VICODEC | Kenya Works Partnership
Over half of Kenyan school-aged children do not complete their basic education due to a variety of poverty-driven obstacles, including the cost of school fees and uniforms. U.S. Venture and the U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation partner to support Kenya Works and Victory Community Development Center (VICODEC), a school in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Together, they provide education, nutrition, social services, and medical care for students and their families to empower change. The programs are managed in partnership with Kenya Works, a U.S. based nonprofit with programs on the ground in Kenya, and a strategic partnership with VICODEC. The Kenya Works and VICODEC partnership supports the U.S. student sponsorship program, Kenya Works Makini Pad production as well as water tank/classrooms and feeding collaboration. This power of collaboration and connection drives real, measurable change.
TEAM INVOLVEMENTU.S. VENTURE TEAM MEMBER TRIPS
As a way to strengthen the bond between U.S. Venture and our friends in Kenya, U.S. Venture offers team members the opportunity to visit VICODEC and see the Kenya Works programs in action. While visiting, our team members are truly immersed in the culture. A few of the activities include serving lunch, participating in a medical clinic as well as experiencing the lessons and school culture alongside the students and staff at VICODEC. In addition, visitors tour Kenya Works rescue center Miale ya Tumaini as well as joint feeding and water tank projects in the Magadi region.
It was such an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. I have been sponsoring a student, named Pravine, for the last 3 years. I honestly did not grasp what that sponsorship meant to him and his family, until I met them personally. Not only did they invite me into their home, but they expressed such a strong sense of gratefulness that brought tears to my eyes and will forever stay with me. I am also thankful to have gained a better understanding of VICODEC, along with what Kenya Works provides to the Kenyan communities. I could immediately tell that the staff and students at VICODEC put their whole heart and soul into teaching and learning. Our travels to the remote outlying public schools and communities was a true testament to programs like the Feeding, Makini Pad, and gender rights workshops that Kenya Works and VICODEC have helped to establish. It was disheartening to see the extreme need of basic essentials in these communities but rewarding to see the great impact that these programs have made. Overwhelmed was the one word I used often, to describe the way I felt while I was there. Overwhelmed by what I witnessed, but also overwhelmed with the outpour of joy, kindness and love that I received! What I truly learned from all my new Kenyan friends is that we all have something in common, and that is love and compassion. This trip has meant the world to me and I am so thankful to work for a company that truly stands by the meaning of giving back!
-Carrie Baxter, Assistant Finance Operations Manager
I think interacting with the kids was my favorite part of the trip. They always had a smile on their face…so big you could see it behind their masks…they are truly so grateful for everything they have. Being able to see the impact we make firsthand was a truly memorable experience.
-Tom Van Mende, Material Handler at U.S. AutoForce
SponsorshipSTUDENT SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
Just $300 can sponsor a child for one year at VICODEC (primary school equivalent up to 8th grade) and includes tuition, breakfast and lunch, school uniforms, books, and medical care for the student and their family. $500 can sponsor a child’s continuing education in secondary school (high school) for one year and includes school fees, uniforms, room and board, books, and psycho-social support for the student and family.
Having visited VICODEC in 2016, I can assure you, your support is invested well. But why do we support multiple children at VICODEC? Generosity begets unity, the world needs more unity. Unity builds community and communities build opportunity. Love also presides within community, and joy encompasses love. Why do we support multiple children at VICODEC? It stirs up love and joy within our hearts and in the receiver’s heart. Love begets love…unity, community, love and joy…all present in this picture.
-Steve Hamilton, Marketing Manager at U.S. AutoForce
We began sponsoring a child because it seemed like the right thing to do. We continue sponsoring because we believe we are making a difference not only in the lives of these children, but in the lives of their families, and their entire community. Our contribution is small, but the impact is so great. It’s an amazing gift to be able to give.
-Jackie & Michael Sharkey
Women’s HealthMAKINI PAD INITIATIVE AND THE POWER OF INFORMATION
The Kenya Works Makini Pad Initiative addresses menstruation management with an eco-friendly, reusable sanitary pad made of high-performance fabric that is both discreet and reliable. Combined with puberty, self-esteem, and health education, the Makini Pad Initiative also arms girls with the power of information. Not only does this directly impact the daily lives of those who need makini pads but the products are made in Kenya at VICODEC, providing a sustainable income source for the female-staffed production team.
Makini Pads has really helped me. My parents did not have enough money to send me to college. Through Makini Pads, I managed to pay my college for three years and today, I am paying my children’s school fees.
-Florence, production staff
Now I can buy good clothes for my children. I can pay school fee costs and buy food for the family. It has changed our family. When I was growing up, we didn’t have sanitary pads. We used clothes, unclean items. When I see this opportunity, I am so thrilled to help our girls. I want girls to have confidence so they can become empowered and be anything in Kenya.
-Rachel, production staff
Clean WaterCLEAN WATER & FEEDING PROGRAMS
We know education is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight to end poverty and feeding programs at schools have long been tied to better educational outcomes for a few reasons: they increase parent motivation to ensure children attend school; they increase children’s bonds with their school as a safety net versus an obligation; and nutritious meals at schools help individual learners achieve more.
Students at Komitii Primary School receive their school lunch thanks to a VICODEC satellite feeding program. The community was repeatedly denied government funds for clean water and classroom space, so they placed a proposal with Kenya Works to install a combined solution for water and classroom needs. Kenya Works has successfully instituted this model in various other locations throughout the Magadi region, where the saltwater table makes them a poor candidate for drilling water pumps. Kenya Works installed a 115L water tank with a classroom structure above. The community participated in the construction of the building and water collection piping system and water is collected during the rainy season and supplies the community during the dry season.
My greatest joy is that I do not have to carry water to school for cooking lunch every day. I am also learning in a cool classroom away from the scorching sun, where it’s easy to concentrate and remain in class the whole day.
-Titus, student at Komitii Primary School
The lack of clean drinking water was a major issue that has been resolved by Kenya Works. As parents you have relieved us a great task of trying to raise money for a classroom water tank construction. Combined with the VICODEC feeding program, you have helped us put education first for our children.
-Hellen, parent in Komitii Primary
VICODEC & Ray Schmidt’s Heart of Gold
Hear from the late Ray Schmidt about his love for helping people and getting involved both locally and globally. His support of children in Kenya was instrumental in making VICODEC what it is today and his heart of gold championed the relationship between U.S. Venture and Kenya Works.
U.S. Venture Team Member Donation
Are you a U.S. Venture team member interested in donating or sponsoring a child?