Wednesday, August 7

2013 Mid Year Report

Read what the Partners for Care team in Kenya has accomplished since January 2013....amazing. Connie

Thursday, July 18

Delivering 1,500 water packs to women most in need

The photos tell the story. The women who live on these islands were amazed that someone had brought them water back packs making their long journey for water much easier.

The PFC staff did a great job reaching these women. The walk through the water is 20 minutes - carrying packs to the women.

Thanks to Greif and PackH20 for making all this possible and to Liz Blake, Habitat for Humanity for introducing PFC to the water packs.


Tuesday, July 9

PFC featured on People in Aid blog

When I was in Kenya last time, Adam Bentham, Communication Director, with People in Aid (an NG0 in England) made a site visit to Partners for Care. Adam loved the mHealth program and the water packs.

He wrote a story about PFC and took some great photos. He posted the story on their blog. We are grateful to Adam for his visit and for the story he wrote.

Here is the link:

I hope you enjoy reading about the organization you support.


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Tuesday, June 18

Steve Saint - The Next Chapter - One Year

For those who want to see how Steve Saint I'd doing one-year later here is a link to his latest video. Steve is a man of great faith and courage. Connie

The Next Chapter - "One Year" - Steve Saint

To watch the video please click the image below or follow this link to YouTube.
The Next Chapter - "One Year"
On June 12, 2012 Steve Saint was seriously injured while conducting an aerodynamic test with a rolling stand.  In this sixth chapter of the series, Steve Saint gives an update one year after he suffered an injury that nearly took his life. Though he has come a long way on this journey, he shares the reality of the difficulties he must face on a daily basis.  We are very thankful for all of the prayer and support, and we hope that you will continue to pray for Steve, his family, and I-TEC as we strive to walk His trail through each chapter in the story He is writing.

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Monday, June 17

Just the little things

I am returning from Kenya. While in Kenya I visited with the leaders of each of the Partners for Care programs. I realized the things the leaders of the programs asked for were little things that would make a difference for the many people they serve....

Dr. Mercy asked for a small cooler to transport vaccines. She wanted 3 spoons, a pitcher and a tray to show Moms how to mix solution to rehydrate their babies who were dehydrated.

Pastor Hirbo asked for a soccer ball and he needs vaseline to treat the jiggers in the children's feet

Sam wants more desks as he has so many students in 2nd Chance who want to learn

John just wanted to get two of his computers repaired as he has so many students

And, Pastor John needs a bed for one of the 10 children who now call him Dad.

Little things mean more people can reached by the Partners for Care staff. Thank you for supporting PFC so we can help Kenyans help those who need help.

Glad for those who use little things to help many,

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Saturday, May 25

Pastor Hirbo serving the people of Marsabit

The ministry work of Pastor Hirbo in the harsh region of Marsabit is humbling and personally brings me to tears when I see his photos. Whatever you give Pastor Hirbo he turns into a ministry reaching many. Give him pencils and notebooks and he starts a 2nd Chance School. Give him buckets and vaseline and he treats jiggers. Give him shoes and he finds the most desperate man to give them to. Give him computers and he teaches the youth of Marsabit computer skills. Give him a bible and he goes to the schools to reach the young and has a revival under a tent. He never asks anything for himself.....only for those things that will help him serve the hurting, the homeless and those most in need.

Many of you give to PFC so Pastor Hirbo can serve the people of Marsabit. Some of you have given pencils, shoes, buckets, bibles, etc. I wanted you to see how a man 10,000 miles uses what you give.

Praying for Pastor Hirbo and the people he serves,


Monday, May 13

Honoring two special Moms on Mother's Day

This Mother's Day Partners for Care is honoring two very special Moms.

The first Mom is Kathi Gruber. Kathi, who died six years ago, was the wife of David Gruber, PFC's co-founder. In Kathi's memory David created Kathi's House of Restoration in Kenya. Kathi’s House of Restoration in Mai Mahui provides temporary care and treatment of children orphaned by HIV/ AIDS.  
Kathi dreamed of serving in Africa, but God called her home before she was able to go. Instead, David went for her. As a result, Kathi's House has helped many children over the years! David Gruber has faithfully supported Kathi's House, creating a legacy to honor Kathi.  

