Trip to Kenya as Volunteer and Rotarian
This summer I will travel to Kenya to serve as a volunteer and representative of the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh at Hekima Place.
At the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, we have selected Hekima Place as our international project. Hekima Place is a home in Kenya for girls orphaned primarily by HIV/AIDS. The name "Hekima" was chosen for its Kiswahili meaning: Wisdom. Founded in 2005 by Pittsburgh native Kate Fletcher, the home opened with just 10 girls but has grown to 60 members of the Hekima Place family. The girls are given a loving, faith-based home with nutritious meals, health care, and, very importantly, an education to enable them to succeed on their own once their schooling is completed. At Hekima Place, each girl lives with a loving Kenyan staff member called "mum" "“ growing within a faith-based "family" with "sisters" (other orphaned girls) as companions and workmates.
The home is located in Kiserian, Kenya just outside Nairobi, on property purchased by the U. S. Board of Directors in July 2009. Construction of the new permanent home for the girls at this site was completed in December 2010. Approximately 20 km south and west of Karen, Kenya (Hekima Place's original location), the new home is in the southern Rift Valley Province and has six cottages and a dining hall along with a significant amount of land for gardening.
Education is at the core of empowerment for these girls. They attend community elementary and secondary schools throughout the region. Study support is provided at the home by staff and by volunteers from around the world who travel to Hekima Place to share their time, talents and love with the girls.
For the girls who came from upcountry farms in Kenya, they no longer are restricted to carrying wood and water for miles, but instead benefit from hours of school and more study at home. Hekima Place offers enough structure to encourage scholarship, yet provides free time for recreation including Girl Scouts, sports, weekly movies, newspaper reading, puzzles and games to stretch the mind. A birthday party for each girl celebrates her uniqueness.
I will be traveling to Kenya in late July to serve as a volunteer and learn more about Hekima Place to present to my brother and sister Rotarians. I am hoping to raise enough funds to purchase my round trip airfare. Any monies raised above and beyond the cost of travel will be split equally and donated to Hekima Place and The Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, both are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.
To learn more about Hekima Place, please visit their website, www.hekimaplace.org.
To learn more about the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, please visit our website, www.pittsburghrotary.org.