Prevent Female Genital Mutilation
In Kenya, our Loreto Sisters work to educate women, men and community leaders about the dangers of this harmful cultural practice, which the World Health Organization has called ‘a form of torture.’ The project’s goal is a community free from Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM), free from fear of curses, myths and taboos enabling young wome to celebrate and enjoy a full life.
Loreto Sister Ephigenia Gachiri has dedicated her life to ending the barbaric practise in Kenya where it is estimated 27% of women aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM. The latest estimates show that three million girls and women are at risk of mutilation every year – approximately 8,000 girls per day.
One of the major issues in eradicating FGM is that there is an enormous amount of culturalism importance placed on this rite of passage, which is believed to prepare a girl for motherhood. As a result, the project has taken a holistic approach. Teachers, community gate keepers, youth, chiefs, law makers and enforcers are engaged to ensure it can be addressed as a community problem and not as women and girls’ problem only.
The project currently operates in over eight constituencies of the Rift Valley in Kenya with an established network of field officers who assist in the coordination of the project, its progress and milestones.
- To build a community free from the practice of FGM, curses, myths and taboos.
- Advocate and campaign for the protection of female human rights.
- Engage FGM survivors to assist in the campaign.
- Train selected leaders to advocate the FGM campaign in their local areas.
- Research and discover the root causes of FGM in order to address them.
- Produce and translate FGM materials for field campaigns.
- Offer refuge to girls in danger of FGM and/or early marriages.
- Make referrals for women suffering from fistula conditions to hospitals for corrective surgeries.
- The lives of over 25,000 girls have been transformed through the project since it began in 1998!
It is hoped the project will be financially sustainable through:
- Income from the Abundant Life Centre’s farm including: dairy, poultry, sheep and pig keeping and vegetable farming.
- Income from workshops at the centre.
- Income from regular donors.
- Support from the global Loreto Sisters Community.
Nyumbani Village Scholarships
Nyumbani Village was developed in 2004 to support 981 orphans and 100 grandparents and carers impacted by the AIDS epidemic. A grandparent or carer heads a family of approximately 10 children. The goal of the project is to assist families that have had the main wage earner pass away due to HIV/AIDS. Approximately 581,400 Kenyan children are orphaned due to the virus and over 105,200 children under the age of 14 are living with HIV/AIDS. (*).
These children lack basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. They lack medical, psychological, spiritual care and parental love and educational opportunities. The Village is in an area of poor climate with less than 700mm of rainfall annually, little or no industrial activity, and very poor economic prospects.
The Nyumbani Village provides a stable home for the most vulnerable. Even in poverty and drought-stricken areas of Africa it is possible to live in safe shelter and receive an education.
(*) – National AIDs Control Council – Kenya HIV Estimates 2018.
- Provide quality tertiary education scholarships to two orphans from the Nyumbani Village.
- Gain employment or start their own businesses to become self-reliant and financially secure.
- Upon graduation and once they have gained employment, each scholarship recipient is asked to support their siblings who remain in the Village.
2018 Project achievements
- Two scholarships have been awarded.
- At present the project is investing heavily in Primary and Secondary education to ensure that students perform very well in their Form IV examinations and enter government funded institutions, where they can easily access bursaries and student loans.
- The project has started a primary, secondary and polytechnic in the compound. Last year 44 candidates sat their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Some of these students pursue courses that are not offered at the polytechnic, while others are admitted to universities or institutions of higher learning. It is this group that are seeking scholarships.
- Nyumbani Village has a reintegration program whereby once a family member gains employment, they return to the family home and care for them.
Mary Ward Agriculture & Environment Conservation Project
This project promotes self-reliance and improved sustainability by generating income to support the Mary Ward Retreat Centre. The Mary Ward Retreat Centre is a conference facility with its own chapel, pastoral buildings and accommodation in Nairobi, Kenya. Members of the local community are employed and trained to support this agricultural project.
MWIA funding is designated for the regeneration of the land around the pastoral buildings to encourage food production and improve sustainability by generating income to support the centre. The centre plans to use two acres of land to grow a variety of vegetables, keep poultry for meat and eggs and rear a cow for milk production.
This project was supported by an international grant received from Missio Munchen, Germany.
- Construct a greenhouse measuring 15m x 8m.
- Install a drip line system for irrigation of crops.
- Purchase and install a 500-litre water tank.
- Plant 500 tomato plants in the greenhouse which can produce 50 tomatoes each.
- Have an agronomist train two staff members and twenty casual workers.
- Construct a dam with the capacity to hold 50 000 litres of rain water to overcome water shortages.
- Plant various vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, leek, beetroot, onions, cabbage, pumpkin, carrots, capsicum, coriander, celery.
- Purchase cows, broiler chicks and layer chicks.
2018 Project achievements
The project has promoted education in agronomy and improved the skill sets and understanding of all the steps in agricultural management. There has been a rich harvest of healthy tomatoes and there is a small income from the sale of vegetables and chickens. The farm will be a pilot for others who are looking to mirror its success. We expect the farm will continue to generate income, especially now that the infrastructure is in place.
Join us today in helping children to reach their potential and unlock poverty.
In Peru, the Loreto Sisters have worked and lived in Jicamarca, Peru for over 15 years. In partnership with the Jesuits and the local community, the Sisters established a primary and secondary school. Tailoring workshops have now also been established, encouraging women to gain employment and start their own business.
The Loreto Mission in Rumbek, South Sudan has assisted the Maker Keui community through the provision of education, health and employment. This project will improve the standards of personal hygiene of 1477 primary and secondary school students and young women studying in Loreto Schools, Rumbek.
Loreto Vietnam focuses on early childhood and primary education providing a strong foundation for future learning and development. MWIA also currently supports educational scholarships ensuring students have the resources and support to complete tertiary education. MWIA is proud to assist female students to attend university and create a brighter future.