The second Mom is Susan Spencer. Susan loved the Partners for Care team in Kenya! And, they loved her. The PFC team was like a second family to Susan, and she was like a "mum" to them.  Some of my fondest memories are being with Susan in Kenya. Susan was a joy to watch as she played and danced with the children.

I have made a donation in memory and honor of Kathi and Susan. The funds will be used to support Kathi's House and the PFC team Susan loved.  

I thank God for the blessing of these two special moms and their lasting impact on Partners for Care.


Monday, May 6

Partners for Care Photos Selected for Harvard Display

Four photos have been selected by Harvard for their display on Global Health Programs called "Eyes Wide Open". We are excited that these photos showing the women using the water back packs will be on display at Harvard for four months and then possibly at other graduate schools after that.

Partnering together Greif Corporation, PackH20, Habitat for Humanity and Partners for Care have distributed these awarding winning water back packs to ease the burden for women carrying water for their families. 

 Title: The Long Walk Home
Photographer: Pastor John Hirbo, Director of Marsabit Outreach, Partners for Care Kenya
Location: Parkishon Village, Kenya
In Parkishon Village, near Marsabit Town in far Northeastern Kenya women walk up to 8 hours in search of water.  The water back pack makes their long walk easier.

Title: The Joy of receiving water back packs
Photographer: Samson Gitonga, Director of Communications, Partners for Care Kenya
Location: Parkishon Village, Kenya
In Parkishon Village, near Marsabit Town in far Northeastern Kenya women walk up to 8 hours in search of water. The water back packs were received by the women with great joy.

Title: African Women at Work
Photographer: Connie E. Cheren, Founder, President of Partners for Care
Location: Machakos, Kenya
In Machakos women walk up and down steep hills to reach a water source. The water back pack makes their climb easier.

Title: Rendile Woman Carrying Baby and Water
Photographer: Samson Gitonga
Location: Parkishon Village, Kenya
In Parkishon Village, near Marsabit Town in far Northeastern Kenya women walk up to 8 hours in search of water. Many times they carry their babies with them. The water back packs make this possible.

Monday, April 29

Success! Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Malaria Kills, Nets Save campaign!  We have raised enough to purchase 137 bed nets.  The bed nets you purchased will be distributed by our staff this week to families in Marurui Slum, Kenya. But let's keep going -- we want to distribute 400 nets.

Tell your friends, family, boss, co-workers, children, neighbors, classmates and teachers to buy a $10 bed net and save the life of a child……TODAY!

Photos to follow!

Thursday, April 25

Help us meet our goal of giving 400 children in Kenya a net that prevents malaria

Today I found the article that explains why we initiated our program Project 473. I read the statistics again in the article and remembered why we do what we do...473 children under age 5 die everyday in Kenya. And, 93 of them die from malaria - 34,000 children every year who die from the lack of a bed net.

Help us help the team on the ground save some of those children. Buy a bed net...or two...or a hundred. Bed nets work. They save lives. The bed net costs $10.00 each. It is here - it only takes a few minutes to save a life.

Thanks to those who already donated to our campaign Malaria Kills...Nets Save.


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Tuesday, April 23

Malaria Kills, Nets Save

Malaria is a preventable disease, yet it kills one child every 60 seconds in Africa. 

How can that be when a $10 bed net would save that child?

We would all gladly buy most anything for $10 if it would save the life of our own child.  Will you join Partners for Care in providing treated bed nets for children in Africa?  

Every child deserves life.   Give to live!

Saturday, April 20

Malaria kills...nets save

April 26th is World Malaria Day - 6 days from today!
Partners for Care has a goal and a prayer . . .to raise funds for 400 bed nets for children in the slums. Our Partners for Care staff will distribute the nets door to door teaching Moms how important a net it can save their child's life.
Thank you to those who have already bought nets. If you've not yet had a chance, it's easy and a VERY affordable way to make a difference in someone's life - just $10.00 a net. 
Please take a minute, follow the link below, and help give someone a hope and a future.  When you are on the site it is easy to send to your Facebook, twitter or whatever social media you use! Help us get the word out to others.

Thanks for giving...thanks for getting to word out and thanks for caring.

