Alexander Bryant (from left), Lauren Gates, Laura Waite, and Alexander Levy are all members of the Reinhardt SIFE team that worked with Riverstone Chick-fil-A to sell tickets for a half court shot for free Chick-fil-A for a year at the University’s recent homecoming basketball game. This event and several fundraisers allowed the team to donate enough funds to Precious Pearls to purchase a dairy cow and 15 sewing machines for Eldoret, a small village in Kenya, Africa.
There are a large number of homeless street children in Kenya’s urban interior, many of whom fall into elicit activities including theft and drug use. As they attempt to survive on the street, these children become victims of child labor practices and prostitution. The prostitution and drug use results in an increase of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and a continually high rate of HIV. This epidemic leaves even more children homeless, with no one to care for them and one organization is working to change this.
Precious Pearls, a Christian based non-profit, was established to provide these children with access to Christian education, empowering them physically, academically, and spiritually so they may lead successful and fulfilled lives. Precious Pearls has laid out specific goals that to be achieved through a series of key phases. The organization has already been able to accomplish several, including the purchase and development of land and the expansion of support to now include more than twenty children. The next phase is a key aspect in establishing the sustainable nature of this organization. It includes the purchase of cows, which will initiate the beginning of a dairy farm project. The dairy project will provide a steady source of in-country income that will enable the support of additional children and ultimately fund a boarding school. The school will support the Eldoret community in Kenya by providing children from all income levels a safe and nurturing environment.
Reinhardt University SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) was able to raise $1,500 to purchase a cow for Eldoret. The team engaged in several various fund raising activities on campus to raise the necessary funds. They hosted several meals, held a Valentines Day bake sale, and partnered with Riverstone Chick-fil-A to sell tickets for a half court shot for free Chick-fil-A for a year at the homecoming basketball game. The team was very successful in ticket sales and raising awareness at the event about the needs for the Kenyan community.
The team was very driven to purchase the cow for Eldoret because they learned that the dairy cow could produce up to $2,500 a year in income for the Kenya community, which allows 25 children to attend school and hopefully will help them break the cycle of poverty. The SIFE team partnered with Precious Pearls, and Reinhardt senior communications major and SIFE team member Lauren Gates led the fund-raising efforts. She has personally volunteered more than 1,200 for Precious Pearls and has made numerous visits to Kenya to work with the children.
Lauren Gates, pictured with one of the children cared for by Precious Pearls, has personally volunteered more than 1,200 for Precious Pearls and has made numerous visits to Kenya to work with the children.
“Precious Pearls is not only a non-profit I truly believe in, but also one that is very close to my heart,” said Gates, a resident of Canton, Ga. “Precious Pearls was founded, in 2003, by Geoffrey and Linda Kibii. It is a Biblical-based non-profit organization dedicated to giving unwanted orphans and children from impoverished families a better life and a hopeful future. Its purpose is to help disadvantaged children in the city of Eldoret, Kenya, gain access to education, a key element in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty.”
The team also was given a $1,500 grant from Sam's Club to purchase sewing machines for the small village. This grant allowed the team to purchase 15 sewing machines, which helps the young girls there become more self sustainable. The young Kenyan females often turn to prostitution as a way to support themselves because they have no skills or family support. Through the Precious Pearls program, theses young adults are taught how to sew. Their products can be sold and they can secure a way to support themselves long-term in a much more meaningful and safe environment. With four sewing machines, the provision of materials and three months training will enable 21 girls to leave life on the street behind.
“In Kenya, the motto ‘harambee, which means ‘we all pull together,’ comes from the idea that one fisherman himself cannot pull up a net alone, but when he works with a team he is able to accomplish much,” said Tina Boosel, instructor of business and SIFE advisor. “This is true for anything in life and especially true for our SIFE team, together we are strong and together we are able to make a difference in the lives of many, even across the ocean in Kenya.”
The team will be presenting these projects, along with several other community service projects they’ve led this year, on April 2, 2012, at the Regional SIFE competition in Atlanta, Ga.
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