by Lia (introduction) and Rev. Wasike
Those of us working with the Community Breakthrough Support Mission often get asked why we are focusing so much of our efforts on helping women co-ops and youth groups to build successful small-scale businesses. Recently, Rev. Wasike wrote the following about our work in general and empowering women and youth specifically. I'd like to share with you his thoughts on the matter for the eloquently argue the matter:
The essence of all of our work is to make the community a self-reliant and independent collective. This compels us to initiate programs that may be realised by the women in the local community. Women in Kimilili and the surrounding area have not been allowed to partake in running business es because their husbands do not approve. They believe women should stay culturally apart where they can bring up their children in the homes; irrespective of whether there is food available or whether their children are attending school or not. Traditionally, women have been competing in the number of children they give birth to as a form of status since polygamy is still practiced.
For as long as I can remember, youth 's work in our community was to take care of the livestock. Tragically, this livestock no longer exist in large scale as used to be, hence make this group is left idle and hence a source of violence and crime in the community.
My understanding is that what a child needs most today in order to be self reliant tomorrow is food and a good education to unlock potential of the child. A child also needs shelter for security and health when sick.
Most men in Kenya, and this is culturally approved , believe it is okay for them to inclusively use any income increase they earn to increase the number of wives. The bigger their families are, the more respect they earn in the community. This is unlike women, whose first priority is the wellbeing of their family (parents and children).
I believe that by empowering women and youth in the community, we are doing something similar to doing an overhaul on an engine that we can always count on for the rest of our long journey. Thankfully, it is becoming more common to see women running business than it was previously. Yet, without proper knowledge on how they can best do business and without the proper capital their journey is arduous.
Hence if a chance arises for us to empower one woman who has 10 children, what we are doing in creating this opportunity is taking care of the 10 children. In fact, starting the women empowering program has already created real help. For instance, during the last school term almost all the vegetables the school cooked for the children came for free from the women co-ops we trained in our first two CBSM Gardening Vocational Training Program workshops. During the workshops, we taught them best business practices and gave them water pumps and seeds.
This term we have avoided the cost of cooks, as four women who had applied to be enlisted for workshops and our facility was not able to accommodate them, offered to do the cooking at CBSM school for free for children this term . They did this on the condition that they would be able to attand the next series of workshops. They have done wonderful work this term, reduced the cost of running the school as salary for cooks is recurring cost and recurring costs are very painful always come when one one is not ready. Fortunately, we are happy to be giving our next workshops in August, which they will be able to attend.
It is our belief that through collective will and work we will offer our children a safe and happy environment to grow in.
by Rev. Wasike
Kenya is going to vote on a referendum for the new proposed constitution on 4th Agust. This is the second attempt,the first one in 2005 did not go through and so they are having to try again. As a result, families are rearranging their schedules and locations in fear of possible violence and security issues like those that occured after the 2007 elections. Hence, many schools have closed by down and the teachers have sent the children home to their parents.
This was good idea to plan for schools and colleges to close early in preparations for the election on 4.08.10. CBSM Education Center's exam process was delayed a bit because we could not afford to pay for the printed exams and had to hold oral exams that were time consuming. Yet, we thank God the exams are now done and the school is closing tomorrow.
We are praying that the elections on 4th shall be peaceful. We thank God for the government that has put in security measures to ensure good security for all Kenyans during this moment of vigorous election compaigning for and against the proposed constitution by various groups.
We've just received a great answer from one of our sponsors, Helmores Estate Agents in the UK about the questions, "Why did you sponsor the children of CBSM?" This is what George Clover, senior Negotiator, wrote,
'"We read the proposal about the football tournament and it looked like a great cause. We already sponsor a local football team here in the UK and so it seemed perfect to also sponsor one in Kenya. Also, most of us here at Helmores have young children, and so this seemed a small way to help some children less fortunate. Well done CBSM for arranging such a brilliant event!"
Rev. Wasike and the women co-ops of the CBSM Gardening Vocational Training Program have decided to organise two further fundraising events in August, Tea Parties for Kimilili. These tea parties will be a combination of tea party, bake sale and raffle. The funds raised through the sale of cakes and raffle tickets will go towards the down payment on the school land.
We ask everyone to look into their cupboards or ask their friends to look in their cupboards and see if you/they might have some light weight objects (e.g. pens, baseball caps, stickers, sun glasses, skipping ropes, sewing kits, old stamps) that you/they can send to Rev. Wasike to use for raffle prizes.
The goods can be sent to:
Rev. Wasike Wilberforce Walubengo
P.O. Box 2099-00200
Please make sure that you mention that the contents are gifts, second-hand goods, and of no monetary value, so that Rev. Wasike does not have to pay duty on the goods.
