Here is a note from our pastor who has been in Kenya for the past two weeks. A little background ~ the orphans he refers to are students at Lanet Umoja Primary School. Most of these children have lost their parents due to the HIV/AIDS virus, but instead of becoming available for adoption, they usually wind up living with family members where they are often treated like serfs.
All the students have three month-long school vacations during the growing and harvesting seasons to help in the family garden. If a child is orphaned, they go home to a life of labor and hunger. They usually receive whatever is leftover in their home – whether it’s food, clothing or a place to sleep. The teachers at Lanet Umoja Primary School established “Everyone’s Child” in 2006 to help orphaned students who were going to be away from school for a month by collecting clothing, food and incidentals for these kids. The end of the term is carried out with a day they now call “Everyone’s Child” where [many] speeches are made and the orphaned children are given packages to bring home.
Here is what our pastor, Fr. Paul Stewart had to say about this term’s closing ceremonies:
“We have been traveling all around Kenya, and it is becoming apparent to me that the focus for “Everyone’s Child” is these orphans. Nowhere do they get the care that they receive here in Lanet. At the school closing ceremonies today members of the church brought bags of food for them to take home on holiday, and a collection was also taken for “Everyone’s Child” to take care of the needs of these kids. Parents, teachers and students contributed to the cause. After the long, drawn out hours of closing ceremonies the orphans were treated to a full meal at the church. They sat on the stage in the backyard where the church is being built, and we all spent time talking with them. Bless the Lord, nothing feels better than helping these children feel they are loved.”