We are incredible overwhelmed and blessed by the support of our family and friends for the Orphaid Community Project. As of Sunday we have sponsors for every child's uniforms. That is $1500 in 5 days. Thank you to everyone who gave and to everyone who spread the word. We are so grateful.
Joan and Carolyne, the project directors, are overwhelmed by your support. Joan commented that she couldn't concentrate on her job because she was too busy dancing around for joy.
We thought what better way to celebrate together than with a video of the children dancing:
UPDATE: We have found uniform sponsors for every single child! We are completely blown away by everyone's generosity. Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored a child. If you missed out and still want to help, there are plenty of opportunities to be able to make this school something great. As they are only just starting out, they have almost nothing. If you would like to bless them with a donation, we can ensure it will be used 100% to bless these children. Again, THANK YOU!
As a family, we have decided to walk alongside our friends Joan and Carolyne to help them get uniforms for the beautiful children that are in their care at the Orphaid Community Center. We are looking for 25 individuals or families who are willing to donate AU$60 to buy 2 uniforms for each student. The girls will get 2 dresses, 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and 1 pair of shoes. The boys will get 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and 1 pair of shoes.
Currently, these children don’t have much more than the clothes on their back. A few of them have some foot wear but these shoes were doing little to protect their feet and many of them were either over or under sized.
Listed below are the beautiful faces of the children in need so you can decide who you would like to sponsor uniforms for. This is how we are going to do it:
Purchasing a uniform for a child will be a one off donation, but if you are interested we can also connect you to enable to support this project on a regular basis. We believe that this is a great new project that two amazing Kenyan women have begun and we would love to see it grow and thrive.
Hover mouse over the photos of the children to see their names and ages and click for a bigger image.
On Saturday 10 October we had the privilege to visit a new project just outside the town of Kitale.
This project started out because of a need in the community. Many children were wandering throughout the village and scavenging for any food they might find on the floor of the markets. The children come from homes where they are either orphans living with a very poor elderly relatives or they live with a parent who is very ill. Basically, they are living in extreme poverty. None of them have ever been to school before. Prior to the project starting the children were extremely malnourished. We were blessed to meet a number of amazing people who are giving their all to see these children flourish. I want to share with you a little bit about them:
Joan & Carolyne:
Joan has become a friend of ours here in Kenya. She started Orphaid in January 2015 because of the need of the children in the community where she grew up. Her mama asked for her help because there were so many children in her community that needed help. Joan is a teacher here in Nairobi. Along with her mama they selected 25 of the children who were most needy to be helped. The children range in age from 3 to 10 years.
Carolyne, who also comes from the same country area, agreed to partner with Joan in this project. Out of their own small salaries they have employed a teacher who is paid $40 per month and a cook, who is paid $20 per month. The children are able to use a small room in the local church as a school room and the children are fed 2 meals a day (porridge and beans & maize).
Mama Alice is Joan’s mum. She is an amazing woman who everyone in the community looks up to. She is an elder in the local church and she carries great favour with people she meets. She is the person on the ground driving the project. She is an amazing faithful woman who really trusts God to look after the children. She is always able to find people to help with the food when the finances are getting low. She loves each of the children as her own.
Teacher & Cook:
The teacher is a woman who gives her time to the children for very little pay. She has no resources or curriculum but she does her best. They have no cupboard in the school room just one old, torn plastic bag that she referred to as her “best bag”. She was very happy when I gave her a new “best bag”, which was just a plastic bag from a local shop. I have at least 50 unwanted plastic bags at home so I know what to take her next time! The cook is a widow who takes care of the cooking for the children. The small amount of money that she gets paid helps her with her children.
We were able to bless the children with some treats. We bought them lolly pops, biscuits and bananas. Some the children had never had a banana before and weren’t sure what to do with it. Thanks to a generous donation from a couple in Australia we were able to help Joan and Carolyne buy enough food to feed the children for the rest of the year. The children also enjoyed using coloured pencils for the first time. It was a great joy seeing them colouring in.
After spending time with the children at the school we went to visit Moses and his grandparents. Moses is also a student at the school but because he is HIV+ he is struggling to get to school because he is too weak to walk there. Moses mother died when he was 3 days old and his elderly grandparents have raised him. He is on medication for HIV+ but without a balanced diet he will not get strong enough to get back to school. So we went to visit his home and take a package of food for his family so that he can get stronger and get back to school. He was actually a really happy giggly kid. His grandparents were so grateful to us for the gifts we had bought that they went outside and came back with a live chicken to give to us as a gift. We were very honoured and blessed by the gift.
How can you help?
