Desiring to tangibly display the Fatherhood of God, the Kasana Childcare Extension Program ministers to over 300 children in an eight-kilometer radius around Kasana Children’s Center. Extension cares for children living in the community by supporting their guardians, parents, or other relatives who are their primary caregivers. Over 80% of the children enrolled with Extension live with their grandmothers with the balance residing with single mothers, aunts, uncles, or grandfathers.
As the scope of the program expands, the Extension staff have witnessed many stories of God’s Fatherhood and redemption within our immediate community. Recently, Extension helped provide a new home to a single mother and her six children, two of whom are enrolled in New Hope’s program. The rainy season totaled their already leaking mud house. Praise the Lord nobody died when the house collapsed during a storm! Upon learning about the family’s situation, the Extension Program organized an Outreach where Extension children and staff joined community members to rebuild the family’s home.
In three days, the group completed the house and were able to roof it with iron sheets provided by the generosity of a donor. The family now has a structurally sound home big enough to accommodate all the children. Yet, God had more in store for this family. Previously struggling with alcoholism, the mother often left her children alone overnight. After the Extension Outreach Program and community rebuilt her house, she accepted the Lord and now attends church instead of questionable late-night discos and is more present as a mother to her children! In addition to housing projects, outreach teams also build latrines and help in various community members’ gardens – especially widows and grandmothers who cannot feed the children under their care. In conjunction with the New Hope Clinic, Extension staff conduct seminars training women and children on sanitation, hygiene, and disease prevention. Even covering simple topics such as lessons on hand-washing improves the lives of our children in the community. These programs reduce the risks children face living in the village.
Extension staff desire to empower parents and guardians to care for their children more effectively. Rather than handing everything the parent needs, a few children in a family are identified for sponsorship to reduce the burden on the whole family. This offers relief so that the guardians can recover without initiating a dependence cycle. Parents apply for admittance of their children to the New Hope program. During the application process, Extension staff visit the family to verify their situation and ensure that aid is distributed to appropriately deservingfamilies. The Childcare Administration office then conducts an interview with the family.
Every day work for Childcare Extension includes visits to assess the child’s environment in the areas of health, housing, academics, and family. A survey carried out during these sessions last term led to the purchase
and distribution of 114 mattresses and 80 blankets to children in the community. In cases of poor school performance or chronic absences, staff can help by providing bicycles to those who commute from a distance.
Over 25 bicycles have been distributed in the past year. Staff conduct practical teaching on parenting and discipline from a Biblical perspective with follow-up to see how these lessons are applied. When Extension determine that the children’s home continues to be non-conducive to physically, emotionally, and economically caring for them, the staff coordinate with New Hope staff families to transfer the children Kasana Children’s Centre.
Extension’s next chapter in bringing the Father of God to the fatherless involves opening a satellite family in the community. Home visits nine months ago revealed that a grandmother frequently left her Primary 3 (2nd grade) granddaughter alone. The Extension Office arranged for one of its staff living in the community to take the child into his home. This daughter now knows protection, love, and fatherhood evidenced by the peace and joy in her eyes. The staff member who took her into his family has also opened his heart and home to three other girls and anticipates being the official satellite family father once funds are raised to build a boy’s room.
Extension exists to engage the community to realize the needs within it and empower members to care for each other. As a result, our children benefit from stronger families and communities. Thank you for your prayers and support as we continue to care for our many New Hope children living outside of the Kasana family groups.
by Charles Onyango, Childcare Extension Coordinator and Wesley Steeb, Administrative Assistant to the Manager