Business Box for Families
Our focus as an organization is to help families with economic development and self-reliance all over the world. Our projects are currently centered in Kenya, but our methods are duplicatable and can be implemented anywhere.
We begin with teaching stewardship through gardening, which is a low-cost start up program that allows us to see if the family is willing to really work with us. The goal is to grow the garden for food, and sell the excess to help the family with additional supplies. We typically work with families who fall below the poverty line of living on less than $1.90/day. Through our training, we hope to bring them out of extreme poverty, and create sustainability.
When a family shows good stewardship in growing the gardens, we provide them with a rooster and 5 chickens to start a small chicken breeding program. As an example, one family that we did this with grew their chickens to 40, and are now selling up to 35 eggs each day at 10 cents per egg.
When a family can sell 35 eggs each day, they are now out of extreme poverty and above the poverty line, but we continue to expand with goats for milk as well as cows.
While we continue to fundraise for these programs, we have launched a breeding program for chickens, goats and cows at the training center we built in Nkareta, Kenya. We started with 3 cows, 5 goats, and 50 chickens. We also have a community garden with 40 garden towers.
We are now up to 6 cows, 20 goats, and 66 chickens. The money generated from this goes to help support the training center initiatives like fabric to sew school uniforms, and school fees for families.
The Business Box for Families consists of gardens, chickens, goats, and cows, given to families along with mentoring and education on how to use the resources to generate the most income possible for their families.
Women’s empowerment in Kenya is all about saving time and creating opportunities for education and income. Much of a woman’s day in rural communities is spent gathering water and firewood, and cooking over an open fire inside their huts. It’s dark, smokey, and often they develop respiratory issues as a result.
In addition, women and girls often struggle with menstruation and having access to feminine hygiene products to manage their periods. Often girls will be forced to drop out of school after missing several days a month due to menstruation.
Even if there is feminine hygiene products available, underwear can be scarce, especially for women in the slums and girls in rural Kenya.
Our Women’s Initiatives address these three areas.
Beginning in the Summer of 2015, we helped establish a Days for Girls Enterprise in Nairobi, assisting with fundraising for Christine Sakali to attend the Days for Girls University in Uganda. Christine already had a sewing center where she was employing women from the slums. After becoming certified as an Ambassador for Days for Girls, she began sewing the reusable feminine hygiene kits to distribute to girls in Kenya.
Rather than bring kits from the United States, we wanted to support Christine’s enterprise, and keep the economy in Kenya. We began fundraising for $10 per kit, to allow Christine to purchase supplies and pay her team to sew the kits. Each kit can last up to 3 years when taken care of, allowing a girl to stay in school, rather than miss due to menstruation.
We also helped establish a second Days for Girls Enterprise in Bomet, Kenya, led by our Community Director, Anita Byegon. Between the two enterprises, we have distributed over 5000 kits to women and girls in Kenya, with a goal of 1000 kits each year. The workshops include hygiene, self-defense, and reproductive training, encouraging girls to avoid sex and stay in school.
Marissa Waldrop, our Program Director, is a professional seamstress. She created a 3 piece underwear pattern to make and distribute to girls in the rescue centre we support, and for Christine and Anita’s teams to distribute to women in need. We also have local sew-a-thons to involve our communities here in the U.S. and we take the underwear to Kenya on expeditions. Underwear can prevent rape in Kenya besides providing dignity for women and girls
Cindy Miller heads up The HopeSaC Project, a fabric thermal cooker that she created to teach retained heat cooking. She has brought the HopeSaC kits to Kenya, and has certified over 100 women in how to use them. Women in our communities get together and share recipes. The HopeSaC allows a woman to save incredible amounts of time during the day, as she no longer has to spend hours cooking over a smokey fire.
Education is everything in Kenya, and the best chance at opportunities out of poverty come when a child goes to school, however, the population of Kenya is very young, and even graduating from secondary school isn’t a guarantee. 100 Humanitarians International has sponsored 31 students in school, and 4 have graduated so far. Six will graduate in 2021.
The students we sponsor come from families who are struggling to pay for school fees and feed their families. They are often girls at risk of early marriage, because they aren’t able to stay in school. We sponsor students from several different areas of Kenya, including Nairobi, Bomet, Nkareta, Ntulele, Talek, Suswa, and the Maasai Mara. We also sponsor 6 girls who are in a rescue centre, having run from Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage.
We go further than providing school fees and supplies, however. When school is not in session, we have taken students on expeditions with us to learn how to build garden towers and implement sustainability projects. We have hired students to work for us on projects as well.
Vincent, who graduated in 2018, has worked in a variety of areas. He was trained in sewing to help make the Days for Girls Kits, and now leads our Garden Tower team, building the systems for families in Bomet. This is in collaboration with The USANA Foundation.
Fred recently trained for two weeks in Nkareta on how to manage projects at our training center, including gardening, chickens, goats and cows. Ndee, who is in her final year of secondary school, went to Bomet and met up with Mercy, also in her final year, to learn how to sew, how to build garden towers, and how to raise chicks from one day old.
We want our students to go beyond in school education, and learn how to provide for their own families. We teach entrepreneurship and skills whenever possible.
Training & Cultural Centres
To expand on education and mentoring, we began building training centers for our communities in 2018. We started with Bomet, where we built a training center next to the existing sewing center. Soon after, literacy classes begun with the women, led by Ivan, one of our students who graduated from school.
In the spring of 2019, Scott and Becky Mackintosh’s team led the building of a training center in Nkareta. It is made using earth bag architecture, so hundreds of bags were filled with dirt and then carried to the building site. It took a year to build, with each expedition team contributing to the effort.
In the fall of 2019, Marissa Waldrop set up the sewing center and began teaching the women how to sew underwear. Cindy Miller added the training on how to sew HopeSaCs. We hired a tailor to teach how to sew school uniforms, so that the women in the community could earn an income from the sales of the uniforms.
The training center in Bomet also has a seedling garden, where vegetables are grown to transplant to the garden towers. We are working on creating a chicken brooder to provide chickens to families as well.
The training center in Nkareta is a small farm, with cows, goats, chickens, and gardens with a goal of creating Business Boxes for Families out of them.
Our big goal is to build the Emparnat Cultural Centre on the Maasai Mara, and this year we will complete a guest house where our teams can stay. We have plans for classrooms, a computer lab, a museum, and a large outdoor pavilion to provide a place for traditional Maasai ceremonies in the community.