The dictionary defines imagine as “ forming a mental image or concept of. ” I welcome you to think and imagine of Africa. As you start forming the mental image, a map of Africa flashes in front of your eyes as some faint pictures come to you, some real based on the experiences that you have had with Africa and some based on stories or news you have read.
The images might be you imagining of the great potential the continent has and yet challenges after challenges seems to entangle Africa. Another image forms slowly and brings a smile to your face as you remember the wonderful smile, the warmth of the African people and their welcome and their sheer joy to be around them.
We are walking on a humble journey that is full of imaginations at Opening Village Doors® Foundation. The images and concepts that we form are ideas and projects that bring a big smile to individuals and communities that we work with because they are prosperous and thriving due to the partnership with Opening Village Doors® Foundation.
We welcome you to form these great images, images of hope full of potential! Visit us on our website and learn how to imagine Hope!
OVDF Board President
Sunset in South Western part of Kenya
Opening Village Doors® Foundation’s slogan “ Potential. Made Possible.” Speaks to our mission, vision and values. It is a phrase that I find myself reflecting more as we get ready with some of our board members to make a trip to Kenya to meet those who have been touched by our work and see for ourselves the potential we have unleashed in others in the last year and the impact that has been realized.
In the last year we have partnered with 24 individuals who have received capital, training and support to start income generating projects. Kids have been able to attend school, sickness has been remedied, families have been able to put food on the table and some families have been able to save for a rain day due to the projects we have helped them start.
We brought lights to 16 families’ homes through solar lamps hence saving families money they could have otherwise spent on kerosene. The families were able to breath fresh air by reducing the burning of kerosene fuel that emits a dark smoke that can cause lung problems when inhaled for an extended period of time.
Water is a source of life, no wonder in Africa you cannot say no to a stranger whenever they ask for a drink of water to quench their thirst. Last year, 15 Hydraid water filters were delivered in Kenya to our team to increase access to safe drinking water. So far 8 water filters have been installed, our team will be completing the installation as they arrive next week. The water filters will benefit over 15 families.
It is my hope you will follow our journey through our blog and our Facebook page as we share with you our findings.
We share this news due to your support and prayers, thank you!
Candle holders display
In the United Nations report entitled World Social Situation 2010: Rethinking Poverty, a number of observation stand out for me in relation to the work that Opening Village Doors Foundation is doing in Kenya.
Poverty is defined as having various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and mal- nutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterized by a lack of participation in decision- making and in civil, social and cultural life (para. 19).
The report challenges us that extreme poverty does not entail just having unsatisfied material needs or being undernourished. It is often accompanied by a degrading state of powerlessness. Even in democratic and relatively well-governed countries, poor people have to accept daily humiliations without protest. Often, they cannot provide for their children and have a strong sense of shame and failure. When they are trapped in poverty, the poor lose hope of ever escaping from their hard work for which they often have nothing to show beyond bare survival (Singer, 2009).
Unfortunately, children, especially girls, are expected to suffer major health and education setbacks as a result of the rising levels of poverty. Shrinking household budgets force families to pull children out of school, with girls more likely than boys to be affected.
We can do more to support families get out of poverty. Visit our website and find out how you can help.
Today is a special day for us, it is not because we turned two, it because of the people whose lives we have touched, in just two short years. Today over 15 families have been directly touched through the income generating projects we have helped them them start. Our goal for this year is to see more families continue to walk in the journey of moving to a sustainable future. The impact on this families is just more than a business, it is the respect, the confidence and the ability to be the determinants of their future.
We are grateful for all our supporters and our team in Kenya, giving a hand up in the form of a loan is not enough, our team supports individuals with project planning, implementation, evaluation, training and mentoring. It is the reason all the projects are successful, families are blossoming and individuals are thriving.
We thank you for helping us reach this milestone. It is our hope you will visit our website and learn what we are doing in Kenya.
Contact us with questions
This is a special season to celebrate special holidays in our lives that remind us of the core of who we are and propel us to the New Year. The holidays we celebrate starting November to January are filled with words like LOVE, HOPE, RENEWAL, GRATEFULNESS and PROMISE of a better future. These words are not empty words; they are the words and meaning that you have provided to our families in Kenya and our team as we work tirelessly to transform one life, one individual and one village at a time.
On behalf of the board of directors of Opening Village Doors Foundation, our team in Kenya and all the families that we serve I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! May you and your family be filled with His blessings always!
