Happy Holidays!

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It’s hard to believe it is already the holiday season. The year in Embu, Kenya has been busy with 20 kids under sponsorship and the birth of Joseph and Dorris’ baby girl, Alison. The kids are spread out across the region attending various schools and colleges, but will be home at the end of their school year in time to celebrate Christmas. Faith and family are the center of Christmas in Kenya with most familes returning to their homes “upcountry”. Some of our kids will be reuniting with family during this special time, but many will remain with Joseph and Dorris to celebrate. 

While Kenyans have little focus on extravagant gift giving, the holidays are a time that Moja Foundation has been fortunate to provide holidays meals and basic essentials to our sponsored children and the community at large. If you are considering any charitable contributions to your Christmas list, take a look below to see how far your donation can go to provide some very deserving kids with gifts they truly need and the joy of knowing they are loved.

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Summer News

We have had a busy year so far and want to share some of our exciting news and highlights from the trip to Kenya.

My dad, Aunt Diane, and I (Alison) were thrilled to be a part of Joseph's wedding in April. He married Dorris in a lovely ceremony attended by their family members, our sponsored kids and their guardians, and many members of the community. It was such a special day - an awesome reminder of how far Joseph has come and the impact he is making in so many lives. 

After the wedding we had the pleasure of spending time with the children from the program. We ate, danced, sang and laughed a lot. We also were able to visit several of secondary students' homes and meet the guardians that are caring for them after the death of their parents. Joseph, Doris, my dad, my aunt and I went on safari for a couple days and were able to enjoy some of the amazing scenery, wildlife and people that make Kenya so special. 

Checkout some of the highlights in the slideshow below. 

 

Welcome Ferdinand!

One of our cows, Mary, gave birth to a baby bull in May. We had our supporters vote on a name given four choices, and Ferdinand was the overwhelming winner. We try to stay connected to our supporters through Instagram and Facebook, so if you don't already, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Current Needs

School Fees

Neema, Linus, and Hillary all need additional money for their school fees, whether it be a one-time donation or ongoing sponsorship.
Neema is currently in her second year of nursing school. She has 4 terms left at a cost of $900 per term for tuition and room and board. She has one sponsor helping with part of the costs, but she needs additional assistance to be able to finish her degree.
Linus is in his second year of high school. He needs $30/month to cover his fees.
Hillary is a very bright student, but he was walking and hour an a half each way to school. We have enrolled him in a boarding school. Hillary has a sponsor, but we need an additional $25/month to cover his fees.

Last week, a strong wind came through and knocked down the entire cow shed! Joseph and a worker had some injuries and were taken to the hospital. Two of the cows were cut and required treatment. Although most of the structure has been put back up with a new, stronger foundation, we need a new storage for the cow feed. Unfortunately, much of it started rotting in the rain before Joseph could get it moved into a dry space while the new construction was happening. The cows are a big part of the income generation for the program, so we need to make sure they are well taken care of. $185 is needed to build the food storage shed. 

If you have any questions about donations or our work in Kenya, please don't hesitate to contact Alison Mistak at mojafoundation@gmail.com.  Click for donation information.

2016 Annual Report

Jambo Moja Foundation Friends and Family!

                                                      Doris, Evelyn, Jackie, Charles, Peter, Joseph

                                                      Doris, Evelyn, Jackie, Charles, Peter, Joseph

We thank you so much for helping us grow in 2016. You sent kids to school who otherwise would not be able to go. You provided food for children who were hungry. You gave clothes and shoes to kids who had outgrown the only pair of shoes they own. You provided letters and words of encouragement from the other side of the world. You gave deserving kids the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

I am always amazed at the commitment and compassion you display for children most of you have never met in person. As we continue to focus on providing quality care and support to a relatively small number of amazing kids, we hope you feel like a part of our family and community. We think of you as a member of our Moja Foundation family. We definitely could not do this work without you!

