Breathe easy, we’re CPR certified!

Tabby and Phil practice during CPR re-certification

Practice, practice, practice

Teacher Robert

Our team in Kenya excitedly assembles a new solar water heater- hurray for hot showers! An abundance of gratitude and joy to our supporters for enabling this powerful leap in the quality of life at our home and the children’s happiness level on shower days!

Strategic Planning: Oasis

Flying Kites believes it is of the utmost importance to recognize the larger structural inequalities that breed the desperate circumstances in which so many children’s homes exist. The Oasis Program connects orphanages and caregivers in Nairobi, Kenya with the tools, resources and education necessary to improve childcare, achieve financial independence and gain long-term sustainability. 

We know, we know- strategy meetings make for the MOST exciting pictures.

On Thursday, October 4, 2012, the Oasis leadership team met with industry consultants in order to craft a new strategic plan.  After an ambitious start two years ago, under the direction of Hannah Wesley and Frannie Noble, Oasis organized this meeting as follow up to a conference held in July attended by many in the Kenyan children’s care community.

The leadership team and consultants who met last Thursday used feedback from the July conference to plan a streamlined strategy for the future with Martha Maina, a Kenyan well-versed in the local children’s nonprofit world, as manager of Oasis. Though Frannie and Hannah left huge shoes to fill, Martha began her tenure with gusto by spearheading this powerful meeting to evaluate and retool the program goals. All participants were delighted with the more refined vision that emerged from the strategy meeting.

Oasis is small program with the potential for huge impact.  It seeks to enable other children’s homes to raise the standard of their care by creating a power network for partnerships, professional trainings, resource-sharing, collaboration, advocacy, communication, and legal & financial assistance.

Most children’s homes are focused on their everyday operations because they are understaffed and underfunded, relegating long term planning and strategy to a luxury. These schools, centers, and homes have compassionate staff that are dedicated, but undereducated and overworked.  Oasis will work with interested organizations to create long-term planning, more transparent and better organized finances, and trainings for their staff to better care for the children in their institutions.

After the meeting last Thursday,  Oasis has decided to focus initially on 5 children’s homes, including Flying Kites Leadership Centre in Njabini, with the hope of continuing to scale up as we set in place the new structures and mechanisms for this new model and as funding grows.

The Flying Kites team is excited to see the effects of this plan and more confident than ever in the impact Oasis will have on it’s member institutions.

-Amy Travis, Country Director

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

– Buddha

Jabah leads a brainstorm session

A Look in the Mirror

by Hannah Peterson, Flying Kites Ambassador

Mary stared intently at herself in a hand mirror, tilting it slightly to see her hairline, and then to the side to trace the lines of her ear. The playroom was set up like an art workshop with three big wooden tables cornered by benches, each with a mirror and bucket of colored pencils. For our Mlezi and Championi level sponsors, we decided to make self-portraits to send in the month of September. Orchestrating an activity for 26 energetic kids has its unique challenges, and having executed all sponsorship correspondences over the past year, I’d learned a couple key lessons to keep things going smoothly. Number one, create a lesson plan and split the kids into small groups. Number two, the kids mirror your excitement, so make it something that excites and challenges you too. And finally, number three, always, always, have dance music playing.

I set up my own table and armed myself with glue sticks for each finished picture to be set onto a glittery frame. I gave them the advice that I wished had been given to me in my first art class: draw what you perceive, not necessarily what you see. I knew it was a success when I heard laughter around the room and could look around at the tens of mirror faces revealing themselves.

In the past year, we have funneled effort into sustaining a more creative and evolved relationship between child and sponsor through a correspondence program that spans media types. From emails to holiday ornaments, to self-portraits, to video messages, our hopes are that this program has helped to reshape and enhance this relationship. The unexpected treasure though, always lies in the kids. In showing the kids how to creatively correspond with people around the globe, their own understanding of giving has evolved into a more creative and authentic outlook. It has been a meaningful journey to act as the bridge between child and sponsor, and with the growing intellectual and creative tools cultivated by the kids, I can’t wait to see where they take things next as our superstar Communications Ambassador, Adam, steps into the role.

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Kenya Dig It?

... an update on the happenings of Brian Jones