The Umoja Orphanage team in Kenya.
The Umoja Orphanage team in Kenya.

Providing hope to poverty stricken Kenya

DETERMINED to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, Cathy Booth is an instigator of hope in poverty stricken Kenya.

With her team of volunteers and support from Rotary International, Sunrise Rotary Bundaberg and Australian Aid, they have been able to establish the Umoja Orphanage.

With the majority of volunteers being either farmers, builders, nurses or vets, the work they are doing is unparalleled.

Fifty of the locals are being trained in fencing, building and have been given basic animal first aid.

There are now six locals that have been fully trained in both electrical and ordinary fencing without assistance.

Having treated 700 people, the 250 free health clinics where medical aid is provided has immensely improved the mindset of the locals and undoubtedly general hygiene of the population, Ms Booth said.

Due to the lack of antibiotics the clinic has seen problems such as breast cancer, chronic skin conditions, severe malnutrition, ulcerated sores, poor eyesight, and burrowing worms in the feet and hands.

The medical supplies, reading glasses and sunglasses donated or purchased by the funds given by the people of Bundaberg in June have brought many smiles to frowning faces.

Amongst the donated items was a stroller.

This stroller has gone further than anyone could have imagined. Now a boy, 4, who is severely disabled, no longer has to be carried by his mother and he is able to have neck support he needs.

One of the key problems faced when building their village was water sanitation.

However, after a $42,000 grant from Australian Aid saw to the construction of a three story water tower, holding up to 50,000L.

As the orphanage has their own borehole and now a sufficient clean water supply, they provide free water to neighbouring villages.

Of the 15 acres the orphanage is built on, two are being utilised for crop production.

This not only acts as a food source, but also as a way of producing income and paying for expenses.

Hygiene and self-sufficiency is vital for the continuation of the orphanage.

"Sanitation is essential; I wouldn't house a child until I'm certain we can provide for them."

The orphanage is a real and active alternative to child abandonment.

It strives to create a holistic environment for children to have a second chance at life and diminishes the cycle of poverty in Kenya.

Despite the economic challenges faced, Ms Booth and her team are hoping to have finished the first children's home by April next year with only $13,000 remaining on the completion.

The Umoja team are currently applying for grants and hoping to raise money to purchase an ambulance after the house is built to reduce mortality rates within the community.

With 25 volunteers already wanting to go back to Kenya in 2016, it proves that when you set a goal and work hard, you can achieve anything.

"Without all the support from the Bundaberg and wider community, including overseas donors we could not have achieved what we have," Ms Booth said.

"I am incredibly grateful."

If you wish to donate head to their website: www.umojahome.com.

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