How Does a Village of Love Begin?

And grow..?

Leonora and Andrew Obara. Leonora is the Volunteer Programme Administrator with Kijiji Cha Upendo, and social worker with WOFAK, Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya. Andrew is the Volunteer Project Administrator of Kijiji Cha Upendo.2002: One Kenyan family opens their arms to orphaned children 

Andrew and Leonora Obara, parents to five lovely daughters, adopt their first AIDS-orphaned child. Over the next two years they take in four more orphaned children. They do not ask the question of how they will manage financially. They simply trust God to provide.

2004: A Canadian and Kenyan meet

Leonora receives a scholarship from the Theresa Group, to travel to Toronto Canada, to attend an International AIDS Conference, “Breaking the Silence.”

Canadian Social Worker, Robyn Salter, draws her church, Runnymede United, into supporting the Obara children to go to schoolThere she meets a Canadian social worker, who is blown away by the Obaras generosity and love, and who shares their situation with some church friends. The Obaras have not asked for financial help, but this church group, knowing that education in Kenya is not free,  pool together to send some money to help out with the obvious financial burden on the family.

Model of one family and one church

Over the following years, the number of AIDS-orphaned children adopted by the Obaras increases to ten! Funds are sent to enable all fifteen children to attend school and to receive training to equip them for work in the world. The Orphan Care Project becomes an official mission of Runnymede United Church.

2008: Youth make connections

A church youth group planning to go to Africa for mission exposure decides to visit Kenya and to help build a classroom for a school, the connections all organised by Andrew Obara. Deep friendships are forged between Canadian and Kenyan youth. The direction of some young lives are changed.

Orphan caregivers are invited to join Village of Love2009: Connections spark an idea

Andrew Obara visits Toronto on a ticket donated by a friend who works in the airlines. Here he meets a pastor, Dr Orville Brown, with whom he discusses the problem of helping the orphaned children around them.

The Obaras can no longer take more orphans into their home, which is bursting at the seams! However, other families, even poorer than their own, do take in orphaned children, even though they have very little means of providing support. The idea arises of forming these other families into an organisation so that they can speak with one voice in seeking help.

2010: 15 families are recruited and registered in Kenya

Andrew and Leonora visit many families who are caring for orphaned children in the slums of Kibera and consult with government and charitable organisations, carefully selecting the first families to form a pilot project. Kijiji Cha Upendo (Swahili for Village of Love) Children’s Project, is registered with the Kenyan government as a community based organisation and is now eligible to receive charitable dollars.

2011: Village of Love Canada partners with CAP/AIDS (now the CAP Network)

Village of Love Canada is formed as the Canadian fund raising wing for Kijiji Cha Upendo. Rather than establish a new charitable organisation in Canada,  a partnership with the CAP/AIDS Network is forged.

Village of Love Canada starts to raise funds, through the CAP/AIDS Bike-a-thon“Runnymede Riders” join the Bike to CAPAIDS Bike-a-thon (now called the CAP Ride), and raise funds for Village of Love.

A second Youth trip to Kenya is organised, again working with the youth in Kibera on AIDS awareness, and joining in the building of another classroom for the school.

Isabella Obara is accepted into Law School, her sister Sabina into Teachers’ Training College, and her brother Omolo into masonry school. The partnership between Canadian supporters and the Obara family is bearing fruit, and providing an excellent model for future partnerships with the families in Kijiji Cha Upendo!

Leonora and Andrew visit Toronto in order to tell the Village of Love story and seek support.Through their friend with the airlines, both Leonora and Andrew Obara are able to visit Toronto, where they speak to other churches and groups about the new project. Support for the Village of Love project begins to grow!

2012: Funds are raised and a second cluster of caregivers is formed

In Kenya, Kijiji Cha Upendo holds a three day strategic plannng conference. They determine to expand, to form an additional cluster of fifteen families each year.

In Canada, the AIDS Ride to Africa bike-a-thon is a great success, raising over $16,000.

Another group of families is selected to form a second cooperative, and the expansion begins!

Volunteer, Memona Hussein, visits Everlyn Mwende’s thriving tuckshop2013: Lives begin to be transformed

Village of Love Canada manages to send $20,000 to Kijiji Cha Upendo.

Visitors to Kijiji Cha Upendo report visible changes in the lives of orphan caregivers and their families through the application of micro-loans: Caregivers are able to put food on the table; children come home rather than forage in the garbage for food; families gather together; parents are happy in that they can provide; and family love grows!

Children are able to remain in school without being sent home for lack of fees; they can focus on their studies and their grades improve, along with their self esteem!

Youth learn to repair and sell bikes.2014: Bike Empowerment Centre (BEC) generates funds

Bicycles for Humanity Ottawa ships a container of bicycles to Kenya, where youth are trained to repair and sell bikes. The “BEC” provides employment for youth and generates funds to pay school fees.

Andrew and Leonora visit Canada again through donated tickets from their friend in the airlines. They speak to numerous groups about the project, including Canadian Samaritans for Africa, who pledge support for expanding to another group of 15 women.

 

Tracy Kakhali begins first year accountancy studies.

2015:

Tracy Kakhali starts first year accountancy, our first student to reach College level! Two boys score well enough to enter law school, if they can find sponsors.

Gardens in a Sack project is launched, to build micro-loan funds through savings.

The number of families and children double as Village of Love receives funding from Canadian Samaritans for Africa and Women’s Inter-Church Council!

 

Join the journey! Your support empowers orphan caregivers with their families to journey out of poverty. Take the next step: donate today!