Environment. Education. Skills.
Thirty (30) orphans were identified in 1 square mile of our compound in Isongo, Kenya; that’s roughly one orphan for every 20 acres of land! If you’re reading this right now, you have a heart for other people, and that’s exactly how this organization began! If you’ve always wanted to be involved in helping others through an authentic charity, this is your kind of organization! Simiyu House: Kenya is run by two men. Eric Smith, an American who makes a living as a high school teacher and runs Simiyu House on the side campaigns for Kenya while Chris Shiko, a local Kenyan, is the on-site Field Director. Nobody is paid at Simiyu House; it’s purely voluntary, so all money heads directly to children in need. The following will outline exactly how we accomplish our mission of a safe environment, formal education, and overall lifeskills.
A safe environment has been provided through a well-built home on our 1-acre compound. The compound includes a 3-bedroom home, a kitchen, a chicken-coop, a volunteer house, a bathroom, and a clean-water well put in place by Engineers Without Borders in January 2015! The home serves many purposes for us, but the main purpose of the compound is to provide both Chris, the Field Director, with a safe place to house a child in need (if necessary) and to have room for volunteers to stay. Although we are capable of housing a child, it is not our intent; we’d much rather focus on supporting them in their current environment, as they are usually with family members.
Formal education is the simple idea that these orphans are in school. Often times these children are taken in by relatives, but the family often struggles to provide basic needs to the added family member, let alone to pay school fees each year. One year of secondary education (after Grade 5) is roughly $200, and when a child has that need, our mission is to provide that tuition for them to be in school through our matching team.
Lifeskills are met by volunteers themselves. Those who are traveling in Kenya already are invited for a “homestay” where they are immersed in the culture of a true Kenyan. They can learn Swahili, learn to cook, and genuinely enjoy the true aspects of Kenyan life; however, we ask them to give back by teaching the life-skills that they already have to our orphans and community members. Kenyan people thoroughly enjoy learning and hosting internationals (and locals!), so whatever the background is of our volunteers, their knowledge and life-skills are sought after, and the locals always absorb as much as they can!
A safe environment, formal education, and life-skills are the main focus for these thirty (30) orphans. A strong matching team, regular volunteers, and continued learning are what make this project a success, but it’s helping others that gives us the satisfaction and motivation to continue making micro-movements. Our vision is to “spiral” farther outward into the local community as our Matching Team grows. Any growth this organization sees in the future always starts with a micro-movement. What kind of micro-movement can “yu” make today?