Clothing Drive

After a HUGE effort on the parts of our Board members, our fabulous volunteers and an amazing amount of donors; our clothing drive for Kuamini was a HUGE success! We are talking 16, 851 pounds of success as that is what we were able to collect. This large amount of clothing and household items has yielded us a cheque of just over $2200! This money will go a long way to help us achieve our goals in Kenya. We are currently building a latrine, running a food program and running an awesome education program as well. We have so much to be proud of!

Here are a few photos from the clothing drive and also a few photos from the team Kenya, showing our new latrine!

J and T clothing drive

volunteers clothing drive

clothing drive

new latrine june 2015

We are currently running an online trunk sale of beautiful Stella and Dot accessories as our most current fundraiser. You can shop online from the comfort of your own home by following the link on our Facebook page. A portion of the sales will be going to Kuamini.

We are also in the planning stages of a golf tournament fundraiser. This will be a fun event in Brant County. A truly wonderful way to spend time on the golf course and raise money for a wonderful cause.

If you haven’t started to follow us on Facebook yet now would be the perfect time. There are lots of photos and updates to let you know what Kuamini is up to!

building latrine june 2015

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Trip to Kenya

In less than one month, this beautiful family is travelling to Kenya. This is the Ombunga family and parents Jackson and Amanda sit on the Board of Kuamini. (see Jackson’s story in an earlier post!). The whole family is travelling to Kenya in December where they will be making lots of headway for our charity. They will be distributing mosquito netting, books and clothing and they will also be building a large community latrine while there. How exciting is that?

We can’t wait to hear about their visit and share pictures with everyone about their progress.

ombungas

Meet Jaclyn Snook : Vice president of Kuamini

jaclyn 2

 

When you first meet Jaclyn you immediately become drawn to her bright, beautiful smile and her welcoming way. What lies beneath that smile however, is one of the most selfless and caring individuals I have ever come across. Jaclyn truly puts the needs of others ahead of her own and has dedicated so much of her young life to helping others.

Recently I sat down and asked Jaclyn some questions about her life’s work and her past experiences. She shared her story and some fabulous photos with me. This is definitely worth the read and it will give you even more of a glimpse at what a dynamic team that is Kuamini.

Q) What makes Kuamini important to you

A) Kuamini means believe and this exactly why this organization means so much to me. I believe that each and every child deserves to have a chance in life to reach their full potential, I believe that each person deserves to live with the basic human rights such as clean drinking water, a safe living situation and education. I believe that there is someone greater who is looking out for those in need and walking step by step through life’s struggles and trials. I believe that as a team we will see change and we will be a part of something great! My personal life is focused around the word believe and so Kuamini is just an extension of that.

Q) What are your past experiences with Africa and with your charity work?

A) I have volunteered in in Uganda on two separate occasions. Once for three months and a second time for 15 months. While I was living there I worked for an organization who had three babies homes throughout the country. I was able to work alongside wonderful men and women who had given their lives to help the most vulnerable children in the country. It changed my life forever. I was able to care for hundreds of children on a daily basis some with great medical needs and some who were orphaned. I experienced the greatest loss that any human could go through while I was there, the death of a child. I saw many children leave this earth despite the efforts of medical professionals. But still my heart believed in change and in a better future for the country. I am currently living in Canada but my heart is daily with my Ugandan family believing alongside them that soon their struggles and trials will subside.

Q) What are your future goals and can you tell us a little but about your personal background?

A) My future goals are to hopefully one day live in Africa and dedicate my life fully to helping those less fortunate that I. But until then I will continue to do the same for the people in my own backyard.

