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Welcome to St. Monica Village!

Donate for clean drinking water for 250 Kenyan widows and their families

Valaria Achola Ahago is a Kenyan smallholder farmer and widow. She has 5 grown up children and is a member of the widow´s cooperative St. Monica Village.

 

Witwe

During the past years, constantly recurring droughts have made Valaria´s life difficult. There was almost no rain in December 2016 and throughout January 2017 in Kenya. Valaria had to watch her vegetable garden dry up and the maize prize increase, well aware of the fact that she would soon not be able to afford food and water for herself and the two orphans she takes care of anymore, let alone pay for their school fees. During droughts, her income goes almost entirely to increased food prizes. In 2017, the prize for maize, which belongs to the basic food staples in Kenya, has doubled. Valaria also has to purchase water at high prizes from the next village and pay a bearer to carry the canisters up to her house. Valaria is not the only one who is struggling with the consequences of these droughts, the increasing frequency of which are being triggered by climate change. The other widow´s are facing similar challenges. Together they have come up with a plan that would relieve their distress: they want to bore a well on their compound. A well would provide them with easy access to water and allow them to water their gardens as well as extract clean drinking water, using a filtration system which they already own. They could even sell that water to other people living in the village during droughts, which would provide them with an additional source of income during such difficult times. How you can help?

Donate now and make a contribution to sustainable rain and drinking water production for 250 vulnerable widows and their families!

Please donate here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-250-kenyan-families/

Climate change affects us all. Let´s join forces to solidarily protect those who suffer from it first!

The installation will cost 7000$. Please share Valaria´s story with your friends, colleagues and family via email and Facebook https://web.facebook.com/dentists.africa/ and encourage them to support this cause. This will help us to collect sufficient funding for this amazing project.

 

Widow's Cooperative

St. Monica Village is a cooperative for widows, many of whom have HIV. They have joined forces in order to sustain the livelihoods of their families. The compound of the cooperative is situated close to the market, in the small village Nyabondo, approximately one hour from Kisumu, in Nyanza province.

The story of a Kenyan widow

Cuslia is 59 years old and lives in a mud-walled hut close to Nyabondo. She belongs to the Luo, a tribe in Western Kenya that practices indigenous customs up until today. Many of these customs have emerged from the need of establishing social security systems in a context, where the government fails to do so. However, in a globalized, modern world that is often oriented towards Western values, practices like the cleansing and inheritance of widows seem cruel and do in fact often have devastating consequences for those who are affected.

Cuslia and her husband were happily married. His sudden, unexpected death due to HIV, came as a shock for Cuslia. She then had to witness her six children dying one after the other. After their parents had passed away, she took in her grandchildren and cared for them. After it became known that she was infected with HIV, her siblings disassociated themselves from her. This social exclusion is rooted in the fear of infecting oneself or jeopardizing the family reputation.

Cuslia does not have any professional training. When she was young, she had been raised to be an obedient woman, who solely acts on commands that are given by men. She was brought up to believe that women were supposed to care for household and children. However, social ties and structures that have once served to protect women, have been eroded by poverty and HIV/Aids. And as most of her family members have passed away, Cuslia struggles to survive. She does not have the money to pay for school fees, nor can she afford health insurance. In order to care for her grandchildren’s basic needs, she sells homegrown vegetables on the market.

Hundreds of women share the destiny of Cuslia throughout the region of Nyabondo. The HIV infection rate exceeds 20%. One third of all orphans in Kenya are from this region. Many families that consist only of children after all adults have passed away. They are malnourished and suffer hardships. Life expectancy is an approximate 61 years, the average age is only 19 years.

The Project

St. Monica Village cooperative has been set up with the intention to empower the members of widows like Cuslia, who belong to one of the most vulnerable groups in Kenyan society. Widows who are members of the cooperative have the opportunity to engage in joint activities that help them sustain their livelihoods. An approximate 250 widows collaborate in order to support each other. The cooperative has also set up a Kindergarten, where the children are being looked after while their mothers work. The widows also engage in educational work with regard to HIV/Aids, as well as social support and income generating projects.

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Social Projects 

  • Kindergarten
  • Committee for choosing vulnerable children that are being admitted to the DfA sponsorship program
  • World AIDS Day
  • Memory Books
  • Sanitary pads project, PeePoo
  • Organisation of Funerals by the Fare Well Board
  • Christmas holidays for orphans and Kindergarten children
  • Library
  • Playground

Income generating activities

  • Henhouse
  • Vendition of handiworks
  • Bakery and Catering
  • Beekeeping, cow and calve
  • Vegetable garden

Organizational form

St. Monica Village is being led by a board consisting of three widows and their representatives, as a well as a manager, who is also in charge of selling the handiworks.

The cooperative functions self-sufficiently and receives occasional support by DfA, usually tied to the condition of co-payment on the part of the widows. Income is being generated through the vendition of handicraft and school uniforms, a catering service as well as renting out facilities such as the assembly hall on the compound of the cooperative. The income that is generated through these activities covers all expenditures such as the salaries for the tailor, the kitchen staff and the security guard, as well as expenditures for garden maintenance and purchasing of material required for conducting those activities. A so called “Welfare Board” regularly collects money from single groups in order to compensate for costs of funerals, which families are often not able to pay for.

Support the widows of St. Monica Village

If you would like to support the cooperative, there are several possibilities:

  • Through a voluntary service at St. Monica village in Kenya, according to your individual abilities and set of skills (in consultation with DfA)
  • By visiting St. Monica Village in Nyabondo and thereby showing interest and appreciation
  • By purchasing the window´s handicraft and thereby making the implementation of new projects possible
  • By appropriated donating for St. Monica Village

 

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