Alison and Joseph

2016 donations increased by 260%. Wohoo! Okay, some of that is due to the fact we didn't officially take effect as a 501c3 until mid 2015. However, we did get several new regular sponsors and had three fundraisers including the rummage sale, silent auction and holiday treat sales. I would love to be able to commit more time to fundraising because while we are grateful for love and prayers, we really cannot do much without money. Having a regular job and two young kids doesn't leave a lot of free time. So,if you have any fundraising ideas you want to try on your own or with us, let me know. Talking to your friends or sharing on social media are also a super ways to help us.

 

Although getting more donations is great, it is pretty meaningless if the money is not spent effectively. Of course, the majority of our expenses goes directly towards the needs of the children. Joseph works hard to make sure each child gets the best education possible and searches for the most appropriate school for each child. In 2016, we had six students in primary, six in secondary, and one studying nursing at the university level. 

Other needs funded include clothing, food and medical care. Unfortunately, one of out children was sexually assaulted last year and we have allocated extra funding for counseling and court costs. Rent covers the cost of the apartment where Joseph and five of the children live when they are not at school. Project expenses include some of our income-generating projects like cows and a farm truck. Travel covers the cost for Joseph to visit the various school and projects and my airfare to visit Joseph and the children in April (I can't wait!). And finally, everyone's favorite, bank fees, is the cost of wiring money to Kenya and credit card processing.   

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February 2016

Four New Students Join Secondary School

                                                Meet Linus, Jackline, Hilary and Alex

                                                Meet Linus, Jackline, Hilary and Alex

Moja Foundation is thrilled to support four children in secondary school! In Kenya, secondary (high school) is not free, and as a result, only about half of all Kenyan children ever attend secondary. The students were chosen from the local community based on ability and need. All of them have been orphaned or are living in extreme poverty. Through our end-of-the-year fundraising efforts we were able to have enough money raised for their first term and initial costs (uniform, books, etc). However, we do not have a source of ongoing funds to support the rest of the year. Their school fees run about $76 per term, which can be broken down to $20/month if you are interested in supporting one of the students. Or you can give any type of donation to go to their general education fund. You can donate online http://www.mojafoundation.com/about/ or contact Alison at mojafoundation@gmail.com to set up monthly donations. 

Jackline is 15. She is the second youngest of 10 children. She enjoys music and cooking.

Jackline is 15. She is the second youngest of 10 children. She enjoys music and cooking.

Alex is 19. He plays soccer and rugby. He has been out of school due to lack of fees. 

Alex is 19. He plays soccer and rugby. He has been out of school due to lack of fees. 

Linus is 15. He enjoys volleyball and wants to work in accounting.

Linus is 15. He enjoys volleyball and wants to work in accounting.

Hilary is 13. He wants to be a civil engineer. He enjoys reading and cooking.

Hilary is 13. He wants to be a civil engineer. He enjoys reading and cooking.

Thank you for making Christmas special!

With your support we were able to provide shoes and food to 60 orphaned and destitute children.

 

Our sponsored kids were thrilled to get new outfits and a Christmas feast.

 

The cows finally mooooved into their new home. Two of them are already pregnant and producing milk.

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Children in Maryville, TN created treats and ornaments to raise money for their friends in Kenya to go to school. Joseph made a short video to show what life is like for the kids in Kenya, and the Maryville kids sent a greeting back. It was a fun experience for everyone!

Holiday 2015

Love, Laughter, and Light

 

This is the time of year we reflect on what we have accomplished and what our needs are for the coming year. Starting Moja Foundation has been so exciting. After many years of working with an organization that funded numerous projects, it is wonderful to be able to just focus on one. Moja Foundation feels much more personal.  Joseph and I working together is a testament to the power of providing opportunity, support, and encouragement to vulnerable youth. We know that providing youth the opportunity to reach their fullest potential is one of the greatest gifts we can give. 

Progress!

The cow shed looks amazing. Now all we need is cows. Well, actually we already have cows, but they live about 2 hours away. Although they are ready to move into their new home, Joseph has to wait until the road conditions improve. There is a "rainy season" in October-December which make some of the rural "roads" nearly impossible to use because they basically become a huge mud pit. One of the cows is already pregnant, so milk is on the horizon. 

The new shed full of hay and ready for its new residents

The new shed full of hay and ready for its new residents

Peter and Joseph were excited to help fill the shed with hay.

