MAUA AIDS ORPHANS PROGRAMME
Director Stanley Gitari
This programme is in the north of Meru District in the Nyambene Hills with stunning ‘moonscape’ views. It is an area where the drug, miraa, is grown, but where most people live with deep poverty and deprivation.
There are many AIDS widows (most of whom are themselves living with HIV) and about 1,600 orphans living in the area. As a result there are also many child-headed households. The project has a comprehensive programme of care which seems to address all facets of the needs of these children, supporting them and enabling self-sufficiency and mutual support through groups which are led by the young people themselves with guidance from excellent community workers.
Food, such as maize and beans, is provided to the families monthly, the children are educated at local schools and nurseries, and if they do well, at secondary schools and further. Those who are not academic are counselled and given the opportunity to do a vocational course and then equipped to start a small business – again with support.
This huge programme of holistic care is supported by many donors and some organisations. Karibuni’s support is a small percentage – but as we all know, every little helps, and in Kenya a little goes a very long way.
The 2014 work party visited this project and was taken to the Athiru Gaiti nursery and primary school where some of the many AIDS orphans in this area are given free education. Most of the teachers are themselves graduates of this project, and some of them told their personal stories of being orphaned and supported to their graduation.
The work party members came home and raised the balance of the money needed to provide the school with a borehole – a life saver and income generator, in this arid area.
MERU NORTH DISABILITY COMMUNITY CENTRE
Director Melchizedek Ouma
Karibuni sends grants three times a year to the Disability Community Centre at Maua where families are empowered to care for their disabled children and helped to access education for them. Disabled adults and young people get skills training to enable them to become self-supporting and to support their families. Health care including drugs, physiotherapy and surgery are provided to help people with disabilities to live as full a life as possible and to make the best contribution to the life of their community. This leads to them being valued by their neighbours and not shunned and hidden away as had been happening.
Our emphasis is on the children in the programme and we have been involved in completing a classroom and re-furbishing others for children with special needs. It is exciting to see children in school and making progress both socially and educationally.
Karibuni’s contribution is small compared to those from other bigger agencies, but Melchizedek Ouma, the Director of the programme, tells us that they are very grateful as they can rely on our contribution coming every term, rather than having to continually re-apply for funding and then waiting for responses.