Each year, the members of SALT choose one project for the World Relief Campaign, a major fundraising effort that is carried out during the spring semester. The 2014 project is called Kick-Start Kibera: Crafting a Brighter Future. Thanks to everyone who has supported the campaign. The goal has been reached, with a total of $30,137.00 raised! Take a look at this YouTube video for an update on the progress that Grain Of Rice Project has made!
Kick-Start Kibera: Crafting a Brighter Future
2014 World Relief Campaign
A Case for Support
The Social Action Leadership Team (SALT) is the social justice ministry of the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University. As a community, students seek to embody the Christian call to be the "salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13). SALT helps students develop a passion and practice of Christian social action. SALTers draw upon God’s love for all people to cultivate the skills of community organizing, awareness raising, and fund development. SALTers are equipped to lead lives of social justice and serve as agents for positive change in their communities.
As an essential part of this mission, SALT annually partners with a local or international organization in order to address critical needs in the organization’s community. For more than 30 years SALT has selected a specific project in need of funding and organized a fundraising campaign for the project known as the World Relief Campaign. This year, SALT is excited to announce the 2014 World Relief Campaign: Kick-Start Kibera: Crafting a Brighter Future. This year’s campaign will directly and positively impact eight individuals and their families living in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya is a country in East Africa that has a coastline on the Indian Ocean. The terrain varies from low plains to central valleys and is bisected by the Great Rift Valley. Kenya has a population comprised of multiple ethnic groups which amounts to around 44 million people. Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 after a liberation struggle led by Jomo Kenyatta, who became the first president. The country is now a multi-party republic after several violent elections in the early 1990’s that challenged the prior existence of a one-party state. While Kenya is a center for trade in East Africa, the country has struggled because of years of corruption.
The capital city of Kenya, Nairobi, houses roughly 3 million people, many of whom live in informal settlements like Kibera. Located in southwest Nairobi, the slums of Kibera house a multitude of people in a very small space. First settled in the early 20th century as a designated area for retired Nubian soldiers who had served in the British East African Army, Kibera has since grown into a bustling and ethnically diverse informal settlement where people live on land entirely owned by the government. Population estimates range from 170,000 people as recorded by a recent Kenyan census, to the White House’s approximation of 1.5 million people.
Regardless of the exact population, most of the people living in the roughly two square mile area of Kibera reside in cramped 12-foot by 12-foot shacks amid unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. Kibera lacks an infrastructure for indoor plumbing, safe access to electricity, and waste removal. Without these public services, residents must walk to collect water, take electricity from dangerously wired communal electrical sources, share toilets with dozens of their neighbors, and live among heaps of waste. Residents of Kibera must also live in a society affected significantly by HIV/AIDS that has a preponderance of gender-based violence, an absence of adequate education institutions, a substantial unemployment rate, and frequent alcohol abuse.
We would like you to meet our new friends:
Jesika, Selina, Tall, Emily, Susan, Leah, Belinda, and Pamela.
Back row from left to right Jesika, Selina, Tall, Emily, Susan.
Front row from left to right Leah, Belinda, Pamela.
SALT has gotten to know these people and their stories through Grain of Rice Project, the ministry that supports them in Kibera. We have been so impressed with their lives and perseverance that we want you to get to know them as well. We hope that you will join us in supporting them as they seek better opportunities to provide for their families.
In this picture you may have noticed their smiles. Tall might have drawn you in with his laughter, Jesika’s sassy look might have made you grin, or Leah’s excitement might have filled you with joy. But what you may not have noticed are the conditions of the environment in the background of the photo.
Our friends live in Kibera, Kenya, an area that some consider
the largest slum in Africa.
Population estimates of Kibera range from 200,000 to 1.5 million people living in roughly two square miles.
No one is certain that Kibera is actually the largest slum in Africa. It is difficult to estimate an accurate population when people like Selina are constantly moving into the area. Leah came to Kibera to live in a simple 12’ x 12’ shack, like most of her neighbors. Tall, who is lucky enough to have a job in a community with an extremely high unemployment level, passes mounds of trash and streams of raw sewage on his walk to work. The toxic air pollution of Kibera often upsets Susan’s asthma and makes it hard for her to breathe. When Belinda returns from a hot day of work, she cannot shower because there’s no indoor plumbing. If Jesika, a single mother of three, wants to cook dinner for her children, she has to spend nearly an hour waiting in line at a communal water source. When Emily finishes work, she cares for the 13 children living in her home. Five of these children belong to her sister who died from AIDS, just like Pamela’s husband. And yet through all of these challenges they persevere and provide for themselves and their families at Grain of Rice Project.