Peter and Joseph were excited to help fill the shed with hay.

Joseph is posing on his new ride! We bought a truck to help with hauling kids and needed supplies. It will also generate income since trucks are scarce in the village and people will pay to have things transported.

Neema was thrilled to be able to attend  school regularly. She had attended sporadically in the past, but was frequently sent home because of lack of school fees.

Charles struggled in his previous school because of instability and poor funding. Thanks so much to those who rallied to help Charles start in his new boarding school where he will be able to receive a much better education!

Greatest Needs

The holidays and end of the year are always times when people think about giving back. Of course, working with impoverished children in a developing country creates an endless list of needs. However, we are focusing on what currently has the greatest priority and the greatest impact. We have listed some of our most important current needs with an idea of how much they cost. This doesn't mean we need donations in the full amount. Every donation is equally important no matter the size!

School Fees per 3 month term, includes room and board- Secondary $150, Primary $85. We currently have 2 secondary and 5 primary students we are committed to supporting. We would like to be able to support an additional 4 secondary students.

Rent for the apartment Joseph shares with Stephen, Peter, Joseph, and Charles- $70

Food for 50 orphaned children for Christmas $500, monthly food supplement $400 

See our Donations page for more info on how to help.

 

 

Fall 2015

Joseph and I are so excited to get our website up and running. And, even more excited that you care enough to stop by and read this!  Of course, we have lots of dreams for what we would like to accomplish, but we want to stay focused on our priorities and ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible. If you have any questions about the needs of Moja Foundation or how to make a donation, don't hesitate to contact me.

Ongoing Needs

School Fees

Moja Foundation supporters are currently sponsoring school fees for 6 children. The fees for secondary school are far out of reach for a majority of Kenyan children. We need help with continuing support for the children we have committed to and once we have secured funding for them, we will expand to those with the greatest need and potential. $30.00 per month will enable a child to continue their education. While we don't technically have a sponsorship program, we can connect you with a child in need so that you can see the impact of your donation.

   Orphaned children receive food assistance from Hugs for Life.

   Orphaned children receive food assistance from Hugs for Life.

Food

Access to food has tremendous impact on children in poverty beyond nutrition. Lack of food affects school performance and attendance.  Children have difficulty focusing when they are hungry. Many cannot attend school because they need to spend their time trying to earn money to purchase food or their caregivers earnings must go to feeding the family with little or nothing left over for education or other needs. Moja Foundation wants to help provide food supplements to households caring for orphaned children in Embu. $20 can provide a child with basic food items (oil, flour, beans, rice) for one month. 

Current Needs

Cow Shed

Joseph owns three cows to help support the needs of the children supported by Hugs for Life. They are currently housed on land over an hour away. Joseph has room for them on the land owned by his family, and relocating them closer would save a considerable amount of time and money. One of the cows has been giving milk and the others will be ready soon. If they are nearby, the can produce up to $300 per month from milk sales.  Joseph has been hard at work on the cow shed, but $350 is needed for it to be complete. Once it is finished, the cows can be moved and there will even be room for two more cows. 

                                                                                                        Joseph on top of the unfinished shed

                                                                                                        Joseph on top of the unfinished shed

Shop

We are always looking for ways to increase self-sufficiency. We wanted to find a way for Joseph to have an income to meet his basic needs so that he can focus more on the work of Hugs for Life. One of the solutions we have been working on is to have a small shop located on the family land. It is located in a rural village where people don't have easy access to basic food and hygiene items. As no one has access to a land line, cell phones are essential for communication and prepaid phone cards are a major need that will be made available at the shop. The building will be constructed like a kiosk and the bricks have already been purchased. $1000 is needed for the initial inventory and licenses.

Long-Term Need

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Of our dreams is to have a home big enough to house several children who are orphaned or are in crisis. Joseph was deeded land from his late grandmother for the purpose of caring for children in need. We are working with an architect on estimates for a home that could house up to 12 children. However, we will start smaller and add on as we can. To get the house in livable condition for Joseph and the three boys under his care, we will need approximately $10,000.