History and MissionThe Advocates Kenya Outreach Project was started in 2009 by a group of Advocates employees originally from Kenya who recognized a unique opportunity. Aware of the lack of resources and often deplorable conditions for people with special needs in Kenya, the employees hoped to find a way to share the resources and knowledge of Advocates with those in urgent need across the globe. The group reached out to Advocates leadership and with its support and encouragement established the Advocates Kenya Outreach Project. Check out our new documentary video about the Project.
The Kiriko Special SchoolThe first priority of the Project was to identify a Kenyan organization that could benefit from a partnership with Advocates. The search led to the Kiriko Special School in central Kenya. With just four teachers, the school provides vocational and academic support to 74 Kenyan children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When Advocates staff first approached school faculty, they discovered that the school lacked even the most basic of resources. Staff members sometimes even struggled to provide adequate food and clean water for their students. The school lacked adequate sanitation facilities, teaching supplies, books and sports equipment. There were no computers or internet connection, not even a phone on site.The list goes on and on.
What the Kiriko Special School does have is a dedicated team of teachers and support staff who work tirelessly to educate and care for their students. With just the most basic of supplies, they could do so much more. In Kenya, a little goes a long way. The cost of tuition per semester at the Kiriko Special School is just $50, yet even that is too expensive for most of the students' families.
SuccessThe group of Advocates employees that launched the Project recognized right away the tremendous good the Advocates community could do for a school that serves its students with special needs for less than $200 per year. Through grassroots fundraising, the Project has been able to provide resources and tools to help the school solve some of its greatest challenges and improve opportunities for their students. Acco
Clean Water for Kiriko
As members of the Project learned more about the Kiriko Special School, they realized the most urgent problem is a lack of clean water.Recognizing that local school and community officials best understand the nature of the water problems in the area, the Project empowered the school officials to devise a solution. In June 2010, local Kenyan contractors completed construction of the cement tank that will collect rain water from the roof and store water brought in by train. The tank will allow the school to meet 100% of its need for clean water for the staff and students.
Kiriko Poultry Project
The Kiriko Poultry Project was developed by the Project to to help the school create a source a self-sustaining income. After a highly successful fund-raising dinner dance in the fall of 2010, Advocates Kenya Outreach Project provided the Kiriko Special School with 200 chickens, funds for construction of handicap accessible chicken houses and an agricultural expert to educate students and teachers about proper care. Now well underway, the Poultry Project is poised to generate much needed income from egg sales and provide valuable vocational skills training for the students.
Resource Library and Supplies
The Project's first initiative was to supply the school with a resource library of books and training materials covering a range of topics related to supporting individuals with special needs. Next, Project volunteers challenged members of the Advocates community to fill small shoe boxes with everyday essentials for the school such as toiletries, arts and crafts supplies, cooking utensils and first aid items —"a real treasure trove in the education of intellectually challenged students," according to Kiriko's principal.
Learn more about these accomplishments and more in our newsletters:
Donations by check should be make payable to "Advocates Kenya Outreach Project" and mailed to:
One Clarks Hill, Suite 305
Framingham, MA 01702
| Advocates Inc., One Clarks Hill, Suite 305, Framingham, MA 01702
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Your generosity makes possible invaluable programs and activities that enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and otherwise would go unfunded.
Realizing Dreams - The Cherry Street Garden
- The wish of a resident in Advocates Deaf Services program - to have a wheelchair accessible vegetable garden - came true last spring because of support from generous donors and volunteers from Dimension Data in Framingham.
Strengthening Community - Advocates Music Jam
- One evening each month, Edward's Hall at Framingham's United Church of Christ is filled to capacity, as staff and clients from across the Advocates community join together to improvise live music, sing, dance, share stories and poetry, and listen.
Fulfilling Lives - Bring to Light Candles
- A unique, entrepreneurial venture started by individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome who receive Advocates services. Last year, the business moved into its own manufacturing facility made possible by generous donors. Learn more.