Hello Wonderful Friends and Family,
I happy to share so special news with you, I am returning to Kenya this summer!
The past two summers I have spent three weeks working with a team from my church in Kenya. The church I attend, Ecclesia Hollywood (www.churchinhollywood.com), supports the indigenous aid groups, Ghetto Light Youth and Homecare Fellowship in the Kibera Slum of Nairobi, Kenya. The main focus of these organizations is to care for orphans, teens and widows affected by poverty and AIDS, by providing everything from meals to schooling to developing sustainable businesses. They are supported by Tirzah International (http://www.tirzahinternational.org/), an amazing organization working to empower women and children across the globe.
My experience these past two summers were nothing short of life changing. These children are so hungry for love and attention. Despite the fact that most of them only own 1 or 2 outfits, their shoes are falling apart, they may not eat for days at a time and face horrendous abuse, all they want is to hold your hand and to know you will return next year. How can I say no to such a simple request?
I left Kenya hungry to do more. Asking myself, how can I help these children in a meaningful way? This summer I will be returning with Ecclesia to work with Homecare Fellowship and Ghetto Light Youth once again. We will run the camp for Homecare and Ghetto Light Youth, in addition to working in the feeding centers and schools run by Homecare within Kibera.
A few facts about Kibera:
- Kibera is the largest slum in Africa, the second largest in the world.
- 1.5 million people live in an area the size of Central Park.
- One in five children will not live to see their 5th birthday.
- Only 8% of girls will have the opportunity to go to school.
- 66% of girls will have traded sex for food by the time they turn 16.
Last year I not only raised the money for my trip but also reached my dream of raising $10,000 to start an educational fund children of Homecare Fellowship. This fund is providing first aid, school supplies, test fees, desk fees and other things that would keep children out of school otherwise. I can’t tell you how great the need is for these these things. Running our first aid tent last year, most of these children had never seen a Band-Aid and most certainly did not know how to take care of their infected wounds. The schools that we visited had no books, paper or writing utensils. The teachers simply lectured from the few resources they had to a group of children ages 3 to 16. And clothes. Most of the children only have one or two outfits and shoes that are falling apart. In a slum with no running water or sewage system, this puts them at extreme risk for many diseases.
I know that I can’t fix everything that these amazing kids face each day, but I can strive to make their lives just a little bit better. We are looking to make a generational change, to help them to get a classroom education along with educating them on health and wellness. And most importantly we want to show them that they are LOVED beyond measure. Please help me to continue this movement.
So the fundraising quest begins now. I am getting a late start this year and our flight costs are due in a matter of weeks. Below is the breakdown of just how your money will be put to use and all the ways you can help. Every little bit helps, even $10! And all contributions are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
- Flight Cost: Approximately $2000
- Ecclesia Kenya Team Cost: $1500 (includes lodging, travel, food,camp supplies, etc.)
- Medical, School and Clothing Supplies: my goal is to raise $10,000, but the more you give the more we will be able to provide these amazing kids!
How To Donate:
-Click on "Log in to Online Giving"
-Create new account or log in as returning member
-Select "Kenya Mission Team 2012" under "Fund" drop-down menu
-Choose "Paige Smith" under "Sub Fund" drop-down menu
Donate by Check: Make checks payable to Ecclesia Hollywood
- mark in the memo “Paige Smith - Kenya”
- mail to: Paige Smith, 1006 Everett Pl, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
Other ways you can help:
Forward this email on to anyone who might be interested in the cause.
Tweet about it! Follow me @paigecsmith and post the link below.
Facebook me! Post a link to this letter:
Blog about it! Share your thoughts and this awesome cause!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter, I know it’s a long one but it is difficult to sum up just how important these people and their struggles are to me. They have given me far more than I will ever be able to give them but I won’t give up trying!
If you have any questions please feel free to email or call. And for more information check out my blog:www.paigerinkenya.blogspot.com.