2014: The Happy Kids Year in Review
Posted In : Programs,Updates,What we do
In 2014 we focused on growing our projects, improving nutrition and education, and ensuring that our kids feel more loved and empowered.
In the last year, we completed construction on a modern kitchen and an additional bedroom for our oldest boys. This extra space drastically improved the safety and hygienic conditions for the kids. In August, we opened our Vocational Training and After School Center. We’re thrilled to finally have a space where the kids can be inspired to learn, and taught greater income generating skills that can sustain their lives. The after school center has also broadened Happy Kids impact to support children from the community. In this way, we’re working with vulnerable children so that they have a place to play and learn after school, and stay out of trouble.
Nutrition, Farming and Livestock
In 2014 we expanded our farming, livestock and gardening program. In doing this, we grew our rabbit and grasscutter breeding, and diversified our crops in order to enhance the nutrition in the children’s diets. We now have an assortment of root crops (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips) and leafy crops (spinach, cabbage, and lettuce) being planted. In November, we successfully harvested our first large scale maize crop, an incredibly positive sign of things to come.
Affording to feed all of the children three, nutritious meals a day continues to be our greatest challenge. We hope that by growing our farming and livestock initiatives, we can continue to improve the children’s diets and cut costs on food.
A quality education is the basis for a productive life, and we’ve been working especially hard to train our teachers and inspire our students this year. For the first time ever, the kids were taught about democracy and held school and house elections. The candidates campaigned for their positions, making promises to improve happy kids, and the entire school participated in voting.
To improve the quality of their studying and get our oldest kids ready for high school, we hired a tutor to come 5 nights a week and monitor study hour. While we’re always working on implementing income-generating projects, this year we also focused on supporting our kids to feel more loved, creative and confident. We launched a local orphanage soccer league in partnership with Della, so that our kids had a chance to do more of what they love most. We also incorporated musical instruments into the new After School centre, anticipating a proper Music Program to be launched in January.
Christ Orphanage Partnership
This year we joined forces with the administration of neighbouring Christ Orphanage, and are in the process of moving Christ Orphanage children into our school and programs. Support from Christ Orphanage helped us to plan even more long-term strategic projects, expand those that we had, and double the amount of children we will support.
Support from individuals such as yourself made it possible for us to work on our two goals – to become a model, sustainable development facility, and to create a loving home where our kids are supported and empowered to grow up to be whoever they want to be.
Christmas & Looking Forward
Even with so much progress, as we move toward 2015, Happy Kids is struggling. Despite limited resources, we continue to take in more kids from the community, and have a hard time feeding all 160 of them 3 meals a day. Right now, we don’t have enough funds to support feeding costs or teachers in the new year. To feed one child for an entire year costs just $80. To pay an educated teacher’s salary costs $60 a month.
In addition, transport continues to be a major challenge. Every day, HK staff spend enormous amounts of time and money taking taxis to buy food, transport sick kids, and get supplies from the neighboring village. To resolve this challenge, this Christmas we are hoping to purchase an income-generating taxi. The cost of a new taxi would cost just $3,500. This taxi would be used for us to run errands and buy food, and also raise income through the hiring of a driver that would run it as a business. If we were able to purchase and run this taxi, the profit would cover 50% of our food costs. The money normally spent on food costs could then be used to grow other income generating and skills training projects, invest in more qualified teachers, and send our oldest kids to high school.
You can help tremendously by also choosing to sponsor a child (which covers education, health care, and housing) for $30 a month. Sponsorship is based on a mutually beneficial relationship, where you know your child and he/she knows you, and you are a consistent part of each other’s lives.
Every year we look behind us at marvel at the growth and progress that has been made, and we look to the future with even bigger goals. But in order to maintain this progress and continue to take care of our kids, we need your help.
Watch here to see our kids explain all that we achieved this year, and thank you for making it happen.