African Inland Church (A.I.C.) Tumaini Youth Center is a nonprofit program under the fiscal sponsorship of New Horizons Foundation 501(c)3. Our program is a partnership between the Colorado branch and the Kitali, Kenya orphanage. Our sole purpose is to provide housing, food, medical care, and education for the orphans in Kitali, Kenya.
The life expectancy of people in sub-Saharan Africa remains very low despite significant technological progress in other parts of the world. Outside of healthcare programs to improve these outcomes, there are simultaneously a growing number of orphans on the streets of Kitali due to parental deaths from HIV infections and other preventable diseases. Some youth leave their homes in search of a better home and opportunities. Our purpose is to change the outcomes for these children by providing what they need to have successful healthy lives. At this time, we are seeking funding to help them generate more income for their orphanage to better support the youth in their care.
We bring hope and security to abandoned and orphaned children in the city of Kitale, Kenya. We do this by providing for their basic needs in a loving environment as we introduce them to Jesus Christ.
Our program founder, Mike Heid, has spent more than 40 years helping missions in 20 countries, including many in Africa. He saw the way in which they suffered: extended bellies from starvation, shacks for homes, no running water or sewage disposal, as well as seriously short life expectancies. He began with mission work in Mexico and Ecuador. This quickly turned into a mission sponsorship program. He also began sponsoring children through various Christian organizations worldwide.
In 2007, Mr. Heid attended the Shepherd’s Conference in California. Among the 5,000 in attendance, Mr. Heid found himself communicating with Pastor Isaac Ginkonyo. This conversation led to the relationship between the Tumaini Youth Center and the newly formed sister unit of the Colorado Mission Committee for Tumaini Youth Center.
The center shelters and provides for approximately 50 orphaned and displaced children on a regular basis. Focus areas of support include: shelter, clothing, food, medicine, and education. The second objective is for producing income generating projects for the center to use to generate self-sustaining income. This is where the Colorado Committee provides construction project management and financial assistance to accomplish the project through donations.
There are approximately 250,000-300,000 homeless children in Kenya’s larger cities according to the most recent Unicef report. 63% of the cities’ homeless children have lived on the streets either on a part-time or full-time basis for up to five years according to Kenya Children of Hope, a Nairobi-based NGO. More than 12% have been on the streets for 6-10 years. 13% cannot remember how they ended up on the streets.
The reasons for their homelessness vary. Some have left abusive homes or homes with alcoholic or drug-addicted parents. Others have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. Some lost parents to genocide. Many are orphaned simply because healthcare is limited. Some were abandoned. Many think they can accomplish a better life on their own rather than stay where they are. Most lack adequate care because their family members are doing a lot to barely survive. Girls constitute 25% of the countable population of Nairobi’s street kids. Under the age of five, that percentage grows to 45%. This is a huge factor when considering employment options available to them.
It is easier for the boys to find work than it is for girls. Jobs are frequently in alignment with collecting trash, unloading merchandise for markets, and doing odd jobs. It is often easier to become involved in drug trafficking or organized crime than it is to find viable employment. This is not the case for girls. Girls need the protection of family members or a boyfriend. Their only other alternative is prostitution.
Our mission is important because without our help, these children will live very short, desperate, and miserable lives. They did not choose this. This was the world they were born into. Without the help of programs such as the Tumaini Youth Center, their futures would remain bleak.
We have completed one project similar to the project we are requesting your assistance for. The previous apartment project has four apartments that provide self-sustaining income for the Tumaini Youth Center’s daily operations.
The first project was a girls dormitory at the Tumaini Youth Center which provided needed housing for the staff and the orphans they serve. It has 12 small private rooms for the teens and 6 shared rooms for the younger girls. The girls share bathrooms. It houses 24 orphaned or abandoned girls along with staff members. It is 3,216 square feet. Total cost of the construction and furnishings was $57,000. We have also planted a banana forest, provided animals for their farm, installed an irrigation system, and provided a mill grinder that allows them to increase crop production.
During this past 4 years livestock (cows, chickens, pigs, goats) numbers have doubled in size. These increases were made possible through donations, which have enabled TYC to sell some of the offspring for operating expenses. We also raise our own feed crops such as hay and corn and sell the excess in good years.
One of our most productive projects was a new irrigation system completed in 2017. The cost was $1,875 U.S. dollars. This irrigation system provides water during the dry season (5 to 6 months per year). This allows the center to grow corn, cabbage, tomatoes and beans for the children and staff to consume all year. Any excess crops are sold for additional funds for the orphanage.
The new irrigation system allowed the staff to cultivate a plot for a small banana plantation. The staff planted 130 plants. Approximately 100 of them have already successfully produced banana plants. These plants will be trees producing fruit in the next year.
During the past 18 months, the TYC staff has also put together a grinding mill. This allows them to grind grains and legumes on site eliminating transporting the grains off site for processing.
Our largest undertaking to date for projects at the Tumaini Youth Center was a four-unit apartment complex. This complex was completed in the spring of 2017. Not only does it provide needed housing in the area, it also generates annual income for operations at TYC. The building construction was a $60,000 project. Due to security being a major issue in Kenya, donations were also used to construct a security wall that surrounds the apartment complex. This is a mandatory amenity in order for the apartments to be rentable in the area.