We want to invite all the schools and government officials and community elders who came to our Kimilili Football Tournament a few weeks ago to attend the tea parties and help contribute to our cause.
The women of CBSM have made a goal to try and raise 10-20% of the money needed for the down payment on the school land. You can help them indirectly reach their goal by contributing in this manner.
Sebastian M. is coming to volunteer at CBSM in a few weeks time. Sebastian is studying geography at the University of Marburg in Germany. He is especially interested in the topics of education and sustainable agriculture. We are thrilled that he is coming to Kimilili and work together with the CBSM Gardening Vocational Training Program.
Chris (Australia) and Arthi (USA) have been working hard to make up learning modules for the women gardening co-ops. Sebastain will use these learning modules to hold a series of agriculture workshops for these groups during his visit in August: Composting, Maize pest prevention, Seed identification, handling and storage. These are all subjects of great interests to the women and youths of CBSM.
Sebastian and Wilfred (or Kimilili supervisor) will also be working together with the youth group to build “zero emission fridges” for the storage of seeds, maize, and beans. These silos were originally made in Mozambique, but are easily reproducible in other rural areas. We are all very interested to see whether or not they will help reduce loss of seeds through various diseases (e.g. weevils). If they do work, this will mean that the women co-ops can store maize in bulk and then sell the seeds at times when the prices are higher and the demand is greater.
Dear Fund-raising Committee and Online Volunteers,
We are happy to write the good news that CBSM has received more donations towards the down payment on the land for our school facilities. Sue G, Julie M, Giancarlo M and Andrea N have kindly sent in donations.
We now have received nearly 50% of the money we need.
Please continue working hard so that we might be able to make the down payment and thus be able to continue with the school next year. If we are not able to make the down payment, we will have to relocate once again and this would be such a shame. The children need a stable and safe place to go to school.
Lia and Rev. Wasike
P.S. Part of the down payment is being collected through PayPal and another part is through betterplace.org and the rest is through fund raising efforts of the CBSM women co-ops.
The first Kimilili Football Tournament was a roaring success.
We are working through all the photos and collecting all the stories of this momentous day.
Please stay tune...
Dear Children of CBSM, Today is your big day! The first Kimilili Football Tournament! Good Luck and Fair Play!Even though you will be cheered on in the Kimilili Stadium by your friends and families, please know that you have a large number of fans cheering for you from far-off places as well.One spezial sponsor of yours is a wedding shop called Champagne & Strawberries* in the UK. The owner and workers of the shop think so well of your football playing, they have made a donation of £48 GBP. Christina, a CBSM volunteer, wants to ask you if you will send Champagne and Strawberries a photo of your team with all of your names. Do you think that is possible?We’ll be looking forward to Rev. Wasike’s stories of all the day’s going-ons.All the best,Your Fans from Afar Champagne & Strawberriesare a wedding shop based in Taunton, Somerset, UK. They sell a large variety of wedding dresses, other wedding clothing and accessories.
written by LiaWe would like to welcome Helmores Estate Agent in Devon, South-West of England for generously signing on as sponsors of our Kimilili Football Tournament. This family-run estate agent are donating £100 GBP towards the tournament and the down payment on the land.When one of our UK volunteers, Christina, recently approached them about the possibility of acting as sponsors, they immediately said yes. They are strong supporters of their community locally, and happily extend their support to faraway Kimilili. For they recognise what a good thing the tournament is for the community, and that the children badly need their school land secured. Their website is www.helmores.com
written by Lia
Well, as you can imagine with the football tournament only two days away, we are in the fury of activity organising all the last details. It has been a wild and wonderful journey so far and we only hope we have created the best conditions for the children to show off their football talents. Hopefully, the adults will come in large numbers to celebrate the children’s athletic skills and dedication.
UN volunteers from India, Canada and the UK, have teamed together with Lia in Germany and Rev. Wasike in Nairobi and the CBSM Community in Kimilili to make this event memorable. A number of private donations have insured that we will be able to offer the 230 children participating in the event proper food and refreshment. Many of the children are walking long distances to the event and so will be in need of sustenance. We were able to raise funds to buy a football. Rev. Wasike is still trying to see if he cannot get the loan of two more balls so that they can play some games parallel.
CBSM has rented the local stadium and PA system for the day. Keep your fingers crossed that the rains wait until the event is over before falling.
Rick arrived from the UK on Monday. Rev. Wasike and his wife met him at the Kenyatta International Airport for two hours to get to know him and make arrangements for his performance on Saturday.
Christina in the UK has found three potential sponsors wanting to contribute to our goal of making a substantial down payment on the land.
Your comments here and through emails have been important towards convincing others of the worthiness of our cause.
For all of you across the globe who have made such fine efforts to make the first Kimilili Football Tournament happen, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.