AMANI YA JUU / Nairobi is a non-profit which was started in the late 1990s by Becky Chinchen, a missionary from Tennessee. She and her husband wanted to make a difference for marginalized women in Africa.Four women began making placemats.Today, more than 100 women “sew for peace” in Amani’s Nairobi headquarters where the women create extraordinary fabric crafts, clothing and jewelry and learn how to be leaders “promoting peace in Africa.” Women come from many different countries, and Amani Ya Juu now operates new centers in Rwanda and Burundi.Amani Ya Juu is currently training four Nyanya Project grandmothers from the slums of Kibera. These women are in a four-year program in which they learn skills and earn money, and TNP grandmothers are committed to exemplifying their new skills and leadership to their family members and other women and grandmothers in Kibera.Visit www.amaniafrica.org.
Burning Bush Foundation, another American non-profit, is involved in various projects in Ndathi, Kenya, a small farming village in the green hillsides of central Kenya near Mt. Kenya. The organization funded the construction of the Samaritan Maternity Home there and continues to support its operation. Susan Kaburu, a nurse/midwife, owns the clinic and works to provide basic healthcare to the 20,000 residents of the area. Prior to this clinic, villagers had to travel 10 miles to the nearest clinic. Burning Bush also supports other community development projects, mostly through microcredit groups. The Nyanya Project was introduced to Burning Bush, who thought the idea of serving area grandmothers caring for grandchildren orphaned by AIDS was very needed. Fourteen grandmothers were identified, and since June, 2007, these women meet weekly and through funds provided by TNP now have some of their immediate needs met and a herd of sheep which is run by the grandmothers’ cooperative. These 14 women are caring for a total of 39 children and grandchildren. More sheep and goats will be added to their herd to generate income from selling, butchering and mating their sheep. As the herd grows, TNP hopes to train the grandmothers in knitting products from their wool for sale inAfrica and the U.S. Visit www.burningbushkenya.org.
Peter Wahome is an Ashoka Fellow, Community Development Leader and Crafts Distributor in Nairobi. Peter is also founder of People to People Tourism that promotes cross-cultural understanding through tours in Kenya. He was introduced to The Nyanya Project last summer, and Peter took TNP to a small village called Kisesini several hours drive south of Nairobi. Kisesini is located in the dry countryside near the town of Machakos where there are no roads and no water.Women, including grandmothers caring for grandchildren who are orphaned by AIDS, must walk more than 12 miles each day to fetch water from a nearby stream. Peter also introduced TNP to Global Health Partnerships, an NGO of health care professionals from the University of New Mexico. Global Health has just completed construction of the village’s first medical clinic.Previously, villagers had to walk or ride by donkey or ox cart to the nearest clinic nearly 20 miles away.Some mothers in labor die en route. TNP has funded the geological survey which has now determined two water sources near the village. Once funds for a borehole have been secured by TNP, the village will have its first water, the clinic will function at full capacity, and grandmothers of AIDS orphans will manage the well, when built, to provide ongoing income for their families. Visit www.ashoka.org and www.peopletopeopletourism.com.
SAMARIA MATERNITY CENTER / Ndathi Located in a remote area of Central Kenya near Mt. Kenya, the Samaria Maternity Center was started by Susan Kaburu, a Kenyan midwife and RN. We were introduced to Susan by the Burning Bush Foundation in Tennessee. Susan found our first group of grandmothers caring for AIDS orphans in 2007 and checks on their welfare on a regular basis. The grandmothers immediately formed themselves into a cooperative which has continued to meet every two weeks since its inception, and the grandmothers share profits among themselves using a bank account that they created for their group. TNP provides sheep and cows to the women and some supplies to make traditional straw bags called kiondos that they sell in local markets.