Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Days for Girls is an organization that was started by Celeste Mergens to solve a problem. Girls around the world have nothing to take care of menstruation, and when she saw that, she set out to create a resuable feminine hygiene pad. 

When we went to Bomet to teach hygiene, we realized that organizing a Days for Girls Enterprise there would be beneficial to the community and especially the women in that area. After a donation to start the Enterprise, Anita and Christine got everything set up and organized. 

Our first workshop in Bomet, we were able to provide toothbrushes and toothpaste to the women there, after a donation from Brandy Vega and Good Deed Revolution. Brandy had received a donation of dental supplies, and decided to take it, not knowing where it needed to go. We ended up connecting and taking it off of her hands for her. Good Deed Revolution wrote a story about it. 

Choosing the Five Families

Moses and David headed to Bomet to scout out hotels and meet with Anita. She chose five families that could benefit from receiving a part of our Business Box for Families program. Those families included

Facity and her five children 
Mercy and Vincent 
Ivyn and Faith, who were being watched over by their uncle because their parents were diagnosed with HIV
Monica and her four boys, two of whom were blind
Julianna and her daughters, Mercy and Faith

Each family had unique challenges that we could address, but first we wanted to meet with them and get to know them. Connection with people is a priority for 100 Humanitarians International. 

The number of women grew throughout the afternoon, as word spread that we were teaching. By the end, there were over 100 women there, and they were ALL interested in learning how to sew, and receiving Days for Girls kits. 

After the workshop, we had a big old dance party, and celebrated with the community. Things were about to change for them, and they didn’t even really realize the impact that having these kits would have on their lives. It was really beautiful, and lots of tears were shed. 

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel takes care of everyone. On my very first trip to Kenya in March 2015, I got to know Heather and watch her absolute JOY from being in Kenya. I remember thinking, “She is going to squeeze every drop of happiness from this experience.” She danced, sang, and hugged everyone who came across her path. 

On our last night on the Maasai Mara, we stayed way up in the hills at a cultural village, and slept in a mud hut built for tourists. We had killed a goat for dinner, and I was out of snacks. I was taking antibiotics for malaria prevention, and taking antibiotics on a relatively empty stomach except for a small amount of goat was probably the worst idea of my life. 

It was around 2am and I was miserable, but Heather got up with me, gave me her last protein bar, walked me to the washroom in the pitch black with Maasai warriors guarding us from lions, and made sure that I stayed alive. 

That may seem dramatic, but that’s how it felt at the time. 

The Role of a Team Lead

Team Leads are critical on expeditions, and Heather was amazing on our second expedition. She made sure all of the snacks (and we had 7 kids on that trip, so there were a LOT of snacks) were organized. All of the ziploc bags were set up according to size, and she was in charge of keeping track of the donations and where they were going. She was amazing. She’s the type of person who takes care of everyone around her and forgets herself. 

Being in Kenya with Heather is just awesome, and you can see that she loves it, too!

We have a lot of fun on expeditions in Kenya, largely because of the incredible people who come with us on our trips. Strangers upon arrival leave Kenya as family, and bonds are created that will last a lifetime. 

We need Kenya more than Kenya needs us. The experiences we have change us on the inside, and we are able to see humanity in a different light. It’s powerful. It’s transformational. It’s permanent. 

Do you want to join us on an expedition to Kenya? Sign up for information on when our next trips are happening!

Youth Education: Ivyn’s Story

Youth Education: Ivyn’s Story

Youth Education: Ivyn’s Story

Youth education is critical in Kenya, and in fact, they will tell you that education is everything. So, when we met Ivyn, a sweet 15 year old girl whose family was struggling to pay school fees, we knew that we had an opportunity to change her life, and the lives of her siblings, for the better. 

Ivyn’s parents were diagnosed as HIV positive, and a few years earlier, her mom had left her children and the community because of the stigma. Their father, an alcoholic, was not in a good place to take care of his children, so an uncle stepped in. At age 15, girls are considered adults, and eligible for marriage. That was what Ivyn was facing, although her desire was to finish school. 

As we stepped into the hut, the smell of smoke engulfed us. It was a round, open hut, and in poor condition. The thought of children living there was horrifying, but that is common across much of the rural and needy areas of Kenya. You can just imagine how a child would study, much less get the nutrition and support needed for an education. 

The Cost of School Fees

In Kenya, school fees can be incredibly challenging for families with a lot of children. They range from $10 per term to $50 per term for Primary School, plus supplies and uniforms. For Secondary School, it’s another story. Typically Secondary School is boarding school, so the costs jump to anywhere from $550 to $750 each year. For a family making less than $1/day…well, that’s easy math. It’s impossible. 

That is where 100 Humanitarians International comes in. We sponsor 27 students each year, both Primary and Secondary School, and fundraise for the school fees through our website, Facebook fundraisers, and expeditions. Our monthly donors contribute $25/month for school fees, and all combined, that can keep a child in school each year. We’ve had four graduates from our program, including Ivyn. 

Shortly after we started sponsoring Ivyn, her father passed away, and her mother moved home. We helped her grow gardens, donated a goat to help her with income and nutrition, and continued to support Ivyn. Sadly, Ivyn’s mother passed away last year, but she has the education and the ability to help provide school fees for her younger siblings. She is now their caregiver. 

You can see what the inside of Ivyn’s home looked like. It was dingy and full of soot and smoke. After her mom returned, the community helped build her a new home. In March 2018, we donated a goat to her family, and then in November 2020, our garden team built Ivyn Garden Tower Systems

The latest news, is that Ivyn is getting married! We are so excited for her new adventures, and have been told that she is very happy. 