At Grain of Rice Project our friends can support their families and celebrate their talents in an enriching community.
Founded in 2011, Grain of Rice Project is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry, which seeks to empower Kenyan people with the love of Christ. They help our friends become self-sufficient through providing an avenue for selling the handcrafted products they create. Right now, Grain of Rice Project sells their products in the United States, and all of the proceeds go directly to our friends. This people-focused ministry enables our friends to provide for their families and celebrate their talents in a supportive community.
Our friends make many handcrafted goods, including bracelets, purses, and bowls.
Belinda, who was orphaned as a child, says “It’s good being part of Grain of Rice Project because I can earn my daily bread.” And Jesika shares her love of the ministry as she says, “I like coming to Grain of Rice Project because it helps me to gain more skills and get to know knew friends.” Our friends love the opportunity to work at Grain of Rice Project, but their current workspace is not a humane work environment and is preventing them from reaching their full potential. They have dreamt of having a new workshop, and you can help make this dream a reality.
Your gift will help fund a brand new $20,000 workshop for our friends.
The Artist’s Current Workspace:
What Your Gift Will Fund:
The workspace you fund will empower our friends and
help to provide the hope needed to kick-start positive change in Kibera.
This new workspace will enable our friends to increase their productivity and their incomes. It will also provide hope to others in Kibera. Local labor and materials will construct the workshop, and the large space will allow Grain of Rice Project to support more members of the Kibera community. Ultimately, the completion of this project will empower our friends financially, emotionally, and spiritually, and provide hope for a brighter future.
Your gift will enable our friends to continue providing for their families in a humane and welcoming workspace.
We invite you to join SALT and be the grain of rice that tips the scale towards a brighter future for Jesika, Selina, Tall, Emily,
Susan, Leah, Belinda, Pamela and the rest of Kibera.
Grain of Rice Project and the 2014 World Relief Campaign is inspired by the idea from Disney’s film Mulan that "one grain of rice could tip the scale and be the difference between victory and defeat." Our hope is that the small things we can do to empower people will add up to make a big difference in our friends’ lives and will in turn spill over and make a difference in the lives of others. And now that you have met our friends, we hope that you will join us and be the grain of rice that tips the scale towards a brighter future for them, their families, and the rest of Kibera. We invite you to support our friends through the 2014 World Relief Campaign, Kick-Start Kibera, in any number of ways. Thank you.
Donations may directed to:
Chapel of the Resurrection
1600 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
*Checks payable to Valparaiso University with “WRC” in the memo line
Questions may be directed to:
Caleb Rollins, 2014 WRC Chair
Amy Back, Grain of Rice Project
In addition to the help SALT members provide locally, SALT has been helping people around the globe for years with the World Relief Campaign!
2013 project, The YAWA Project: Bettering a Nation Through Education, a project to implement a new reading program at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (South Dakota).
2012 project, "Kenya Dig It: A Well for Wellness," a project to construct a well at a hospital in Kenya.
2011 project, "KuJenga: Building Minds One Block at a Time," a project to build a pre-primary school room in Tanzania.
2010 project, "Casas for Kids: From House to Hope," to build a foster house for children in the village of Los Angeles on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua.
2009 project, "Shui 2 Go: Pipeline to the People" was a project to bring clean water to the rural Yunnan Province of China.
2008 project, Child Creativity Center in Jakarta, Indonesia, EdJakarta, Imagination in Session
2007, Uganda, Mission Nutrition, nutrition program
2006, Haiti, Operation Haiti health care clinic
2005, Malawi, Peanut Butter Project
2004, Crow Creek, South Dakato, Book It to Crow Creek
2003, Bethlehem, Beds for Orphanages
2002, Kenya, AIDS/HIV treatment for children
2001, Costa Rica, Purchase of land for refugees
2000, Brazil, Refrigerated storage unit
1999, India, Water storage system
1998, Mexico, Women's empowerment conferences
1997, Rwanda, Books
1996, El Salvador, Emergency medical care
1995, Pine Ridge, Child Care Playground
1994, Croatia, Women's Center
1993, Zimbabwe, Youth Industry
1992, Haiti, Electrical Power