Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Posting for transparency

Alexia (a volunteer),
Imani Agape is not a tourist venue. You will have to wash in the river, and be careful not to contract malaria ! The children are orphans amd most have suffered abuse of some form. However they are lucky as they do have support from a US church and mission, who have funded their school fees, clothing and built a new building. Imani Agape are now at a stage where they can help AVIF in a logistical way as well as being a fantastic experience for volunteers.
....(part removed for confidentiality) Greed is an unfortunate consequence of success and sometimes clothing and donations to children are sold on for other means. The fact remains that the children are still in need of our non-financial support.
Giving a poor child money will not help them in life.
We do not support Imani Agape financially, in fact we only ever pay them for their logistical support e.g. driving / hiring a minibus. Job Manenga is a very trustworthy young man and will go far out of his way to make you comfortable. Money is a different matter but when asked Job will help with anything we need. I value the work he has done for us.
Do not get too focused on the dark side of Africa (e.g. The Constant Gardener movie). There is corruption all over Kenya, and Africa. We should be thankful that there are areas in Kenya we can actually travel without fear of being robbed, mugged or killed. Darfur is not so far away !! Security is a serious issue which is high in our priorities, and Imani Agape is a good introduction. From there you can go to stay at the JNMCC, Jehovah Nissi Mercy Childrens Centre in Maseno. Mercy home, ran by Deborah and Edward, and also supported by a US church group are in more need than Imani Agape. ..........(part removed for confidentiality) 
Imani does not have computers or grid electric by the way, Pastor Liston lives nearer to Kisii and has such things, probably because of his salary from Directing the home, but he has worked very hard over the years on behalf of the children, and his wife, and son, Job. He is, however, paid a pittance compared with some larger "aid" organisation salaries. Corporate costs is not something I want AVIF to be covering, I would rather money go directly on sustainable projects.
AVIF seeks to keep everything in perspective, and does not simply handout money !
However, be assured we are not blind ! and are currently actively involved in removing a proven corrupt Director from an orphanage in Nakuru, so as to ensure the safety of the children housed there. I do not believe, however, this is something you need to be involved in.
Kindest regards


Anonymous said...

I, too, have visited Imani Agape. I have been supporting three of the children for several years now. Up until, that is, just yesterday, when I found out that the orphanage director, Liston Manenga, has deceived me yet again. Please be advised that your gifts probably will not make it to the children and you will not get an acknowledgment or a thank you, from the management. They seem to have a sense of entitlement and and have lost their initial love for helping the kids. It has become a good paying business for them. As much as $1,000 US per month has been sent regularly in the past from one church in Washington state alone. We have paid them too well, I'm afraid. The kids are great, but the director lives high on the hog in a nice house in town and pays expensive cab fares each week to go and bring supplies to the orphanage, instead of living out in the country with the kids and saving all of that donated money. He even takes his clothes to the drycleaners! I visited there for two weeks in 2006 and saw many examples of money wasted. They will not take criticism or advice, they lie constantly, and I have been told that they are not respected by the Kenyan authorities as an organization worthy of support. I'm sorry to say this, but please find a better managed charity to support. They are out there. There is no accountability from the director as to how much money comes in or how much is spent. He will not tell one organization that another is also supporting him. Several of the orphans are the director's own nieces and nephews, too. I bought them a really nice ($240 US) digital camera with a $50 memory card, but I understand that they are still asking people for cameras and laptops, and I'm still not getting photos. I went two years without a photo of my three children, and the ones I had were photos that I took myself while I was there. Job is helpful while you are visiting, but he also falsefied the papers on at least one of the "orphans" that was really his nephew.

AVIF Volunteers in Kenya said...

I am so sorry this has happened to you. I have noted your words and in fact AVIF have not assisted IAO since Summer 2006 because of accountability issues. I am well aware this kind of thing happens so thank you for letting us know. Please contact us via the website if you want to continue to help as we can always try to move the orphans you support so you can be assured it is them that will benefit, not Manenga.