The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Nakuru West
Kenya is a magnificent country facing enormous challenges. For example, there are more than 1.3 million people who are HIV positive, 150,000 of whom are children. In 2007, it is estimated that more than 3 million children have been orphaned as a result of the AIDS crisis. Most of Kenya’s population relies on severely overloaded government services.
The Foundation’s work has focused in the city of Nakuru. Nakuru is the 4th largest city in Kenya with a population, including the surrounding area, of more than 500,000.
PCEA Nakuru West is a congregation that is distinguished by its commitment to serving the needs of the community. In addition to the beautiful church facility and several satellite churches, PCEA Nakuru West provides the community with a school, a career skills training center, health facilities, a community center, and is in the process of constructing on a separate campus an orphanage that will ultimately serve up to 400 children. You may ask how does a congregation of such limited resources accomplish so much? One of the congregation’s members answered the question this way -- “We love with all of our hearts.”
The Beech Foundation has played a significant role in the development of the orphanage, known as the Tumaini Mission Center & Bethany Children’s Home. Their initial request of IHSF was to assist in the development of health services to support the Tumaini project. However, as a result of the June 2007 visit with the Nakuru West elders, IHSF involvement has broadened to provide support for a more comprehensive health services plan. This plan includes expanding the outpatient clinical services and the women’s center on the church campus, as well as providing for the needs of the children at Tumaini.
A specific outcome of the June 2007 plan was the decision to focus on clinic services development and expansion at the church campus. In addition, transportation was to be made available as a means for the children of Tumaini to come to the main clinic for services. To fulfill this objective, IHSF working with The Beech Foundation supported the acquisition of a van for Tumaini, which assures that children needing care can be transported to the clinic.
Another priority in the plan is to upgrade the available medical supplies and equipment. This is especially important for the laboratory. If the clinic is able to secure the necessary equipment, it will then qualify through the Kenyan government for AIDS treatment drugs, which will serve a large population of HIV-positive members of this community. Also, the clinic would then qualify to receive additional medical staffing, including 1 full-time physician and 1 full-time nurse/lab technician.
IHSF is currently working with The Beech Foundation and MedShare International to ship a 40-foot container of used, but usable, medical supplies and equipment to the PCEA Nakuru West clinic. The shipment of this container is being delayed while funds are being raised to purchase the needed lab equipment and to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Medical supplies and equipment valued at approximately $200,000 have been donated to MedShare International and are ready to ship.
In January 2011, IHSF President Charlie Evans visited Nakuru. The primary purpose of this visit was for IHSF to perform an onsite needs assessment regarding the ongoing development of a nursing school. Additionally, IHSF secured the resources for the purchase of a vehicle for director, Zablon Kuria, to allow him improved access to his ministry’s multiple projects in the region. This visit also led to the creation of the Christine K. Evans Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the awarding of the scholarship’s first award, to a remarkable Tumaini resident, Josphine Kanviya. A follow-up visit has been scheduled for October 2011, during which Charlie Evans will be accompanied by representatives from MedShare International.