We are very passionate about helping these women out. There are many needs for this community but their biggest need at this point is uniforms and shoes for the children. The children mostly only have one set of clothes that are falling apart. The uniforms would mean they have two sets of clothes that will keep them warm and covered. Some of them have shoes but they really need closed in shoes to stop the diseases and bugs that come up through the dirt. So in our next blog post we are going to outline details of how you help with these uniforms. Basically, we are hoping to find 25 families or individuals who will give a one off donation of $60 to buy a uniform for one child.
God bless you,
Anthony & Fiona
While we were in Australia, our good friends, Roland and Caroline organised for families from Pearsall and Tapping Primary School, Churchlands (our home church) and some other friends to donate school resources (pens, pencils, reading books, posters etc.) to First Joy Academy in Kenya.
The whole school was very excited and thankful for everything that was given to them. It opens up a whole new world of learning for them that would have been otherwise impossible.
Here are two videos, the first is from Australia of the kids making donations and the second is when we had the privilege of giving the donations to the school.
Thank you so much to everyone who was involved.
On 20 and 21 May we were involved in the organisation and running of the Southern Cross Leaders Advance here in Kenya.
Southern Cross Association of Churches is a relational network that was started by our Senior Pastor from Perth, John McElroy. The heart of the network is for pastors and leaders to connect with each other and to encourage each other on their journeys. The leadership of Southern Cross aims to equip the members in the work they are doing. If you would like to learn more here is a link to the Southern Cross website:
During the Leaders Advance last week we had John and Alaine McElroy plus David Apelt here from Australia to lead and assist with the conference. We were blessed to host them in our home and to build on our friendships. During the first day we were commissioned as the new leaders of Southern Cross here in Kenya. Our friend Jody Pike has been leading Southern Cross here in Kenya for a number of years and we are grateful for the foundation she has provided. On the second day we were excited to have 10 new members join the 10 existing members of Southern Cross. Most of the members are balancing very busy lives. Such as:
Our heart is to journey with these wonderful men and women. We believe that God has called us to be dream builders. For us this means that we want to hear their hopes and dreams and walk with them as they fulfil what they are called to do. We want to do this in 4 ways:
We are excited to see what God is going to do in us and through us in our new role. We feel blessed to able to partner with what God is doing in this nation through these wonderful people.
Here are a few pictures from our week:
Sorry, it has been a very long while since our last blog update!
As we look forward to returning to Australia for 6 weeks, I thought it would be good to give a brief rundown of what we have been doing here in Kenya the past few months.
Southern Cross Association of Churches:
I have spent quite a bit of time connecting with Pastors from around Kenya. As we prepare for a big conference in May, we have been trying to get organised for that. I spent a few days in the western part of Kenya, connecting with many pastors and hearing about the challenges they face on a daily basis. The relational network of Southern Cross can be a real blessing to these pastors and we are hoping to be able to support these men and women of God in an increased way when we return.
Kibagare Academy School Building:
The building project has been a very big challenge for me. Progress has been slow but we have finally completed the foundation and retaining block work and work has started on the wood structure.
At times it is difficult to see why something is such a massive struggle but God knows the outcome of our persistence and obedience and ultimately He will be glorified through this whole process! AMEN!
First Joy Academy:
Both Fiona and I have spent a lot of time at the First Joy school helping out. I have written a computer database to help with the administration of students. Fiona has been working with Joan (the school registrar) to help to set up a filing system for all the student information.
I have also been teaching basic computer skills to the teachers, who then use this information to teach their pupils.
As is the case with many schools here in Kenya, they struggle to get enough funding to do even the basic things that we in developed nations would expect from an educational institution. There isn't the government funding that we see in more developed countries. The teachers work tirelessly to provide the best possible education with the little resources they have, but the school even struggles to pay their wages, they sometimes receive as little as 8000 shillings (about AU$112) a month. The school is very diligent in feeding the kids both morning tea and lunch as often this is the only food they receive in a day. When the kids eat, they are more attentive in class and ultimately get a better education.
We have been able to provide some books and blocks for the kids to read and play with which they absolutely loved!
We really want the school to become more self sufficient and as such are hoping to be able to raise funding for them to be able to get water at the school. This will not only help with hygiene and drinking/cooking water for the students but also be a source of income for the school as they can sell it to the surrounding neighbors.
Please keep them in your prayers as we need a miracle to see them prosper as we believe they should.
We are all doing really well and settling into life here in Nairobi.
Zoe has been really enjoying school at Rosslyn Academy (an international school) and has made many new friends. Pippa has been having a lot of fun doing home schooling but we are hoping that she will be able to attend Rosslyn soon also. Lucy is growing up fast and loves Peppa Pig (an english cartoon). She has asked if Suzy Sheep (from Peppa Pig) can come for a play. The big girls have made some really good friends in the estate where we live. It is very secure so the girls can safely walk to their friends houses.
