Newsletter December 2020

News from Kisumu

– Container transport

– Sales items by parcel post

– Projects:

         Therapy

         Sport Urusi

         Care St. Clare

         Care St. Francis

Activities

– 50 years of World Shop Berlicum

– Goodbye Jos van Boekel

– Christmas goal collecting empty bottles

Agenda

– Christmas goal ‘t Stekske

– Points of sale

– Sale of facemasks

News from the board

– Review 2020

Container transport

In October 2019 we were approached to join in with sending materials in a container to Kisumu. Together with Liesbeth van Heeswijk and Stichting Klaartje Derks we set to work. Through volunteer Lars we received from Atlas/Medipoint Ravenstein beautiful walking aids and standing tables for children. These resources, a great stock of bandages, splints, washable diapers and new training shirts and suits were neatly prepared for transport. The container was to leave in November 2019, unfortunately we had to deal with delaying factors such as bankruptcy of our contact’s company, papers not approved or more to be filled in and Covid-19 as the last biggest delaying factor. But all this time we’ve stayed positive. Rules changed and clothing or fabrics were not allowed to be put into the container as a result. In July 2020, we finally and quickly received approval. The container could be loaded under supervision. With a group of enthusiastic volunteers who took care of the transport of the last items to the industrial park of Beugen, not to mention moving everything from the temporary to the actual 40footer. Trying to fit in as neatly as possible, filling up holes and stashing everything as firmly as possible was a nice puzzle on one of the hottest mornings of summer. Yvonne Derks provided everyone with coffee, soft drinks and homemade cookies. After 3.5 hours of toil everything was stowed away and full of relief and joy we saw how the container was sealed on its way to the next destination. By land, sea, Mombasa, Nairobi everything finally arrived in Kisumu in October 2020, where everything was received with enthusiasm on the various projects a year later! Despite the setback in the last part we look back on a successful project. We don’t just let ourselves get knocked out and we’re happy with all the positive reactions and happy faces among the recipients.

Sales items by parcel post

We have been selling many beautiful Kenyan products in the Netherlands for years. We always bring these products with us from Kenya. As we can’t go to Kenya ourselves because of Covid, we were running out of stock. That is why we have contacted our suppliers to have certain products sent. We can’t have everything sent in because of the weight and the high costs entailed. And yet, fortunately, there are many products that we can have shipped. The first parcels including cards, sisal angels and key chains have now arrived from Kenya. A third parcel is on its way. In this way, our contacts in Kenya have some income and we can still provide our customers with beautiful Kenyan products. The sales proceeds of these products will go 100% to our projects in Kenya. In short, a beautiful circle! If you are interested, please take a look at our online shop.

Care St. Francis Hambale

Normally, several children from St. Clare’s go to this school when they are old enough. In addition, we have carried out several projects (e.g. new floor in dining room, renovating toilets, computer room, library) at this school. Because of this we have a special relationship with this school. 

The less strict rules since October in Kenya means that the schools are partly allowed to open again. ‘The final classes’ have started again. This means that the children of class 4 (transition from primary to upper level) and class 8 (last year of primary school) return to school. The headmaster, Sister Linet, has informed us that she is very grateful that lessons have started again. The books from the container are already read by these children.

Sport: Football Club URUSI

Since a few weeks we have been able to sport again in Kenya. And that’s why Urusi teams, under 12 and under 16, are once again participating in tournaments organized by KYFA (Kisumu Youth Football Association).  The photos (yellow/black kits of Bouwcenter Centen Bouw Wanroij) show how fanatically they play football. Before each match, the players and coaches get a breakfast and after the games a lunch, which was greatly enjoyed!

Therapy project

The TURBOCAST® sheets of T-Tape Company, which we wrote about in the previous newsletter, have arrived well at the therapy department of the JOOTRH Hospital in Kisumu. Samoo has already made splints for several children. Also for Mercy. Unfortunately, Samoo reported that Mercy has deteriorated considerably. That ,too, is a direct result of Covid. Because of Covid travelling to the hospital is very much limited. The thermoplastic sheets were certainly more than welcome for her as well. 

Of course we informed T-Tape Company that the sheets had arrived in Kisumu in good order and we received a more than friendly response:

Dear Amara team,
Thank you for your kind letter. It is always nice to get good news from you! We are very happy thermoplastic finally arrived to the destination and was used to help kids.
Please let us know, what else can be useful to support your goodwill foundation? I know another sponsor was paying the forwarding expenses for our package, next time we can send it from our end too. Kind regards, good health, success with your good deeds! Hugs Olga

Care: St. Clare Children’s Home

Because of Corona, St. Clare children’s home was forced to let the children go to their (foster) families. It has quite an impact on these families to suddenly have a lot more mouths to feed again. Amara has supported these families as much as possible by delivering food parcels. Fortunately, however, the rules in Kenya have now been relaxed and the young children have returned to the children’s home. Sister Lucy and the carers were very happy to see the children again. And made sure that the children were taken extra good care of immediately upon arrival, because despite the help we offered, several children really had to regain their strength.

50 years of World Shop Berlicum Sint-Michielsgestel

This anniversary was celebrated in a playful way from 4 September to 17 October. One of the actions was that three charities were chosen to receive a donation at the end of the festive weeks. We are proud and happy that Amara Foundation was one of these charities. Amara’s cards have been on sale in the World Shop for several years now and appear to be a successful article! As a bonus, we were allowed to set up a table with several of our products during the festive weeks. 

