In Kenya, the situation of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) is an issue of great concern. Currently it is estimated that there are over 3 million Orphans in the country, 47 percent orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS and many more remain vulnerable due to several other factors.
The statistics surrounding the rising population and the immense suffering of these children can be overwhelming. Over 25% of the population live on less than $1 per day and 12-15% of households in Kenya are headed by an orphan sibling. 700 children are orphaned every day (this translates to a child every 2 minutes) and 1/3 of these are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
This means that the number of orphans is set to rise. Traumatized by the death of parents, at times the orphans become anti-social. The fact that these children do not have parents predisposes them to exploitation. Valentine’s is considered to be a day where people express their love, care and affection. Optiven Foundation is currently running a Valentine’scampaign whose goal is to offer some basic yet very needful help to these children. God makes it clear in Psalm 82:3 that we are to “defend the weak and fatherless”.
The targeted home; Soweto Children’s Home has a population of 50 OVCs aged between 1 to 18yrs. The house they previously lived in was inhabitable, which rendered them vulnerable to weather changes that exposed them to water borne and air borne diseases.
Optiven Foundation, the soft arm of Kenya’s leading Real Estate firm Optiven Group, has taken the mandate of helping them have a permanent home. They have partnered with their stakeholders, board of trustees, individuals, corporates and well-wishers to make their dream come true. The project has already commenced and shall take place in the first quarter of this year.
Children affected by HIV/AIDS are vulnerable long before their parents die. Girls, in particular, assume caring responsibilities for their ailing parents besides parenting for their siblings. In some regions of the country, over 25% of orphans are acutely malnourished in a country whose economy is largely driven by agriculture.
With an economically weakened and overstretched traditional African extended family system that can no longer work effectively to address the high OVC burden, most children find themselves without proper social support with the incapacitation and death of their parents. The future of these children remains very unpredictable.
This will deny the OVCs a chance to access their basic needs such as proper health care, education shelter and nutrition. Orphans suffer stigma, stress and trauma in addition to the loss of parental love, care and protection and more often they are disinherited by their next of kin. At Optiven Foundation, we are passionately concerned about the plight of orphans in Kenya and we believe that as an organization, we have a divine responsibility to provide appropriate care and protection to all the OVCs by extending a hand of hope to them.
In a nation with a rising burden of orphans in the community due to HIV and AIDS and poverty driven diseases, communities are struggling to care for the orphans among them. Although awareness of the plight of orphans is growing, no country, including Kenya has mounted the kind of response that is needed to match the severity of the crisis.
The reasons include insufficient knowledge of the magnitude of the problem and the strength (or weakness) of existing coping strategies, lack of clarity on the advantages and disadvantages of possible interventions, limited capacity to implement interventions and scarce resources.
We want in a small way to be the manifestation of God’s caring grace and perfect love to OVCs in Kenya. We will endeavor to protect shelter, clothe, feed, educate, disciple and support them in an environment of family and community.
Our Strategic Objectives
- To initiate and promote programs that would effectively cater for the basic needs of the children
- To provide orphans and vulnerable children with access to the basic human needs including food, shelter, healthcare, clothing and education
- To create linkages focused on eliminating all forms of vulnerability in children thereby enhancing their safety and well-being.
Our Core Intervention Areas
- Provision of a good shelter which fosters a family care system.
- Provision of good health care system
- Provision of good feeding system
We appeal to you to all to contribute as the situation enables you. You can send your donations through