We have been blessed with many new friendships too. We have had the challenge of not only getting to know the Kenyan culture but also the different cultures of the friends we are making from all over the world. We regular have to check if they understand us even though we all speak English. We have some very different sayings in Australia!
We are really looking forward to arriving back in Australia this coming Sunday and look forward to seeing all of our family and friends. If you want to contact us while we are home, here's how you can get in touch:
Anthony (mob): 0402 320 835
Fiona (mob): 0412 822 241
Skype number: 9468 0447 (you can call us for the cost of a local call)
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa & Lucy
As 2014 comes to close we find ourselves reflecting on what a big year we've had. Here is the short version:
WOW! What a HUGE year!!
We have been in Kenya now for 4½ months and while we started off without a specific plan we have seen God open doors for us to help and love the people here. We really believe that God has called us here to use our skills and talents to enable and encourage others in what they are already doing. So here is a quick overview of what we have been doing:
1. Kibagare Building Project
We are excited to see the progress of this building project which was started a couple of years ago by Southern Cross Association of Churches. Anthony has done an amazing job helping Pastor Amos manage the continued work on this building. We are hopeful for its completion in the new year. Once completed this building will be a light in the slum community of Kibagare and will be a school for children of the Kibagare Academy. This slum sees many abandoned babies every year the Pastor is excited about the way this building will help the community.
2. 1st Joy Academy
Another Southern Cross Pastor, John Wandera, has a school in his church in the community of Mlolongo. We have been able to spend significant time with them helping. In particular Anthony has been helping teach the teachers how to use the computers. In the new year we are going to continue to connect with this school and help them in many different ways.
3. Pavement to prosperity
This is a street boys project which Anthony is working with. The street boys are given an opportunity to come and live and work on a farm while they rehabilitate from different addictions. After 6 months they help find the boys work and get them established in the community.
4. ABC Children's Aid
Anthony has been helping out this organisation with some technical skills. He has made some great promotion videos and testimonies to help promote their work overseas.
5. Southern Cross Association of Churches
We having been making relational connections with many of the Southern Cross pastors here in Kenya. In the new year we hope to look for more ways to empower and enable the Southern Cross Pastors in the great works they are doing in their communities.
Last but most importantly we have been journeying as a family to make this country our home. We are all delighted to finally have our own place here. We are making some great connections here and although we miss our friends and family we know we are in the right place right now. We often say that we can't imagine doing anything else!!
We pray that you all have an amazing blessed and fruitful new year. We are incredible blessed by all your love, prayers and financial support. Please know that without you we can't do what we are doing here. We love you all!!
Most of all we are grateful to our heavenly Father who continues to do exceedingly more that we can hope or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa & Lucy
Chris (from our church in Australia) has been with us for 3 weeks now and this week we were fortunate enough to be able to go to Oloitokitok on the southern border of Kenya and Tanzania. ABC Children's Aid Kenya made a trip there with a few teachers and social workers to a school they have established and we went along for the ride.
Oloitokitok is located in the predominantly Masai region of Kenya and is a small border town that sits at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro which is the third tallest mountain in the world.
The school is still very basic but is giving kids an opportunity they would have otherwise not had. Many of the kids would have stayed home and looked after the family's cattle, something that is very important to the Masai people. Many of the girls have been saved from the barbaric ritual of female circumcision (or female genital mutilation) and the boys are being given an alternative to the difficult traditions of Moranism (the warriors of the Masai people).
Chris and I were treated to some presentations and songs by the students and we got to play football with the boys. We also spent some time filming testimonies from some of the kids. ABC tries to find sponsors for all the kids as their families generally do not have sufficient income to survive and provide an education for their kids.
We were also privileged to walk around the area and visit some of the families of students that attend the school. They lead a very basic life with their main source of income being the few cows and goats that they own. Many still live in traditional houses made of branches and plastered with cow dung. The buildings are a surprisingly pleasant temperature inside and no, they don't smell! We were able to pray for a few people including an elderly blind man. Everyone was very welcoming making it a great experience.
Before we returned to Nairobi, we visited the Kenyan/Tanzanian border, where my finger may or may not have visited Tanzania illegally!
So it has been a while since we sent an update so here goes . . . .
Love from the Schopf family.
Last week we went to the baby home. I loved the baby home. The babies there don't have a mum and dad. I played with the babies. There was one called Lucy and I loved playing with her. We played with them outside. There are 22 babies that live there. They drank lots of milk.
By Pippa Schopf
Last Tuesday I went to the baby home with my family. There was a lot of babies there. I played with them. When we got there we played with the babies inside the house. And after that we played outside with the babies. I saw one of the babies getting their hair cut. Some of the babies cried a lot. They liked to drink milk too. I had lots of fun.
By Zoe Schopf
We are a family who are just seeking to do what God wants us to do. We have heard God speak and we want to be obedient to his voice, and are excited by what He is going to do when we respond!