Update from Kenya!
This post is an update from Barbara Deal, SIA Board Member, on her experience at the SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator Conference last week in Eldoret, Kenya.
Dear Companions in Spirit,
Greetings from Eldoret, Kenya! The conference for the Spirit in Action Coordinators ended last night. Attending were six Coordinators for the Small Business Fund in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. Each work with and mentor between a dozen and almost 200 small business project partners.
SIA local coordinators (L to R): Dorcas (Nairobi), Canaan (Manyamula, Malawi), Wambui (Nairobi), Samuel (Eldoret), Tanya, Barbara (US Board of Directors) Dennis (Eldoret), Naomi (Uganda)
Dennis Kiprop (one of the SIA Coordinators in Kenya) is head of the Women of Change program at the Ukweli Training Centre. This is a program that helps village women get out of the alcohol brewing business, and gives them training to begin small businesses to replace that income.
SIA funds many projects for these women. Dennis said, “I learned of SIA from Baba Kigen.” (Baba Kigan is another name for Samuel Teimuge – in Kenya when the first born son arrives, the parents are thenceforth called by the child’s name.)
Tanya, Dennis, and Canaan visiting one of the Small Business Fund women
“When I learned of SIA I loved it,” said Dennis. “I jumped into it because I saw this is what hurting families need. Helping women to stand on their own feet, to raise their families. Being part of the process of changing lives. Prayer. Showing Christ’s love to people. I have learned principles – forgiveness, to relinquish the results to God, to let God help us with people and projects. I have never seen such a wonderful mentor as Baba Kigen. And Tanya’s nurturing – her prayers at the end of her emails – is so nurturing. SIA is really helping people to realize their own potential, to take care of their families, and to help other in their communities.”
One of the most exciting parts of the Conference was discussing the new vision statement adopted by the SIA Board. The Coordinators were inspired by the statement, and by the emphasis on partnership with SIA, rather than receiving charity from SIA.
Naomi is a SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator in Uganda. Here she is tasting one of the passion fruits on Ruth’s farm in Kenya. Since receiving her small grant to boost her bakery business, Ruth has diversified into fruits, beans, and merino sheep. Her children are all going to school and sleep soundly at night
James, a SIA partner from the DR Congo, reminded us of the saying, “whatever you do for me, without me, you do against me.” In that vein, there are some exciting plans in the works for growing our commitment to trusting the local leadership, and supporting them in taking increased responsibility for the work on the ground.
I have a hundred more tales to share, stories of lives transformed and families who were hungry, now food secure. Families where children could not get education, and where the parents are now able to pay the school fees. Families who lived in leaky huts now able to improve their housing. Many who could not afford medical care or medicines, are now able to pay for the help they need.
Deep thanks for your prayer undergirding of this trip, and the work of Spirit in Action. People are discovering the gifts God has planted deep in their own being, and learning to use those gifts to improve their own lives, and to share that gift with others. We see it rippling out from families to villages and communities.
So much love, Barbara
Wow!! We were so impressed with Julia’s huge potato field. She was pleased to show us all she’s grown since learning about farming at Ukweli Training Centre.