“The next goal is the installation of solar panels for self-sufficiency in electricity and water”, says Julia Okongo, one of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea who, since 1976, have been caring for the most vulnerable children,
orphans and mostly HIV infected. The country is Kenya and more specifically “Kadem”, in the southwest part of Nyanza Province, bordering on Lake Victoria and Tanzania. A semi-arid area difficult to cultivate due to the irregularity of rains; here poverty is still widespread and it is complicated to ensure social and economic redemption to the very young resident population.
The sisters began working in health care, offering primary health care, maternal and child support and care for tuberculosis patients. “But it was clear that without an educational and training project for families, we could not contribute to any change.”
And so it was that over time the “Father Gibellini” School came into being, to offer educational opportunities and accompaniment to the most fragile children, orphans of parents who died from co-infections of leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. “These parents were our patients before they died. They were the most vulnerable to poverty.”
“We currently serve 300 children in total need with ages ranging from 3 years old to 12 years old; we want to ensure a healthy environment where they can grow up safely and be able to build a foundation for a brighter future.” Discrimination and out-of-pocket tuition costs leave these children out of the public school system.
The desire of the sisters is to strengthen the autonomy of the structure in order to continue their mission by promoting educational and health programs. It is for this reason that Sister Julia turned to Harambee and, thanks to the fundraising campaign promoted, it was possible to start a concrete initiative aimed at ensuring greater sustainability: to create a commercial activity, raising poultry and selling poultry products; the revenue will be sufficient to support the costs of the School. In addition, the activity allows to employ several people (former students) who will be able to improve their own welfare and that of their families.
It’s nothing new that with small steps it’s possible to generate big transformations and the project of the Ivrea Sisters is a clear example of this. The great thing is that everyone can contribute with very little. Click here, donate now!