Ken Yockey, Facilities Performance Engineer at Four Seasons Environmental, Inc., has been involved with the Maasai tribe in Kenya for two decades. Since then, Ken and others have helped the Maasai people with a number of amazing projects, including building wells for fresh water. Recently though, they have begun a new project to help women.
In Kenya, it is a common practice for families to sell their daughters from the age of 10 to 14 due to extreme poverty. These girls often end up as child brides. However, the Resourcing Ministry Partners is providing new opportunity to these girls, and sometimes boys, as possible.
Ken explains, "With the parent's consent, we provide them a place to live near Nairobi, send them to school, and pay for their food and doctors' bills. Our purpose is to allow them to see what a women can accomplish when they are allowed to be educated and schooled in other areas than the traditional areas they have are used too."
So far, there are 31 children in the program, 28 of whom are girls. One girl in the program is 13-year-old Hannah. Ken explains that Hannah's parents cared for her well and sent her to school, but while home on break, she was raped and became pregnant. Her family planned to sell her to an older man because they didn't know what to do with her. Instead, her parents agreed to allow Resourcing Ministry Partners to provide Hannah room and board, and she is now attending school. Ken raised $2,000 to build her a room where she can live so she and the baby will have their own space. Through the program, she will be able to care for the baby and still go to school.
Ken notes, "We're hoping to keep her in school until 12th grade – she has outrageously high test scores, so I would even say she's college material."
Ken says the program goes beyond providing a better life for these young women. "We're trying to make a difference with women and women's needs in Kenya," he explains. "It's very difficult to break the old traditions and, because of what we're doing with Christianity, we have the opportunity to talk about new ideas, such as the value of a woman."Ken says the ministry is offering additional opportunities to women, such as learning beekeeping and eco-farming.
Ken also explains another new program is to promote the value of children. "Believe it or not, children in Africa are not valued," says Ken, "so we're working through the church to show the people that children have value and that has been outrageously successful."
"We're very blessed for the level of trust and cooperation that we have had from the Maasai people and the willingness for the families to participate in all of these different ministry opportunities," exclaims Ken, "and all of it is being done by the Africans, none of it is done by us – I only raise money for it."
If you are interested in donating to one of the amazing causes run by Resourcing Ministry Partners, please contact Ken at kyockey@fseincnet, or send a check to:
Resourcing Ministry Partners
5910 Price Road
Milford, Ohio 45150.