Mama Kapante goes from door to door, with her merchandize asking if anyone wants to buy rice, beans, home made soap and colored ‘throw wraps’. At the end of day she returns home with her load a little lighter, tired but with a smile of accomplishment and a feeling of pride. She has established strong relationships with her customers; she knows who needs rice, beans or home made soap on what day and plans her routes that way.
The scenario was not possible eight months ago, thanks for Opening Village Doors Foundation support of $300 she is now able to walk tall with confidence of tomorrow as she spreads the good word of what OVDF has done for her and her family.
Your support makes the story of Mama Kapante and many more possible. There is still time to give. You can give online, or mail a check to c/o OVDF 1460 Houseman Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Display of Mama Kapante's items that she sells Mama Kapante with Bob & Kathy Garvey, Clare and Dana Boals
Mama Kapante with Bob & Kathy Garvey, Clare and Dana Boals
Today is World Aids Day.
It is a day meant to remind us of the impact of HIV/AIDS. And the impact is significant!
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than two-thirds (68%) of people living with HIV with most children with HIV live in the region (92%). Even though, recent data offer promising signs, with national HIV prevalence and/or incidence stabilizing or even declining in many countries in the region. There are approximately 16.6 million AIDS orphans (children who have lost one or both parents to HIV), most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa (89%).
In an early blog I commented on the effect of HIV/Aids in many Kenyan families. Opening Village Doors® Foundation has not been sitting on the sidelines. Over 60 percent of the individuals that we serve have been affected by HIV/Aids directly or indirectly. Our team in Kenya supports each individual person who has received support from us with the dignity and respect that they deserve as they manage disease with medications and proper nutrition while taking care of their families.
Today we observe a day to give “sincere and humble thanks” as President George Washington called it on October 3, 1789, when he issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday.
As you gather with family and friends thankful for many reasons; gift of life and life little things. At Opening Village Doors® Foundation, we are grateful for the gift to serve individuals and villages in sub Saharan Africa reach their full potential through micro businesses, access to education and training, clean water and solar lights.
As the families that we serve share their gratefulness with us, we in turn say, THANK YOU to YOU! For sharing in this journey with us.
From our team at OVDF, we wish you a ‘sincere and humble thanks” Thanksgiving!
This June, I traveled with Opening Village Doors® Foundation (OVDF) to Nairobi Kenya and the surrounding villages that are being funded by their microlending programs. It was an experience I will never forget! When we were there we met with all the project members at once. We pulled our plastic chairs across the damp, cement floor of a classroom and formed a circle, the board members and their families tossed in among the Kenyan loan recipients.
We listened to their stories, met their children, saw their homes, laughed and cried with them, and prayed for them. This time spent together was not ever about the exchange of bills, but rather about understanding their challenges, and knowing that there is someone halfway around the world believing in them and reaching out to support them reach their full potential.
It is a refreshing step from the traditional giving. OVDF reaches into impoverished Kenyan communities and works to develop relationships that result not only in income-boosting projects but also multi-continent friendships.
The idea of giving loans instead of handouts is an important step forward that will enhance developmnent in the developing world. From the simple acts of providing small loans and the support and guidance necessary empowers struggling families into community leaders being in charge of their future.
We were able to meet the existing project members and witness the ways in which they were already working to support each other. One women allowed another project’s chicken farm on her property because she had more land and water, another women had invited her neighbor into the candle making business because she understood the good it would do both of their families. I hope to continue to support OVDF in any way I can as I believe they are making a difference and touching many lives!
Blog post submitted by Clare Boals, student at Cornell University
Clare Boals with Mama Mary, OVDF partner who is raising chicken for eggs
When I met Jennifer last year, she was discouraged and not sure what tomorrow will bring. Her husband had died of HIV Aids leaving her with four children. With no income and no means to support her family, she tried going door to door to do laundery for people but soon realized the little she was getting was not enough to put food on the table and pay school tuition for her children. Jennifer came to our Kenyan team asking for assistance to start a charcol business so that she can provide for her family.
I am happy to report that one year later, with a small loan of $150 and training from Opening Village Doors Foundation, Jennifer started a charcoal business that is doing well. She is able to put food on the table and has started paying back so that many more can benefit.
Imagine what a world of difference the small sum of money [$150] makes!
Board member, Dana Boals with Jennifer Achieng during our recent visit to Kenya