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Tuesday, April 16

Buy a net, save a child

In African communities where treated bed nets are hung, malaria-related child deaths are often reduced by 45%.

Buy a net, save a child.

Friday, April 12

Malaria kills...nets save

I am asking you to join me in helping prevent at least one child from dying from malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria.  Just by purchasing a single treated bed net, you can save one child. The more nets you purchase, the more children can be protected from the deadly mosquito that carries this disease. Our team on the ground will deliver the net to a child and follow-up to make sure the net is used properly.  

April 26 is World Malaria Day.  Malaria kills, nets save.  Join Partners for Care in this important campaign.  

Here's a link. It's really fast and easy.

Thank you for caring and for making a difference,


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Friday, April 5

Most challenging but rewarding day

I spent the day with a film crew filming the use of the water back packs. The footage will be used in the TV documentary Responsible Business featuring Greif.

Our first location was the small, village church where we distributed the water pack bags on Monday. The team had already distributed packs here earlier so they have been using them awhile.

The filming went great! Five of the women put the packs on and we followed them down to the watering hole. Keeping up with them was hard on the steep, muddy trail!
Daniel -  camera man
They filled their packs and Daniel (the camerman) filmed them climbing up from the hole with their water packs on their backs. He then followed them up the hill, through a field planted with maize and beans and back to the church.

The women also showed Daniel what it was like to carry a jerry can full of water up the hilly, muddy trails. It is hard for them to keep their balance with a jerry can on their back.
Carrying heavy jerry can up a muddy hill
Francisco the Community Health Worker took us to her house and Daniel filmed her explaining how the water back pack keeps the water safe.

The pastor was filmed telling how the women can better hear the word of God when they aren't in pain from carrying the heavy jerry can.

We completed the filming at the PFC medical clinic filming Mercy, our clinical medical officer, Robert, PFC board member and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, Sammy the Director of PFC Kenya and me. We each played a part in telling about the impact of the water back packs in Kenya.
Preparing for our interviews
1. Mercy told them how important the packs are in helping women in the rural area drink safe water and avoid the diarrhea diseases. She said these women are the ones who ensure the family has food and when they are sick the family goes hungry.

2. Robert said how making the pack backs in Kenya would provide jobs and could be a great social enterprise for PFC.

3. Sammy thanked Greif and PackH20 as PFC is in the business of saving lives and the water back packs help in this mission.

4. I spoke of how vital it is to partner with companies like Greif. They have the ideas and the desire to help in the world and we have the "boots on the ground" to go the last mile to deliver to those most in need.

When the documentary is completed I will send you the link to watch.

A rewarding but tiring day...but worth it!

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Monday, April 1

Perfect water back pack distribution

Today I observed the Partners for Care staff execute a perfect water pack distribution! What a joy to watch. They had already distributed 50 packs at this church and they were returning to distribute 50 more packs. This is a small, village church that is one of 250 churches that we are partnering with.
The team didn't share with me that we would be driving down a mountain to the church! And, it was muddy from the rain. I closed my eyes a few times and prayed.

It is really impossible to describe how the water back packs have helped these women! The women walk DOWN a hill about a mile to fetch water from a stream that is down a hole!
Getting water from the well
And, they pay for the water because the land is owned by someone. Some of the women go at 2am to get there early before the stream is dry. These women were tying a jerry can on their back to fetch the water. I put it on my back to see what it felt like. Just imagine putting five 10 pound bags of potatoes and walking up a muddy, hilly trail for over a mile. Truly, it seems impossible to do! I walked to the stream with them without carrying anything and it wasn't easy!
Heading home with packs
Now they have the water back packs! To say they love them doesn't really explain the happiness and appreciation we saw today.
They even go at night for water
Many things made this distribution perfect:

1. The pastor is the one ensuring the distribution of the packs.
Distributing packs
2. The community health workers teach the people how to use the packs.
Community health worker explaining how she likes her pack
3. They are using water guard to ensure the water is safe for drinking. And, for those who can't afford the .25 to buy water guard the PFC staff taught them how to use solar sanitation to ensure the water is safe.

4. The small church was full with the villagers coming to receive the packs and to thank the PFC staff for the packs they received last time.

