The oven project was started by my good friend Justus Suchi Obidah. He is the Kenyan director of Reach the Children in Nairobi. He is also the religious leader of a congregation in Nairobi. He wanted to provide a way for women in his area to be able to earn a sustainable income. The goal was to provide a charcoal burning oven for the women of the area (not just church members) to use to bake goods that they would then sell in the market. The women provide their own fuel and batter. The oven is housed in the church building where it can be locked up and protected. Many of these women don't have homes large enough to accommodate such a piece of equipment or the means to keep it safe. I love that this project helps them not only be self sufficient but more efficient when they do it. All the have to do is sign up for a time to use the oven. It has been running day and night since we got it. I call this project "Jacob's Oven" because I bought the first one in honor of my son, Jacob.
The molds for the cakes
This is where they burn the fuel
The finished product
What is the Bike Project?
This is another collaboration of Suchi and myself that Reach the Children has agreed to oversee. Currently, Suchi and I are doing this as a pilot program (and we don't have a name yet, so let me know if you can think of one). If it is successful (and we hope it will be) the new charity will take it over and totally oversee it. The goal will be to offer the bikes to families that have orphans in their home. We want to provide incentive to these families to take in the local vulnerable children and orphans and give them enough income to help these kids stay in school. In our pilot group there are many families that have opened their homes to children that no longer have a family. There are also some families that haven't done that yet, but that have a goal to do so in the future. Finances are often a factor in why familes that want to take in extra kids don't. If you don't have enough food for your own family, it is not likely you will bring more people into the home. Our goal is to provide them enough extra income from the bikes to make it possible for them to help out more of the children in their community.
A local market in Uganda
Each bike costs 60$ (this includes transport and administration fees). When you sponsor a bike you will get a picture of the family that you are helping and an update on them once a year. I have a whole file full of pictures and descriptions of the families but it was sent to me from Africa in some kind of program that I can open with Word, but I can't copy or export the pictures to post here. I can send you the file if you want to see it.
We have about half of the bikes purchased and are eager to find sponsors for the other half so we can get this pilot program off the ground.
Thanks for your interest and we hope to work with some of you soon.