After visiting the Peace Gitura businesses, we spent Tuesday afternoon visiting with Glory Karurune. Lydia, the secretary, greeted us and the pastor gave a prayer to open the meeting. Then Lydia gave the group report. They were formed in July 2016 and registered the group with the government in August. They elected officers, and Calvin is the chairperson, Lydia, the secretary and Winnie, the treasurer.
The group’s first distribution was goats for each family. All were trained in health and hygiene. They learned about hand washing, making a compost pit for household waste and digging a latrine. They were rewarded with water tanks to store their boiled water for drinking and cooking. After agriculture training and learning how to prepare the land, plant and harvest, they were given hoes, machetes and seeds. They were also trained in HIV-AIDS prevention.
They bought school uniforms for eight siblings and paid the school fees for two to attend secondary school. Four members were sent to vocational training for hairdressing. All were given start up kits. Other businesses are three kiosks, five grocery stores, three fruit and vegetable sellers, two clothes sellers, one dressmaker and a cell phone kiosk.
They started Table Banking in May and the fund already has KS 9600, which is out in the group being used for business improvements. The group project is a field of collards and arrowroot and a tree nursery on land they have rented.
Tabitha, the mentor, thanked us and reported that the group had made much progress. She talked of how the group members are now able to support their families through their businesses and they are cleaner and more well groomed than before ZOE.
Then some of the members spoke:
Irene said they were trained in health and hygiene and preparing the land for farming. She earned a hoe and machete which enabled her to prepare her land and maize seed which she planted. The crop did not do well because of the lack of rain. Because of the poor season, the group supported her with more seeds and she has planted collard greens and sweet potatoes which are doing well.
Winnie reported that when the group formed, members visited each other to see what their needs were. They also determined who already had skills. Before ZOE she had done some hairdressing but did not do well. The group provided her with a start-up kit for her salon and now her business is better. She used the profits to help her mother open a grocery business in another village and together they make enough money to support the family. Her dream is to open a big salon and be able to hire another orphan to work. She also wants to expand her business to sell cosmetics and ladies’ shoes.
Lina reported that when the group was formed, many had health issues. They have practiced what they learned in health and hygiene training and were rewarded with blankets.
Hildah reported that she now has a national identity card, which is very important for orphans–for getting health insurance and opening a business, for example. She told how the group was trained in children’s rights. They were taught that a child has rights to education, to a balanced diet, to an identity, to life and to play. They taught about the importance of education and have become ambassadors for education in their village. She said, “I have learned so much from ZOE. I went to training for hair styling and received a start up kit for a hair salon. I have bought 2 chickens. Now my family eats a balanced diet.”
Christine is the group’s pastor. She reported that when the group was formed, many of the children felt abandoned by God or did not about know God. They can now attest to the power of God. They have gone to revivals as a group and they now pray and go to church. They visit members who are sick and pray together.
Kelvin, the chairperson, has two siblings. He has a barber shop. “I can support my siblings and have bought three chickens and have three chicks. We can now buy nice shoes and clothes.” He told that the children have grown individually and as a group.
Hildah did a dramatic recitation (in English) about ZOE and child rights with four of the girls holding up signs about their rights for play, education, etc.
Then the group entertained us with singing and dancing.
Carol gave them each a group picture that Pam had taken when she visited in February. They were thrilled and remembered Pam. They fed us bananas. One toddler, Vanvikar, gathered up banana peels and brought them to deposit in a bowl where we were sitting. He was intent on his work and did not seem to be afraid of us at all.
Then we visited businesses. We saw Rhoda’s kiosk and Lydia’s hair salon and clothing business.
We visited Hildah’s cell phone kiosk which she just opened a month ago. She literally sells off of a round table covered by a large umbrella in the market, carrying her stock around in a large suitcase. She hoped to get into a building soon because the rainy season is coming. Her goal is to be trained in cell phone repair so that she can both sell and repair phones.
We visited Kelvin’s barber shop, which was very large. He shares it with Dennis who is an electrician and does barbering when he has no electrical work. Dennis was not part of the original group. His older sister, Winfred, joined ZOE. When she graduated from high school, she went off to college, leaving the younger siblings at home. Dennis had been working and living on a farm. He returned home to take care of the siblings and the Glory group adopted him into the group.
We all returned to the hotel where in the evening we celebrated Reegan’s 10th year of working with ZOE. We surprised him with a cake, which left him almost speechless.