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Partnership helps vulnerable children and families

June 19, 2017

The chickens were definitely “free range,” wandering all over the small yard around the modest home of one of our orphan children in the PCEA Njoro/New York Avenue Church Partnership. There were more chickens in two separate chicken coops too! How exciting that this auntie with five children in the household, including HIV-positive orphan Dennis, has income outside the 200 shillings, or $2, for a day’s work of baking and selling mandazi!

A local resident feeds chickens while the social worker, Cathy, looks on.

Such is the beauty and gift of the relationship developed over the past 10 years between the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. (three blocks from the White House) and the Njoro PCEA Parish in Njoro, Kenya (in the Great Rift Valley region not far from the tea plantations). Our Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program helps children in the community stay with relatives or guardians as encouraged by the Kenyan government.

Every Saturday the 35 students we support together, now 8 to 18, gather at Njoro Presbyterian Church for breakfast, lunch, worship, Bible study, recreation and help with studies, including a computer class for the older students. Each child takes home a kilo of maize meal for their families.

In 2011 a “chicken project” was started to provide foster families with a self-sustaining additional source of eggs, meat and income. By 2013 all 35 families were building pens and raising chickens funded by the program. Not all were as successful as Dennis’s family. Some participants had chickens stolen and others saw their chickens die of disease, so the OVC program also paid for a Poultry Raising Training Program for a member of each family. A good outcome for a family is 22–28 eggs a week, and families usually keep some and sell the others for a little income.  An egg brings in five shillings, or 5 cents.

Two cages of chicks with orphan Dennis, social worker Cathy and two members of the OVC committee

In 2014 the OVC Saturday Program was enhanced with the hiring of a social worker who visits students’ homes and schools and responds to needs. 

The programs are all about relationships, and Jesus Christ calls us to care for “the least of these” and “to make disciples of all nations.” We — Kenyans and Americans — serve as disciples in each other’s lives. We have been enriched with several visits — staying in each other’s homes, worshiping in each other’s churches, participating in each other’s ministries and learning about each other’s cultures.

Rev. M. Catherine Day, PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker, Rwanda

Today’s Focus:  Children and families in Rwanda

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Denise Gray, PMA                                                                        
Joan Gray, PMA

Let us pray:

O God of Grace, we are grateful for the inspiring relationship of working together in this cross-cultural mission to children with such challenging struggles in their young lives. Help us to be instruments of your love and hope for the future. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 5; 145
First Reading 1 Samuel 1:1-20
Second Reading Acts 1:1-14
Gospel Reading Luke 20:9-19
Evening Psalms 82; 29

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