In January of 2010, near Lake Victoria in Kosele, Kenya, Baraka Orphanage broke ground with the construction of their first residential building. For years Charles, the director of Baraka Orphanage, has searched for the area of his Kenyan homeland that he feels would benefit most from professional orphan assistance. Charles has seen a tremendous increase in the orphan population in rural areas over the years. Charles notes, “It’s Western Kenya, near the main city of Kisumu, that has been hit hardest by the AIDS virus. Unfortunately these orphans most deeply affected in this area receive very little support, as their plight rarely if ever makes it to the media. Resources are low and few are doing anything to assist these hidden and dying children.”
The long standing relationship between Charles and Jamie Jockwig, the owner of Baraka Gemstones and Jewelry, has drawn Jamie and the Baraka Gemstones and Jewelry team to be a part of helping Charles care for and nurture these kids. Charles and Jamie both believe in the importance of self-sustainability and the empowerment of an orphaned generation in Kenya. That is why Baraka Gemstones and Jewelry has teamed up with Charles to begin the development of a self-sustaining structure for Baraka Orphanage. Currently Baraka Orphanage owns 2 acres of land and has one building (pictured) with two stories capable of housing 150-200 orphans. The current structure has no furniture yet, and no kitchen. The plans for immediate building development on the current nationally owned land is to purchase beds and necessary furniture for the current residential facility, construct a small separate kitchen building, as well as a small house for future managers of the orphanage. Once these things are accomplished, a second duplicate residential building will be constructed.
The foundational component guaranteeing a future for Baraka Orphanage is a self-sustainable structure capable of supporting Baraka. Plans are laid out for the development of an agricultural section where things like corn and beans can be grown for food for the children. There will also be a small farm which will include cows, goats, chickens, rabbits and a fish pond. Baraka Gemstones and Jewelry will also be working with Baraka Orphanage to help them develop their own self-sustaining retail structures where people involved in or with the orphanage can sell their wares and use profits to assist in maintaining and growing the orphanage. We are all excited that recently a fresh water well was dug on site and is already helping to provide fresh water for people throughout the village.
The overall objective of Baraka Orphanage? Although it’s not an official mission statement, Charles says the focus will be on teaching love, care, responsibility and discipline to the kids and staff growing up within the orphanage; while helping them provide for their own basic needs of food, shelter, education and medical care. There will be an emphasis on involving the orphans in the development of Baraka so they can learn good life skills for future survival inside or outside of the orphanage. What can’t be developed or provided on site will be outsourced to local trusted organizations.
One final note from Charles before we all launch forward in our endeavors to build Baraka Orphanage in Kosele, Kenya…“These kid’s parents are gone. We have lost an entire generation in this area of Kenya. We are responsible to assist the one that is still alive, and hopefully the ones to come. Will you help us?”
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