I grew up in a family of four with one older brother. I love music and horses. I love traveling and seeing how others around the world live.

jaclyn 1

Every Little Bit Counts

I have talked to a lot of people over the past few years, about volunteering. The most common reason that I have heard the most as to why people don’t volunteer is that they don’t have time. This was followed in a close second by people thinking they can’t offer enough to make a difference. Be it money, time, volunteering for events, spreading the word or any of the many tasks that we perform as members of Kuamini; I have grown to realize that every little bit counts. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we can’t solve all of the problems that exist but I think it’s important to focus on the little differences that we can make. Every person has something great to offer and the ability to impact the lives of others. This is something I truly believe and I live by it every day.

underestimate

What is a latrine?

 

One of the biggest issues that we, Team Kuamini, have identified as a concern in Kenya is the shortage of latrines. Without latrines or bathrooms, people have no choice but to relieve themselves in open spaces. Apart from not being ideal on a personal level, this also creates a huge problem in regards to water. Without bathrooms or latrines it is impossible to maintain clean water and as a result, impossible to maintain good health.

Kuamini has started fundraising and we are spending our first round of profits on building latrines. At approximately $600 Canadian dollars a latrine is quite a luxury in Kenya. But for those of us who have the benefit of flushing toilets, what exactly is a latrine??

A latrine, in simple form is a minimal, simple, pit toilet. There are several different types of latrines and many are based on what materials are available, the knowledge of building a latrine and of course the funds to do so.

It is our hope that we can provide latrines throughout the more desolate areas of Kenya so that when we are able to aid in the clean water issue, we will be able to help keep that water clean and free of human waste.

Below are pictures of a few different latrine styles. One of the goals of our team is that we will be able to teach people living in Kenya to build latrines so that they can earn a living doing that and they will be helping their community in doing so.

covered latrine

common latrine

cement latrine

Garage Sale Fundraiser

On Saturday we held very first fundraiser…a garage sale. It was a great success! Thanks to the donations within the community, the hard work of our volunteers and of course to our “customers” who purchased items at the sale. We managed to generate enough funds to build our very first latrine in Kenya! It feels really good to see our first event become a success. It just goes to prove that when we set our minds to something and we all help…great things happen!

success

Meet Jackson – President of Kuamini

Born in a field without any medical assistance, Jackson Ombunga Olumasai joined the world in a small village in Western Kenya called Shianda Butere. At the age of nine Jackson suffered the loss of his loving mother and went to live with his Grandmother. At the age of twelve he then went to live under the care of his father and step mother. Wanting to attend school, Jackson had to raise the equivalent of twenty five cents daily for school fees and food.

Each day presented struggles for this young man who worked so hard to create a future for himself. Living under the primary care of his step-mother Jackson soon came to realize that she lacked compassion and care towards him. He was physically beaten by her and was forced to share food with the family dog. On occasion Jackson was provided with food intended for humans however it was often five days old and riddled with flies and cockroaches. Jackson was regularly sent home from school as he didn’t have the necessary supplies, had holes in his uniform or wasn’t able to pay the fees.

Eventually his step mother relocated herself to the city leaving Jackson alone for the most part. In order to fend for himself he would climb a mango or guava tree so he could nourish himself with the fruit. After school he would return home, wash his uniform and would often have to climb the fruit trees as there was nothing to eat for dinner. During this time Jackson survived by doing casual jobs and caring for his father’s cows. He lived in a small structure that provided no electricity and filled with water when it rained. He owned two sets of clothing, one of which was his school uniform. He got his very first pair of shoes at the age of nineteen.

When Jackson completed his schooling he moved to Nairobi. This presented new opportunities for him and he was able to start his career with Asira Foundation. During that time he also volunteered with various organizations including Nyumbani Children’s Home, Kabiro Trust and the Starfish Charity.

Along with supporting himself and contributing to his community, Jackson met a wonderful and compassionate Canadian woman named Amanda. She would eventually become his wife and five years later they moved to Canada. The couple now have three beautiful sons and play a very active role in Kuamini.  Jackson is our Board President and helps to lead us in the direction that allows us to best give a hand up to people in Kenya. His life experiences and knowledge of the country are the foundation of our mission. We also applaud and acknowledge how Jackson has overcome his struggles and committed a large part of his life to make things better.