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Sustainability Plans at Kipkaren Children’s Home

December 21, 2011 by admin
Children’s Home mango ‘shamba’
Sustainability is an important concept within our organization. In all areas of empowerment we seek to create pathways where our work can generate resources for continued ministry health. Even at the Children’s Home, where our ministry is more helps oriented, sustainability is important.
On a recent Saturday afternoon I followed the Kipkaren Children’s Home Director, John Busienei, to look over all the different sustainability plans underway. It was truly exciting to see plans in action and future plans, all with the goal of providing either food for the children or sources of income to purchase some of things needed by the home not covered by donor gifts.
Orange trees are beginning to bear small fruit.
We started in the lower ‘shamba’ farm. This shamba is dedicated to growing fruit trees. Over sixty mango and orange trees have been planted in fertile soil down near the river. Fresh fruit can be expensive and providing fruit for one hundred children is even costlier. Growing it ourselves makes good sense; in just a couple of years we should be able to harvest our own mangoes and oranges!

The next stop was on the path along the river bank where bee hives are nestled in the trees. Honey is enjoyed by many people in our area and can be sold too! Another source of food and profit!

Blue Gum Trees grow along the path towards the river. In a few years these will be harvested for firewood with new trees plants in their place.

As we continued down the pathway I admired all the tall trees which provided nice shade for our walk. These trees are being raised for firewood. Blue Gum trees grow quickly and once mature one tree can provide firewood for two weeks. The trees have been planted along the edges of the river to provide enough firewood to keep the cook fires going for a year, with more trees planted each time one is cut down. More self-sustainability in practice!

This fish pond will supply the Children’s Home with fresh fish in the future!

As we turned away from the river and began walking through the Blue Gum forest we came upon a pond, but not a natural one. This pond was dug by hand, fed by the nearby creek. The purpose of this pond – to raise fish! Over one thousand tiny Tilapia fish have been set loose in the pond to grow and breed. In a year or so the children’s home should be able to start eating and selling fish. What a great source of protein for the children as well as another means to provide some income for future needs.

Our banana trees produce lots of bananas for the children!

As we left the fish pond we passed by two upper shambas. One is full of tall banana plants. As you can imagine, the children really enjoy eating fruit and bananas are a favorite. One great plus is that our weather is warn throughout the year so banana plants produce well.

Picking sukuma leaves for today’s lunch.

The last shamba brought us back to the play area near our house. This shamba was full of girls harvesting handfuls of greens. Lunchtime was near and they were getting sukuma to cook for today’s lunch. This lower shamba is used throughout the year to grow different foods needed by the children’s home. Earlier this year it was full of maize which was harvested in August and September. Now it is growing healthy greens, a nice addition to meals of ugali or rice.

Saturday lunch in the Matekwa gazebo

As we walked the last few steps back to the children’s home I was so happy to know that this place has so many things in place to provide for the children. They are well cared for in so many ways! Mungu in mwema – God is good!

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Categories: Kenya Sustainable Ag