Bridgette’s 2nd update from Kenya – The Hands & Feet on the Ground
Connie Cheren, founder of Partners for Care (PFC), along with the American volunteer Board (of which I am honored to be on) has spent the past 10 years building partnerships in the US as well as in Kenya to accomplish our common goals. As you might imagine, it has been quite challenging for a middle aged, white American Christian woman in a developing African nation. But it hasn’t stopped her for a minute. Thanks to her incredible insight, perseverance, passion and vision, she has forged incredible lifelong partners for PFC (several from people sitting next to her on a plane! But that’s a story for another blog). Because of these partnerships, we have been able to establish and implement wonderful programs-all geared towards self-sustainability for future generations. But here is where the action really takes place-with the word “implement”.
Because of our partnership with Greif we have been able to distribute almost 30,000 water backpacks. Because of our partnership with Mobility Worldwide, we have been able to distribute 482 mobility carts to the disabled. Because of our partnership with World Reader, we have 80 e-readers to teach education and literacy to the young and elderly. Because of our partnerships with ITT Tech and Thanks Be To God Foundation, we have brought 180 computers to Kenya and opened 9 computer schools. Because of our partnership with Global Heed, we are able to use m-health mobile devices in the slum to triage back to our doctor in our medical clinic for immediate care. Because of our partnership with MedShare, we were able to completely transform Marsabit Hospital, that serves over 200,000 people in an area in extreme northern Kenyan. Because of our partnership with Peace Passers, we have equipped and supported over 18 soccer and volleyball teams around Kenya in a number of local villages.
With every great partnership-the challenge is implementation. WHO will go to distribute, train, teach, administer care, follow up, re-train, support, encourage? That’s where a small organization made up of 40 young men and women called PFC really shines. They are the true hands and feet on the ground here. This passionate, willing team works tirelessly 10 to 12 hours every day to carry out the vision. Most have extended families and children to support. Much of the money we raise goes to support their hands and feet on the ground. It does little good to receive thousands of backpacks, mobility carts, computers, medical suppliers, etc…if you don’t have someone willing to physically go person to person, village to village to teach others how to use them so they can thrive and survive. Although these 40 men and women have no way of forming corporate or political partnerships in the US and Kenya…they form true partnerships-with the people. PFC would not exist without their hands and feet on the ground here-willing to go to the ends of the earth to help so many. I come back here so that I can work alongside them-to lift them up when they get weary and help them understand how grateful I am and so many are for their efforts, their passion and their accomplishments.