This Christmas we’re torn.

We had planned to focus our Christmas Appeal on raising funds to continue the Imarisha Maisha program in Kenya. The program enables significant change in the lives of the Masai community, reducing gender-based violence, supporting vulnerable community members and helping to form income-generating groups to build greater self-sufficiency. It is Anglican Overseas Aid’s largest program and its impact is endorsed through the support of the Australian Government.

The continued impact of the program was evident when it was visited in July. The story of how the program has helped Feli (above right) to no longer be a victim of violence,  join an income-generating group and restore and build relationships, wonderfully illustrates the success of the program.

However, on October 17th, AOA recently received an urgent request for help from Millicent, the Program Manager at Anglican Development Services Mt Kenya West. After four failed rainy seasons, the drought impacting the Horn of Africa is now severely affecting the communities within our Kenyan program. Much of the development gains made by the community are now at risk.

Sadly, the needs of the Masai community in Kenya have doubled this Christmas as Millicent and her team desperately try to provide food and water to thousands, and yet need our support to continue the program and ensure the gains are not erased.  

                        Kenya Hunger Crisis                                                  The Imarisha Maisha Program

“In Laikipia there is no water. The rivers and waterholes have dried up. There are no boreholes, no tap water, the only water people can find is when a water truck arrives.

I am receiving reports of malnourished children fainting at school as they haven’t eaten in days and of elderly people, unable to walk long distances, being left alone and isolated. We desperately need to provide feeding programs for children in 77 primary schools and 900 of the most vulnerable households. The government simply has no resources to help us.” Millicent – Program Manager

Without rain, crops have failed and most of the farmers have lost their entire livestock. Many men have migrated in an effort to save any remaining stock, leaving vulnerable women, children, the elderly and people with a disability behind.                                                

As soon as I finished primary school,” says 26-year-old Feli, “my father decided I should be married. I was mistreated by my husband and beaten. Participating in Imarisha Maisha has changed my life. I see a brighter future because now my views in the home are considered by my husband.”

Feli continues, “I am now the secretary of a Masai women’s group with 21 members. It’s through the Imarisha Maisha training that we learnt about the benefits of forming groups and now we see a lot of benefits in cooperating with other tribes, rather than just as a Masai group.”

“We set up a traditional house to attract buyers for our livestock and beads. We now make beads that we sell to support our families. Many things have changed in Masai land all because of Imarisha Maisha trainings.”

“I can make decisions for my family and my husband listens, so we are doing well. My children will succeed in their education and not be affected by harmful cultural practices because I have a say.”

“I thank the program because it has made my life better.”

However, I would like to ask for continued support of this program because it is changing the lives of the Masai community. A lot of work still has to be done and programs like Imarisha Maisha can help to reach as many people as possible.”

As we journey towards Christmas, let us be both encouraged by the Advent themes of hope, love, joy and peace, but also consider how we can personally bring these blessings of the Kingdom of God to the communities in Laikipia and Nyeri in Kenya who are in such desperate need.

Please help the Anglican Diocese of Mt Kenya West bring hope and joy to their communities this Christmas.

To support the ‘Kenya Hunger Crisis’ Appeal, click on the orange ‘Donate’ button above (choose ’01a. Kenya Hunger Crisis Appeal’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu) or call us on 1800 249 880.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque/money order made payable to Anglican Overseas Aid to: Anglican Overseas Aid                    
                          PO Box 389
                          Abbotsford, VIC 3067

To donate to our ‘Kenya Christmas’ Appeal, click on the green ‘Donate’ button above (choose ’01b. Kenya Christmas Appeal’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu) or call us on 1800 249 880.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque/money order made payable to Anglican Overseas Aid to: Anglican Overseas Aid                    
                          PO Box 389
                          Abbotsford, VIC 3067