Bethsaida Community Foundation
Bethsaida Community Foundation runs the Bethsaida Orphanage and cooperates with the local community that provides support and goods in kind. Another project of the Foundation is the Bethsaida Women’s Empowerment Group CBO, which carries out incoome-generating projects such as making soap and paper beads jewellery.
Bethsaida Community Foundation is responsible for the Bethsaida Orphanage, founded by Pastor Kamau and the Bethsaida Women’s Empowerment Group.
It began in 2009 as a project searching for and nurturing talent in young street children. By the end of the first year they had rehabilitated 14 children, but Pastor Kamau wanted a way to reach more children. In 2011, he opened an orphanage and school for vulnerable children, building the mud walls himself.
Just over three years later, the orphanage now has seven classrooms, accommodating 65 day students and another 33 who live there, and teaching from nursery to Standard 8 – the end of primary education in Kenya. The boarders live in one of the two single-sex dormitories, often sharing beds.
The orphanage has received periodical assistance from donors, helping them build latrines and giving bunk beds. Compassion CBO has also been teaching Pastor Kamau to start sustainable projects like farming. They have already begun goat rearing to help provide income for the orphanage.
There is a lot of cooperation with the local community that provides support and goods in kind, especially church members who fundraise every three months . Compassion CBO also provides food from the orchards when it is needed, and Bethsaida takes some of the vulnerable children that Compassion is unable to care for and provides them with a roof over their heads.
The orphange has come a long way, and being registered as the equivalent of a 501 (c) has helped, but there is still a long way to go – with future projects including building a library and treatment room, and replacing the current corrugated iron walls with brick.
In 2013, Pastor Kamau registered the Bethsaida Women’s Empowerment Group as a project of the foundation, with the aim of tackling the root cause of the children’s vulnerability. In 2014, it was elevated to a Community Based Organisation in its own right.
The women’s group has 15 members, but this fluctuates as many married women follow their husbands back to the village to search for employment. They meet together to work on their projects: making soap and paper beads jewellery to sell and are looking to expand the range of products they make.