October Updates

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

A lot has happened since our last report in July. We have continued to monitor the progress of our beloved children who have been living with various caregivers during the pandemic. With lost livelihoods, food relief became the most important intervention during the partial lockdowns and containment measures during the early months of the pandemic. We are grateful for all your support in this.

Food distribution among our children in Soweto, September 2020
Food distribution among our children in Soweto, September 2020

After the government eased some containment measures in July, we embarked on supporting learning for our children though remote learning methods. This was very helpful to our children as we provided smartphones and data bundles. The government has now relaxed containment measures even further due to the reduced number of low infections in some of the super spreading cities and towns, though testing and contact tracing have been significantly reduced. It has emerged that most people with coronavirus in Kenya are asymptomatic and home-based care is the primary care approach the government has taken. Now Kenyans can resume work but with responsibility to follow health protocols such as wearing face masks and sanitizing, to contain the spread of the novel corona virus.

The students are now back to school and assessment will be done soon to determine their academic achievement during that time.

Finally, even schools can partially resume!!! Beginning this week, the exit examination candidates, plus the pioneers of the new competence-based curriculum now in grade 4, have begun to resume. This is a good beginning for our children and the children in Kenya who have suffered other issues such as learning loss, domestic violence, sexual assault, hunger and child labor. We are hopeful that the rest will be resuming in January. The good news is that no student will repeat the academic year as had earlier been directed by the ministry of education. Learners will now move one from where they left with the academic year expected to end in June. For this reason, Lucky has decided to go back to high school. Soon after we had talked in our previous meeting, he joined the foxfire students to help work at ByGrace.

We at ByGrace are very thankful for our supporters that have helped us keep up with our ministry care to our beloved children.

  1. The food distribution to our children and their families has been of great help. Even though it was not much, it kept them encouraged that someone cares. The smart phones, data bundles and teacher support have been very useful.

  2. The college students at Africa International University have continued with online learning. They also participated in a career development program offered in partnership with an organization called Brighter Monday. The Randy Brewer Foundation supported the program offered through Africa International University. Our 15 college students report they were empowered by the program.

  3. During the pandemic, we have been able to empower the college students through various activities to nurture good work ethics and DIY skills in farming, cooking – including baking, construction, and production of hygiene products (detergents, soaps, and sanitizers). While some activities were done as part of family activities, some was done as form of a “work study” program to allow them to earn some money to save and invest. Hence, the infrastructural matters are being addressed by our students, along with skill laborers. For example, painting the classrooms is almost complete, we have adequate sanitization supplies, land scaping is ongoing, and construction of more classrooms is ongoing. The college students are also well prepared to received back our basic education students and oversee adherence to the containment measures in partnership with teachers.

Works going on at ByGrace with the Mbogos, college students and skilled workers

We have been able to provide internship opportunities to 4 of our college students who will be graduating (virtually) next month on 21st November. Without the internships, graduation would have been impossible when the partial lockdowns which decimated internship opportunities. Three of them were able to offer counseling to our children, as part of their counseling psychology program. They were able to set up successful virtual counseling sessions using the smartphones we had provided. The other student was able to complete internship in social work.

As we close the year in two months, we have renewed energy for the year 2021. In the new year we hope to be able to:

  1. Complete the construction of the new classrooms. We need to raise $100,000 for the work, both to complete and pay a related loan. Hypothetically, we can get 100 supporters to give $1,000 each, we will be able to achieve this. Overall, the payment of the loan should not be worrisome because we have paying students and as I reported in July we have been discussing partnership with the Giraffe Educational Center run by Elimu Trust. We have now agreed that they will bring their 138 students to ByGrace. Their sponsors, Giraffe Project, will support most of the running costs. We have some paying students in both primary and high school, whose income will be used to pay the loan.

  2. To mobilize at least 100 new sponsors for our ongoing sponsorship program as costs are expected to increase due to the economic impacts of Covid-19. We have been having 30 students in primary school, 31 on high school and this year we have 30 in college. All their related costs will increase. In 2021, about 40 have had only partial sponsorships.

Good news: We have 4 students graduating in Nov. and 2 completing in December 2020. By December 2021, most college students will be done. We have 5 new college student this year and about five next year. Overall, this is a reduction in college student numbers and will help us begin to take in young student. I am thinking we can consider taking 5 every year. What process should we follow? Please advise.

We may also need to respond to the consequences of Covid-19 by taking in a few children whose lives have been devastated through loss of parents or livelihoods of their guardians. If current sponsors can tell friends, who can tell friends, this will be accomplished as well.