I just returned from my 21st trip to Kenya as the organization nears the end of its 11th year of operations. The organization has made significant progress in strengthening financial controls, an objective that has been in place for several years and is now getting accomplished. The caliber of our new volunteer board of directors in Kenya and the quality of their deliberations impressed me greatly. We launched what I hope will be a dramatically more effective Sexual and Reproductive Health Program, focused first on training Youth Peer Providers who will educate our young people. There’s much to celebrate, but most especially the young men and women whom your generosity supports as they seek to to create better lives for themselves.
Winnie Anyango is the eldest child in her family. Her father died of HIV several years ago after a long illness and her mother battles the disease today. Winnie has been sponsored by Doug and Beth Ann Lennick since 2007.
Winnie is enrolled in a diploma program at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communications. There, she is studying video production and editing, interviewing skills and related topics involved with television.
Currently, Winnie is in an internship at a local television station called Mother & Child, which does programming for mothers, families and youth. She went with her team members to a Nairobi hospital where they interviewed doctors, patients and nurses about a childhood disease. Her assignment was to edit the video as they put this program together. After her internship, Winnie will return to school until September 2018, when she hopes to get a job in television production.
Emmanuel Titi begins his final year of high school at Dagoretti High School in January. He has been sponsored by Pat and Kathy Halloran since 2009. Emmanuel is Captain of the rugby team at his high school and was especially excited when I met with him, because he and other members of the team were leaving for Kisumu for two to three weeks of intensive training.
The high school rugby team will play against other national high schools and if they win Kenya’s national cup the team will go on to Rwanda to play in the East Africa games. When in school, he told me he is focused 90% on school and only 10% on rugby. Emmanuel does best in science subjects – chemistry and biology.
Etrose Adhiambo to my surprise attended the Ngong Road Children’s Foundation Alumni Gathering on December 2.
Etrose joined the program in 2007 and was sponsored by Ted and Kathy Truscott until 2016. For me, Etrose is a living profile of mistakes we have made and lessons learned in the program’s first 11 years. Like most parents, we have not been perfect, yet Etrose has managed to make a better life for herself.
Etrose finished 8th grade with a score of 187 out of 500. Today, we would have sent her directly to trade school where she would have graduated in two to three years with a job skill, like hairdressing or sewing.
Unfortunately we sent Etrose to high school. She attended three different high schools and ultimately failed her final exams. Etrose then tried a course in food service, but again failed. After that we told her she was an alumni and to her credit, Etrose went out and got a job as a hostess at a restaurant.
Etrose still lives in the slums with her mother but now she pays the rent and contributes to other monthly expenses. Etrose has a sweet personality and has always valued the role the organization has played in her life. She promised to stay in touch. Etrose is doing her best with the gifts she has been given. What more can we ask for?