At the end of October it was announced that we received a nice donation of €375. Thank you board, employees World Shop Berlicum Sint-Michielsgestel and all the people who voted for us. What a lovely donation. And of course:  congratulations on your golden anniversary!

Goodbye ‘t Stekske Jos van Boekel

Jos is kindly disposed towards Amara Foundation and Klaartje Derks and decided to ask for a contribution to us instead of a farewell gift. In March 2020 Jos, who has been in the service for 40 years, was allowed to retire. At the start of the schoolyear he chose to stay until the end of the year and thus be able to experience his last farewell camp  where there was a suitable party with colleagues. The reception was postponed till September. Unfortunately, it was not allowed to take place physically at the time. Online there was the possibility of saying goodbyel.

Jos: Asante sana!

Christmas goal collecting empty bottles

Yara, Milan, Kenza, Gieske, Ties, Steijn are enthusiastic children from Primary School t ‘Stekske in Langenboom who collect empty bottles again this year. Since 9 December, many involved Langenboom residents have had the bottles ready at the front door to collect in a safe way. Bags full have already been collected. Sorting by brand has begun. Other years this was a joint outing for the kids to hand them in at the shops, but that’s different this year. Until December 17th they will still be around! Thank you for your action! Everyone (not to mention mamas Claudia and Mirella) who contributed a bottle: Asante!

Agenda

Christmas goal ‘t Stekske Langenboom: This year we are also a charity at primary school ‘t Stekske. In a somewhat more austere form. The children have already started actions such as ‘a bob a job’. 

Sales in staff room Heerbeeck Best: A beautiful display of our products has already led to sales and enthusiasm. You can buy or donate here until 18 December.

Sales table Municipality of Bernheze: Here too a display with our  products until the end of 2020.

Facemasks for sale: The sale of facemasks is still going on, we have sold for more than €3,500, -. But we still have a very small stock!

Online shop: Still looking for a gift under the Christmas tree? We still have nice stuff for sale in our shop. Go to our online shop!

Looking back on a special year: 2020

Look back on a year of Amara Foundation in a year when the Netherlands are ruled by Covid-19. 

Looking back on a year of Amara Foundation in a year in which Kenya is in a complete lockdown for almost the entire year. Covid-19 has changed the way we live and the lives of Kenyans, of our people. 

The four projects we support in Kenya, the city of Kisumu and the surrounding area, all went according to plan until mid-March. Board members Evelien and Carmen, teacher and supervisor Michel made a great trip to our projects with students from Heerbeek College (Expedition Kenya) the month before Covid-19 broke out. We are so pleased that this journey, which counsellors and students put so much energy into, could go on. In March, board members Maria and Lisanne packed their suitcases with special travel companion Reana for a working visit to Kisumu. Unfortunately, this trip had to be cancelled. 

As a board, we realize how important it is to have built up a good relationship with the people in charge of the four projects in recent years. From March on we have had intensive contact via mail, sms and WhatsApp. The contacts are going very well. 

Over the past few months, we have paid extensive attention in the newsletter to what COVID-19, and the related lockdown, meant for all projects. In summary: hard for all people, virtually no trade, no or very limited income, no support for children who have no home, no specialized care for the group of multiple disabled children, no activities for children and young people, schools closed and also no sports facilities. An anxious and worried community that realizes that there is hardly any help when one gets sick, they hope and expect God to help them.

In the board, we spoke immediately after the announcement of the lock down about the possibilities to support many of these families through a food parcel or an additional monthly donation. Initially, as a board, we hesitated…..can we ask our contributors, in this difficult time for the Netherlands, for extra support. 

We decided to take the step. Through a special mailing, publication on facebook and the website we asked for a donation. The intention was to support about 100 families a month with a food parcel or donation. We hoped to support the families for three months. ‘Wilde Ganzen’ supported us, but we also received a lot of donations. I can tell you, we are very, very much surprised. In the end, we manage to support over 100 families for a total of nine months. Last month we decided that we will continue until the end of December. We were only able to make this decision thanks to the huge AMOUNT OF DONATIONS WE RECEIVED FOR FOOD FOR KENYA, TOTALLING OVER €17,400. You understand that we are very proud and happy that so many people have supported this project. 

We hope that from 1 January 2021  “normal” life will get back on track. If  developments continue   the children will go back to school in January, the multiple disabled children will be allowed back to 24-hour care and trade will get started.   

The board of Amara but also “our Amara family” has really felt supported. Many also mention in their response thanks to all the friends of Amara, who have helped us during this difficult time. 

Fortunately, the “normal” donations, periodic gifts, direct debits have continued. So we can start 2021 with confidence. For us as a board we are surprised that people have continued to support us. THANK YOU.

Finally, a special fact:

You as a sponsor, friend of Amara and we as a board let a special milestone and party quietly pass: this year we have existed for  12 1/2 years!  A suitable festivity was not possible due to  Covid.  

And yet, as a board, we feel festive and are going to be in good spirits in 2021. 

You as loyal supporters make us strong and give us a lot of confidence in the future.

2020 A number of children from St. Clare Children’s Home have already returned from staying with family last month

Everyone who has contributed in 2020

THANK YOU! 

Finally, we wish you

despite all the limitations

a cheerful Christmas and a

happy and healthy 2021

Lisanne Henuy-Rooijakkers – Evelien Hommes-Romonesco –

Carmen van Bergen – Maria Vermeer – Martine Plantinga

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