100 Humanitarians International would love your help to provide school fees for students like Ivyn. As I mentioned, we have 27 students that we are supporting right now, and 6 of them are getting ready to graduate. If you would like to help, just donate below, or set up a monthly donation and help a student ongoing! 

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Meeting Anita was truly divine intervention. When we decided to do back to back expeditions for a month, we had everything planned out for the first team. The projects were set, and we were ready to roll. So ready, that we didn’t plan the second expedition coming a few days after the first one. This was a big problem. We had 6 moms and 7 kids going on that trip! 

A few weeks before the trip, Moses said, “In the fall we should go to Bomet.” 

“Where’s Bomet?” I asked.

“It’s in the next county,” Moses replied.

I didn’t think anything beyond that, and later in the week my housecleaner mentioned that her friend in England worked in Kenya, and she should connect us. I ended up talking to him and asking him where he worked in Kenya.

“I work in Bomet,” he responded. 

Hmmm. That’s two, right? Don’t these things come in threes?

I reached out to Heather, who had been on my very first trip to Kenya in March 2015, and said, “Gut reaction. Are we going to the Mau Forrest, or to Bomet, on the second trip?”

“Hang on,” she said.

A few minutes later, she said, “When we were in Kenya last year, a woman messaged me and asked me if we would come and do a project in her village. She’s from Bomet, but lives in Mombasa now.” 

That’s three.

We meet so many people in life, but we connect to the heart of very few. We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. That is what exactly happened after our meeting,” said Anita.

Choosing the Five Families

Moses and David headed to Bomet to scout out hotels and meet with Anita. She chose five families that could benefit from receiving a part of our Business Box for Families program. Those families included

Facity and her five children 
Mercy and Vincent 
Ivyn and Faith, who were being watched over by their uncle because their parents were diagnosed with HIV
Monica and her four boys, two of whom were blind
Julianna and her daughters, Mercy and Faith

Each family had unique challenges that we could address, but first we wanted to meet with them and get to know them. Connection with people is a priority for 100 Humanitarians International. 

Anita led us to Facity’s house first, where we met the family, including Facity’s mother-in-law, who cried tears of joy that there was going to be help for her grandchildren. A cow had been donated to Facity, so we walked the cow down the road to her home, and the whole village came out to greet us and sing to us.

It was a really beautiful day, with much love, and we realized that working with Anita would be a huge blessing for our organization. 

Four years later, we still work with Anita. She has moved back to her home, and has two beautiful daughters, runs large commercial chicken operations, leads the Days for Girls Enterprise we support in Bomet, and manages all of our projects, including building 200 Garden Tower Systems with families that is funded by The USANA Foundation

Mentoring Families: Facity’s Story

Mentoring Families: Facity’s Story

Mentoring Families in Kenya: Facity’s Story

Mentoring families in Kenya is something that is an area that we saw a huge need four years ago when we met Facity in Bomet. Facity is a widow with 5 children, and when we met her, her husband had passed away, leaving her with zero income. Her in-laws and the local community had helped feed her family and pay for school fees, but that help was running out as so many families are struggling in rural Kenya.

Thanks to our friend, Erin Preston, we were able to have a cow donated to Facity, that our team delivered to her family in May 2016. Facity has farming skills, but her farm was not producing much to support her family. When we met her, we assessed the resources that she had, and decided to start with a cow, so that she would be able to sell the milk. We added a goat, 5 chickens, and raised garden beds (later replaced by Garden Tower Systems) to track the results. 

Mentoring families is the core of what we do in Kenya, and all of our efforts go to help the individual members of the families we work with to succeed in life and change a future generation. 

“I ended up as the family’s breadwinner when my husband died many years ago due to a short illness.
I knew I needed to work hard if I didn’t want my children to go hungry,” said Facity.

The Impact on Facity’s Family

Four years later, Facity is in a very different financial situation. Typically a woman in Kenya who is widowed or single with no education has no option but to work for $1 per day working in someone’s field away from her children. Our goal working with Facity, was to provide that income through our Business Box for Families program, with an opportunity to be able to expand her income as much as she wants through stewardship. 

We started with a cow for Facity, but now we start with Garden Tower Systems to teach stewardship, because the cost is lower and produces food for a family as well as possibility for income. Where she began with $0 income, she now is able to sell milk for $1 per day, eggs for $5 per week, and selling vegetables can vary, but can range from $2 – $5 each week. 

Facity currently has 4 cows, 4 goats, 15 chickens, and 2 garden towers to work with. She is able to feed her family and pay for her children’s school fees. She has the ability to expand her small farm each year, and grow her income. 

The benefits that Facity has experienced are not only financial, but emotional and mental, too. She has been mentored by Anita Byegon, our Community Director in Bomet. Anita shared that Facity has gained confidence over the years in her ability to take care of what we have given her. She believes in herself. She knows that in spite of being a widow, she can overcome challenges and provide for her family. 

Facity’s children are also learning the skills of gardening and raising animals, which can change their future, because Facity can pay it forward as they get old and start their own families.

Their lives are also changing as they are being educated, because Facity can pay school fees for them. The Business Box for Families concept can change the economy for a family in 18 months, with long term impact for changing the next generation.

100 Humanitarians International has been working with families for the past four years. We are currently building Garden Tower Systems, and providing chickens to 200 families in Bomet, where Facity lives. We use Facity as the example of what is possible for these families, knowing that as we help with entrepreneurship, we will impact the communities they live in as well. 

When you donate to our Mentoring Families program, 100% goes to provide the resources for a family in Kenya to change their lives!