5. The children sang and danced for us and then the youth sang. They had electricity for the sound system from a small generator.

6. They prepared food for us and tea - very humbling given their level of poverty. We sat outside the church in plastic chairs enjoying the view of the beautiful mountains of Kenya and shared the meal.

7. As we were leaving, they gave us a live chicken in appreciation. We have the chicken in a box in the back of van - taking it to Nairobi with us!

It was wonderful watching the Partners for Care team distribute the packs! They are doing an outstanding job - they teach how to use the water back packs, then they have the people do the return demonstration to ensure they know how to use the packs correctly and then they give the packs to the pastors who works with the CHWs to distribute the packs. The Partners for Care team truly enjoy seeing how the water pack backs change the lives of so many people. We are blessed as an organization to be involved with Greif, PackH20 and Habitat for Humanity with the pack project.

From Kenya,

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Saturday, March 30

Kenya has a President

Even though the election for the President of Kenya was a couple week ago, the final decision was just announced as there was a dispute because the election was very close. But, unlike five years ago when there was violence the dispute was taken to the courts. They just announced their decision.

Raila (the candidate who lost) was denied his appeal by the supreme court - Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of the Republic of Kenya. There is a lot of celebration and only small, isolated protests. Kenya has peacefully elected their President.

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Thursday, March 28

Sharon's reflections on her trip to Kenya

Hi everyone!

I'm back in Alpharetta safe and sound after a 21-hour trip home from Kenya!  It feels great to be home, though it seems like I've been gone much longer than just a week!  I guess that's what happens when God packs so many experiences into such a short timespan.

As you know from my previous updates, I had the opportunity to experience every Partners for Care program in Kenya except our ministry in Marsabit.

Everywhere I went, I saw people who by our standards are extremely "materially poor."  And I wondered....... Why am I so blessed Lord to have a home, more than enough food to eat, clothing, electricity, clean running water, an automobile.....?  Why me Lord?  Why do some people have so little and I have so much?

The only answer that makes any sense is that God wants me to use my blessings to help others. Our Partners for Care team does just that. And so do you! Every time you pray for this ministry and donate financially, you make it possible for our guys on the ground to bless the people, and especially the children, of Kenya!

Lunch at Gembuga in Maai Maihui

When we visited Kathi's House in Maai Maihui (a PFC program for widows and orphans), I walked into a tiny little concrete house with no electricity and no running water.

Pastor John and his wife Mary, currently care for 4 children of their own plus two little girls they recently rescued from desperate circumstances, Mineh and Jaridad.  In the coming weeks, they will begin caring for 8 more children who will be moving there from the children's home called Tree House. These are some of Nick and Charles' children who were living in Mathare Slum. There will be 10 children in a house the size of a college dorm room.  Can you imagine if your spouse came home one day and said, "by the way honey, we'll be adding 8 more children to our family, are you okay with that?"

Kathi's house has no washer and dryer for laundry and Mary cooks all the family's meals on a tiny little cooktop over an open flame. The children sleep 2-3 to a bed in a small dormitory next to the main house.  But here the children will be well cared for and loved.  They'll help cultivate the crops from the Hope Farm which is used to grow food like corn (maize) and beans and feed the family.  They'll be free of the dangers and darkness of life in a slum and instead, will experience the beauty of life in the Rift Valley, one of the most beautiful areas of the country.

Obviously, we will need to raise additional funds to help Pastor John and Mary feed and clothe the children and for fees and uniforms to attend school.

My experiences in Kenya have taught me a great deal.  I'm very humbled. Most of the world does not live the way I do.  I am blessed to be a blessing.

I can't thank everyone enough who contributed prayer and financial support to send me to Kenya.  You helped me to trust God in an area of my life I had never totally surrendered and I'm grateful for all that He taught me from the experience.  The work I do for PFC already had significance, but now it means so much more. Now it's personal.

Thank you Connie for allowing me the opportunity to meet and personally witness the incredible, life-saving work of our Partners for Care team on the ground.  These brave guys and young women give new meaning to the term "servant-hearted."

