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Friends across 3 countries working together to bring clean water to Sylvia’s village in Kenya

In September 2011 a very special little girl from a poor Kenyan village a few kilometres from Mumias near Bungoma in Western Kenya came to Australia for life changing surgery. You may have seen her on Channel 9’s RPA show?   She left Australia four months later full of hope and with a more certain future!

Now, that feeling of hope and a more certain future can be extended to Sylvia’s wider community...

Thanks to a partnership between three countries: Australia, UK and Kenya - Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund is helping to provide the community in Mumias with a clean water supply!  

 

Background

Sylvia is an 8 year old girl from Western Kenya. She was badly burned in a house fire when she was a few months old. She was sleeping under a mosquito net which caught fire and consumed her body resulting in her losing her right foot, her right forearm and leaving her with severe burns to her remaining limbs, chest and face. At the time of the fire her mother was several kilometres away collecting water from the river for the family.

At the age of 7 Sylvia was ‘discovered’ in her village by an Australian aid worker, Lisa Fisher, who was so compelled to help her she set up a foundation to raise funds to bring her to Australia for life changing orthopaedic and plastic surgery late in 2011.

Four months later Sylvia returned to Kenya able to walk for the first time in her life – a true miracle!

Her story was captured by Channel 9’s RPA show. During their stay, Sylvia and her father Francis were hosted by a Christadelphian family: Lyndon and Hazel Crossley and their three children Luke, Caleb and Abigail. Throughout their time in Australia, Francis and Sylvia attended West Ryde Ecclesia every week and were exposed to the love and generosity within our Christadelphian community in and around the Sydney area.

As the host family grew to know their guests, 2 overwhelming issues grew apparent:

  1. Firstly, the need to do something positive for Francis and Sylvia’s whole community, and 
  2. Secondly, the lack of accessible drinking water faced by their village in Kenya and the distances the village women and children had to walk to obtain water. 

Sylvia’s story bears testimony to the daily dangers faced by young mothers – the choice of leaving young children home alone while they go in search of life sustaining water or the choice of sending their children out for water as they stay at home with their babies.

Sylvia is now attending school for the first time at the Nalondo CBM Special Primary School for Physically Handicapped children. The School, located about an hours drive from Sylvia’s family home, is sponsored by the Christadelphian community in Kenya and financially supported by the UK Meal-a-Day Fund through a substantial annual revenue grant and capital funding for improvement projects.  With the help of the Meal-a-Day charity this dream is becoming a reality!


The Opportunity

So what is this 3-country partnership with Meal-a-Day aiming to achieve?

  • The project involves the construction of a borehole, pump house, provision of a water tower and tank to which water will be pumped and a water kiosk from which it will be supplied to local population
  • The community involves about 50 households in and around Sylvia's village who will benefit from a year round clean water supply
  • We are also investigating a separate watering point for animals to avoid contamination of the domestic supply.

The Local Chief’s Office indicated its support for the project at a meeting held on site in November 2012.  An initial assessment of the site was carried out by a Water Engineer and a detailed survey was commissioned to assess the best location on the site for the borehole and the depth it will be necessary to drill to.  Following the engineering assessment, the borehole project and land title were then approved.  

The drilling equipment and engineering team completed their works in September/October and the first phase of the project is complete: The borehole has been drilled and a manual pump installed, clean water is flowing to the Mumias community!  There have been big celebrations :)

When our joint Meal-a-Day/CBM UK team visited the borehole site in October 2013 to meet the community leaders and understand how it was all progressing, they were invited back the next day to meet with a large gathering of over 120 local villagers and share the good news...not just of the new borehole and water supply, but were asked to expand on their faith too and share a message of lasting hope! 

LATEST NEWS: The Meal-a-Day/CBM UK team were again able to visit Mumias community in July 2014 and see Sylvia and her family - the borehole is working well, producing clean water which is tested to drinking standard.  Based on discussions with the local community during this visit, we are looking at scoping the next stage of the project which is potentially installing an electric pump (possibly solar-powered) and storage tank to increase capacity to greater number of the community and potential livestock usage too. 

It's so exciting to see this project taking shape and our thanks to everyone who has been involved in making it happen - we look forward to keeping you updated on the latest developments!


Keen to help?

THANK YOU to all our generous donors who have helped us reach our target of A$33,000 by 1 September 2013 - a brilliant result!  

Our Meal-a-Day team visited Mumias on July 2014 to meet with the villagers and review the borehole and manual pump equipment; this visit will inform the scope and timing of the proposed next phase including replacing the manual pump with an electric pump and tank storage installation.

The target funds have been raised (thankfully!), so at this stage we are not seeking extra donations.  However if you're interested in helping in future stages, please keep in touch and note the options below:

  • Donate direct to the Meal-a-Day project (details vary depending on your location):

If you’re in AUSTRALIA:

* Direct to Bank - CBA Account Name: Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund, BSB: 063 000 Account # 12323370

If you’re in the UNITED KINGDOM:

* Direct to Bank - Barclays Account Name: Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund, BSB: 20-33-83 Account # 13238162

Please send an email to donations@meal-a-day.org to advise what you have sent, quoting reference AFF1203-19

* By cheque - payable to “CMaD Fund”, then please post to CMaD UK, PO Box1178, Bristol, BS39 4WT again quoting reference AFF1203-19

If you’re in the UNITED STATES:

* By check - payable to “Meal-a-Day” ear-marked as "Kenyan Well" then please post to Casey Opitz, 1413 Orchard Hill Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22911

Please note that in the event of more funds being collected for this project than needed, it will be our intention to use them for a similar project in Kenya or other developing countries. See below for details on the numerous projects run by the Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund all around the world.

 

More info?

  • If you’d like to find out more about Sylvia’s journey – her time in Australia, her family life in Kenya and keep in touch on latest news and updates - please follow her story on Facebook
  • Discover more about other projects in Kenya and other African countries, run by Meal-a-Day UK
  • Meal-a-Day is supporting many communities across Asia-Pacific, find out about our latest projects on this site here and on our Facebook site

For more details about this partnership with Meal-a-Day to help Sylvia's community, please watch this space as we'll provide further updates over the coming weeks...

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