Creation of Hope – a Kenyan orphanage with Canadian roots

Several years ago, Canadian author Eric Walters had a chance meeting with a woman from Kenya. Ruth and her husband Henry spent some time in Canada but longed to make a difference for people in their home country, Kenya. Eric also longed to make a difference and to connect young people in Canada with those in Africa.
Eric and his wife Anita founded Creation of Hope, an organization to help better the lives of orphans in Kenya. Ruth and Henry offered their land in the high hills of the Mbooni region, outside Nairobi.
Miraculously, things have been falling into place every since their fortunate meeting: people wanted to help, schools and individuals started sponsoring children. Young boys and girls without any family would have likely ended up as street children without any hope in their future. Now these same children have clean clothes, a bed and a regular meals. They attend school and even have the opportunity of university in their future.
Eric works very hard to support the 60 some children in the care of Ruth and her staff. He also encourages schools and anyone interested, to help financially. It is amazing to see how much they have accomplished.
They have been able to build a large multilevel building with dorms for boys and girls, a kitchen, a dining area and bathrooms with running water.
The stove uses bio fuel produced from manure from their own cows!
A huge garden provides healthy food like beans, corn, kale, tomatoes, lots of strawberries and mangoes. They bake their own bread and sell cakes to the community.

Eric has written several beautiful books based on his African adventures. To write his new novel, Walking Home, he actually walked across Kenya with a group of orphans. They crossed the second largest slum area in the world: Kibera. They walked hundreds of kilometers, in Kenyan heat, all the way to the hills of Kikima where the orphanage now looks out over the valleys. When you purchase this novel, $1.30 is donated to Creation of Hope.

In his picture books Hope Springs and My Name is Blessings he shares stories of real children in his care. The first one tells the touching tale of how a well was build to provide water and how the children reached out to the broader community to help a nearby village as well.

The children all attend school. Some are now awaiting exam results in hopes of continuing their education. Some girls are now in university and everyone beams with pride when they talk about their success.

In addition to the children living in the orphanage, they sponsor another 100+ children who live with a friend or relative. These children are given their own goat to get ahead in life, and food is brought regularly. Ruth smiles and says “When people ask how many children I have, most people will say 2 or 3 or 5. I say 160!” And she smiles as proudly as any mother would.

It was a privilege to visit the Walters’ success story in Kenya and to meet the very impressive Ruth who quietly moves mountains. And it was special to meet the kids whose happy grins tell the whole story.
If you would like to support Eric Walters’ Creation of Hope, you can make a donation or even sponsor a child as an ongoing commitment:

Ethiopia Reads

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Many years ago, my friend and colleague Jane Kurtz, a children’s author from the US who was born in Ethiopia, was part of a group of both Americans and Ethiopians wanting to put books in the hands of children here. They were instrumental in starting up a library program to help bring literacy and a love of reading to children in Ethiopia.
Their vision blossomed into a solid organization: Ethiopia Reads.
With an administrative and fundraising headquarters in Minnesota and a local office in Addis Ababa, the program now runs some 65 libraries across Ethiopia.
Their mission statement says ‘Ethiopia Reads collaborates with Ethiopian communities to build schools, plant libraries, teach teachers, boost literacy and provide youth and families with the tools to improve their lives’.
Ethiopia Reads’ projects include starting and running libraries at local schools that did not previously have books.
The school has to make available a space suitable for a library.
ER than supplies books and a librarian and helps to foster a love of reading in local children and their families. They help to train teachers to be librarians and organize programs such as story time.
A few of the libraries are community libraries, open to anyone who wants to come and read. Often the children, and adults, don’t actually borrow the books, but come in to read and to listen to stories.
In the countryside, some of the libraries are not located in buildings. These unique, horse powered mobile libraries deliver books to remote villages.
In the US Ethiopia Reads offers a consistent program to help with their fundraising. You can sponsor a book or an entire library. You can attend events, donate and even come to work as a volunteer. I know I enjoyed my visit to a small community library yesterday, where the kids were eager to hear stories. I can’t wait to visit a school library later this week.
Check out the website for many details on how you can be involved (with your students!), to watch videos and more: