Archive for the ‘Ojola Children’s Project’ Category

Sojourners Social Justice Blog on Hiatus

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Our SJ Blog is currently not being updated. For information about what’s happening at Sojourners UCC, please visit our website: www.sojourners-ucc.org or our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SojournersUCC.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY MAY 6

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Our next Social Justice Sunday May 6 is a chance for all of our Social Justice groups to meet after worship. If you’d like to learn more about what these groups are working on currently, please put this date on your calendar and join us.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

 All Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service, March 11. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.

Social Justice Sunday

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The next one will be January 8.  All of Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.

Social Justice Sunday September 12th

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Sojourners Social Justice Groups is September 12 worship. These groups are open to anyone who would like to participate. If you’re new to the church or simply haven’t decided on a group yet, feel free to drop in on one or more of the meetings to find out what’s happening. This summer for Social Justice Sundays, we began inviting directors of various local agencies or organizations which we fund through our Service & Missions grants to join us for worship and to briefly address the congregation. We look forward to welcoming our second speaker in this series, Drene DeGood, Executive Director of the Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM). All speakers are invited to stay for fellowship and the meetings after worship so that we can share more information about our respective social justice work.

Social Justice Sunday

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Sojourners Social Justice Groups is June 6 after worship. These groups are open to anyone who would like to participate. If you’re new to the church or just haven’t picked a group yet, feel free to drop in on one or more of the meetings to find out what’s happening. You can check out details on this blog or on the Sojourners News bulletin board at church. Beginning June 6, on Social Justice Sundays, we’re inviting directors of various local agencies or organizations which we fund through our Service & Missions grants to join us for worship and to briefly address the congregation. We look forward to welcoming our first speaker, Cindy Stratton, a member of the Steering committee for the City’s Dialogue on Race, June 6. All speakers will be asked to stay for fellowship and the meetings after worship so that we can share more information about our respective social justice work.

Ojola Group Meeting 1-10-2010

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The Ojola Group met briefly on 1/10/2010 to review the 2009 annual report and to discuss finances, requests, and the projected budget for 2010.  In addition to the 3 secondary and 3 primary school children we are already sponsoring, the group was asked to consider sponsoring three additional boys  (2 secondary / 1 primary), one of whom is truly destitute.  Other requests included hiring a cook so that the children don’t have to cook for themselves during the school day; and paying fees so that Christine, Syprose’s adult daughter and manager of the Project, could enroll in Part II of a CPA course.  A fourth request (carried over from this past summer) was for support for Victor Ochieng to take a computer course.  (Victor was a beneficiary of Ojola Project funds and did very well on his end-of-high school exams).  This request is still pending, as the Ojola Group has not been given an estimate on course costs.

The group decided that it could meet the first three requests by adding them to the projected budget through grants and existing funding.  Also, the Ojola Group is awaiting a response from the Odero stakeholders on the feasibility of opening up a tailor shop now that funds are available.

Ojola Group Meeting 8-30-09

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The Ojola Social Justice Group met on Sunday August 30, 2009 and discussed a Strategic Plan that had been submitted by the founder of the Ojola Project, Syprose, and her adult children. Things have changed in Kenya since the program began. In this new plan the family stressed their desire to shift the focus of the project from supporting small children to addressing the needs of orphaned youth. Now that ARVs are available, fewer children are being orphaned. Yet those young people who lost their parents in the HIV/AIDs epidemic of the 1990s and early 2000s, are now teenagers growing up without authority figures or role models. Without guidance, some run away, drop out of school, get into drugs, and turn to crime.

In order to be more effective, they propose the following steps:

  • Reconstituting the Board of Governors so that it includes local leaders (women as well as men) who can be counted on to invest time and energy, thereby fostering greater community “ownership” of the project;
  • Establishing a Grassroots Committee that will oversee the daily management of the project—Christine, another grown daughter, will serve as the administrator. She has taken accounting courses and has moved back to Kisumu;
  • Starting businesses such as a tailoring shop and a small cyber café in two of the rooms of the residential block. Such income-generating efforts would help move the project toward self-sufficiency, and enable single mothers, school drop-outs, and widows to earn a living;
  • Finding ways to further subsidize the post-secondary education of project beneficiaries (like Victor) who successfully completed Form IV, but would like to take a computer programming course to improve his chances of getting a job; and
  • Organizing activities for youths such as a football (soccer) team that would “motivate idle boys and occupy their time, with an aim of bringing them together for capacity building.”

The group discussed the proposal and focused on several points. There was concern about the security of the compound, especially if they are to purchase valuable equipment for running a business. They will need to consider whether a fence or security guard will be effective in protecting their assets. We also discussed fundraising ideas. We agreed that once we have a concrete, well-thought-out proposal from the family, it will be easier to solicit funds. We wondered about the possibility of helping them find a micro-loan program, especially for the businesses they wish to develop. That route might include some on-site support about running a business and how to succeed.

We agreed that we would continue to support the educational needs of the 4 boys currently in school. A local soccer organization here is eager to send used equipment, shoes and uniforms to help the Ojola program. We agreed that having Syprose’s adult children involved and increased involvement of the local elders and villagers is a positive step.

Cindy will communicate to them our concern that the new organizational structure gets firmly established before we move forward. Also, we would like to see a more detailed business plan and some steps toward securing the compound.

Upcoming Social Justice Group Meetings

Monday, July 20th, 2009

The Prison Ministry Social Justice group will meet August 2 after worship and Ojola Children’s Project will meet August 30 after worship.

Ojola Group Report for 2008

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Ojola Group met three times in 2008 (in June, August and December). On March 30, the congregation viewed a slide show presentation after church to learn more about OCP. In June, the Service and Missions Committee contributed $300 for food, which Cindy, the group leader, hand-delivered when she traveled to Kenya in July. During her stay, Cindy visited with many Ojola children, who were thrilled with the outfits and art supplies sent by their Sojourners friends. The Ojola Group also collected headscarves which were presented to five very appreciative widows. In August, Gloria created a large poster that included drawings, thank-you notes and photos of the Ojola children; the poster has been on display in the church foyer.

The Ojola community presented Cindy with several proposals for modest income-generating projects, such as tailoring or raising chickens, which the group discussed at their August meeting. The group decided that its first priority was to maintain its current level of educational support, but would consider the additional proposals as funds become available. In December, Kate sold Christmas ornaments made by her husband and donated the proceeds to OCP.

In 2008, money was wired to Ojola in three major installments which coincided with the start of each new school term. The payments included school fees for six secondary school children and one primary school child, tuition for two older students doing diploma courses, money for uniforms, medicine, books, and assistance for widows. A substantial portion of the money was spent on food, as the cost of basic staples skyrocketed in the second half of the year.