It is true, I have not posted a blog post in quite a while. It is also true that the past few weeks may have been the most hectic, crazy, and exhilarating of my life! No, I didn't sky-dive again, nor did my New York Mets win the World Series (although, there is still hope!).
As an organization, Arrive could not be prouder, happier, or more excited to make this announcement: Thanks to your ever-faithful support, Arrive has expanded, partnered with a new local organization, and begun plans to construct a second childrens home to help even the more vulnerable children in rural Africa!
Back in Keumbu "Phase 1" (research and partnership agreement), when Arrive (USA) partnered with Fariji (Kenya) to help the most at-risk children in Kenya, was completed almost two and a half years ago. During "Phase 2", we engaged in so many amazing projects together, and the past two and a half years couldn't have been better. Volunteers from around the world assisted us by donating their time and effort to make a loving environment for the many children we rescued from the streets and vulnerable situations they were in. Now, we have entered "Phase 3" of our business relationship.
"Phase 3" is all about empowerment. Using the knowledge shared and infrastructure built during "Phase 2," we have enabled both Fariji as an organization and the children there to become self-sufficient. In the end, our goal was to have Kenyans be able to help Kenya. We have reached that point, and "Phase 3" is in full effect. As Arrive slowly and gradually withdraws its presence and funding from the Keumbu Rehema Childrens Home, we keep one thing in mind: the wellbeing of the children is paramount. That is why we are confident that with the profit-generating infrastructure in place (abundance of livestock, pig farm, running water system, dormitories, fish pond, vegetable garden, rented plots of farm land, solar power, and more), Robert Nyamwange (Chairman, Fariji) will be able to begin to take accountability and control of his organization, Fariji, while still providing the best possible life for the children there.
And now, for the most exciting part! Arrive is ecstatic to announce that we after a long process of interviewing, on-the-ground research, and investigation, we are Kusonga Mbele, ("Moving Forward" in Swahili). Arrive has expanded and partnered with a second local organization - Light Uriri (www.lightschooluriri.org). We believe we have Jackson Bambo is an incredible man who runs a hugely successful school in Uriri, Migori County, Kenya. Uriri is only one hour from the famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve, one hour in the other direction from Lake Victoria (the world's second largest lake), and 20 minutes from the Kenyan-Tanzanian border. To call Uriri a beautiful place would be a vast understatement! Uriri has members of the Luo, Maasai, Luyha, Kisii, Kuria, and other tribes - a truly cosmopolitan (yet truly rural) area.
Jack is the best partner we could have asked for in Kenya, and we are expecting fantastic results in the coming months. As a motivated, educated, reasonable, and passionate person, he created a organization (Light Uriri) and built his rural school from 16 students to over 300. He works part-time with The East African Wildlife Society in Nairobi as well; a true global citizen. As his non-profit organization, Light Uriri, and Arrive enter into a partnership, we will be building the Light Home of Hope - a safe and happy home with a fully holistic view of care for former street children, orphans, and vulnerable kids.
As Arrive expands, we mustn't abruptly reduce funding to Fariji and the KRCH. It has always been Arrive's model that once we can rescue children, create a suitable environment, and make the home a place of refugee for the kids who need it most, we would institute sustainable practices and long-lasting infastructure to empower the local leaders of the community to one day not only take responsibility of the project, but to Songa Mbele ("Move Forward") with it. The fact that Arrive and Fariji have reached that point is a testament to the teamwork of both organizations, the hard work of children, and the unwavering support from you - our very valued supporters.
Saying this, I could not be more thrilled about this Arrive new expansion. Arrive will now be able to help more kids, in a different area of Kenya, and reduce the number of homeless, starving, glue-sniffing children living in the streets. Even the Standard Media News (Kenya) has taken notice; an article has already been written and distributed in newspapers around the country (click to read).
This expansion is the implementation of Arrive's business plan. Our initial model in Keumbu was hugely successful, impactful, scalable, and replicable; the reasons which allow us to repeat that model in a different location. But, to make it work, we must rely on you, our supporters and donors. Please, as we make this transition, support us in anyway you are able. We are currently raising funds to build a state-of-the-art boys and girls dormitories in Uriri which will fully comply with the Childrens Department of Kenya and Ministry of Health laws and regulations. We need your help and support to be able to build these new dormitories and enable more orphaned girls, HIV/AIDS positive students, abandoned street children, and vulnerable kids to be rescued. We need: building materials, beds and mattresses, supplies, roofing, bricks, tables, chairs, school supplies and so much more to create the positive and progressive enviroment that these children so much deserve. As always, we pray that we will find sponsors willing to create a personal relationship with a child in need of love, and pay for that student's education and empower him or her to live a fulfilling life (click here). There is no other organization like Arrive, and we humbly ask that you support us in the next phase of changing the world and empowering tomorrow's leaders.
With that being said, I'd love to show you some photos of our first few weeks in Uriri. As always, we love to hear what you think so please comment below and we'll get back to you. Pamoja, tutasonga mbele! ("Together, we will move forward!" in Swahili).