Christmas holiday to celebrate with those less fortunate. The aim of the mission team is to take gospel to marginalized areas where issues of faith are affected by low levels of living standards and non-favorable traditions. We rekindled hope to the desperate youth and families through awareness on economic and social opportunities which may improve their lives. We addressed the vices such as negative ethnicity, witchcraft, school dropout, early pregnancy and marriages, FGM(Female genital mutilation}, sexual harassment, gender based violence and Mental Health awareness.
In the spirit of giving back to society given the economical challenge of the recent high inflation levels in the cost of living which has rocked our nation (along with Climate change), I have helped start an initiative at the University called GO GREEN, though it’s still at its inception. I look forward to helping grow this initiative to provide better alternative solutions in cooperation with the local authorities and well-wishers to ensure food security in the community.
To bring change to the society I believe the best way is by being at the table, in the decision making on the agendas facing my community. I am blessed to be at Nairobi University where I can take various student leadership roles. Even though I come from a background with a high level of illiteracy, a lack of Engineers from my village or relatives to mentor me in the engineering field, step by step the world is opening up to me. I was recently elected to represent the University of Nairobi Faculty of Engineering as student leader. This group of leaders brings together students from across all departments: Civil and Construction, Electrical and Electronics, Geo spatial, Mechanical and Manufacturing & Environmental and Biosystems Engineering. As student leaders in charge of all the departments, we achieved the following: Enhancing academic growth of ESA members by sharing knowledge, career opportunities through Talks, Seminars, industrial visits and organizing International Engineering Conference where students get to showcase their innovations and projects.
I look forward to graduating in 2024 and continuing the journey to help make both my family’s life and my community better in new and different ways.
Thank you for your continued support! It is because of you SHARE is able to continue the great work in Kenya.