If any of you are interested in going to Kenya with PFC and seeing for yourself how PFC is changing lives, let me know -- it may be also be the answer for you to the question of "Why me Lord?"
Be sure to check our blog in the next day or so for photos of my trip:

Sharon Dicks
Partners for Care
Director of Development
(770) 294-3586

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Tuesday, March 26

She came, she saw and she has returned to the US

Sharon as most of you know is the Director of Development for Partners for Care. Sharon has made a BIG difference in what we have been able to raise for PFC. She helped PFC have a successful year end campaign! She has organized 10 student interns/volunteers to help PFC. And, so much more.

I was amazed how she studied and learned about the PFC Kenyan staff, the different programs and ministries. I would sometimes overhear her telling a potential donor about the work of PFC and about the need and I was always impressed with how much she knew about the organization. And, she would tell people passionately about the work of PFC...and she had never been to Kenya.

So last week she came to see for herself. She knew the PFC staff by name as she had seen them in the thousands of PFC pictures she had sorted through. She recognized Sammy, David, Justus, Moses, etc. She knew their work as she had created the PFC calendar that featured each of the ministries.

Now she was meeting the staff and hearing from them first-hand about their work. She also came to meet the people in Kenya the PFC team serve.

Sharon did great! It isn't an easy trip physically or emotionally. She went to Mathare slum and met Christine and other women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She heard their stories and listened to their struggles. She went to Kathi's house and met the two girls Pastor John has rescued.  She met one of Pastor John's football teams and saw them in the uniforms and football shoes that she had received from PeacePassers - one of our partners.

She went to see Nick and Charles' children.

She spent an afternoon with the PFC volleyball girls where she met Jane.

Jane is one of the volleyball girls who can't go to high school because she doesn't have the school fees. She has met all the staff except those in Marsabit.

After a very busy week she has returned home...but she won't forget who she met and they won't forget her.

I am very grateful that Sharon would travel on four planes for a total of 32 hours - not her favorite thing! That she would leave her family including Moses her dog for so long. And, that she would allow God to use her to help Partners for Care help the team in Kenya serve. Thanks Sharon and thanks to all those who supported her with prayers and financial support!

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Saturday, March 23

Greetings from Kenya!

Yesterday, we spent several hours visiting people in Mathare Slum, 2nd largest slum in Kenya with over a million people. No words to describe what that was like, you have to see this kind of poverty to believe it. As far as I could see, the slum stretched on. The two women we visited are both single mothers infected with HIV/AIDS and trying to feed themselves and their children. They live in a metal and dirt shack, maybe 9 x 9 feet usually with several other family members. The living conditions defy description. Even in prison, an inmate's basic needs for shelter, food, and water are met. Not so for the people of Mathare Slum. 

Partners for Care works with a small community-based organization located in the slum called Community Transformers (all kenyan volunteers) to help families like these with medical care, food, counseling and Christian support groups. There is an air of desperation in this enormous slum as the struggle to survive plays out.  But the little  children in their tattered, dirty clothes, were singing and holding my hand as they follow me through the slum. And both of the brave women we visited  were grateful for the blessings from God  of Partners for Care and Community Transformers.  it's hard to believe people can survive, let alone hold onto hope, in those kind of conditions.

I have such respect for our PFC team and all they are doing here to help these people.

Saturday morning we went into downtown Nairobi to purchase the beautiful handmade  African products that we'll sell back home to raise funds for PFC. What an experience that was! Hundreds of vendors with their wares all laid out in an open air market all waving and yelling at the same time to get you to buy their goods! Total exhausting chaos, but we made some excellent purchases so it was worth it.

As I write this, there are 20 young Kenyan children here in the house watching a movie, They are all members of our PFC girls volleyball team.

The girls all live in the slum but play volleyball together on a PFC team to encourage kids to stay in school and make good choices with their lives. These kids have relatively nothing materially but want to lead by example to help change the lives of other kids! Pretty amazing stuff,

I am enjoying my time here in Kenya but miss all of you back home. Its a wonderful thing to visit another nation and experience their culture, and I'm immensely grateful to all of you for this opportunity.

Tomorrow we travel to another PFC program, Kathi's House in Maai Mahui near the Rift Valley. Kathi's House is a ministry to widows and orphans.

Ill write again soon. Miss and love you all!