OLPS is an organization that supports communities in Kisumu and Siaya that have been stricken with cases of HIV/AIDs. These regions also suffer from issues brought about by the natural landscape and an agrarian economy — drought and flooding impact incomes, while also bringing malaria and other water-borne illnesses. Amidst these struggles, incredible stories of individual perseverance and a community’s vision have helped to bring important stability and change, and to build a sustainable and healthy future for all.
My name is Anastasia Juma Sinawa, and I am the Founder and Director of OLPS. I was once a nun, but despite my new role outside the church, I am committed to community service and to supporting the most vulnerable among us. In 1992, I founded OLPS with a group of HIV positive women. I can’t understate the devastating impact of HIV/AIDs on our beautiful community on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. Families are torn apart, women and mothers are left in poverty, and children are orphaned.
In the early days, our primary objective was to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS, as there was virtually no biomedical treatments available. Our first projects helped to increase the acceptance of people living with AIDS within communities, integrating orphans into caring family units, and helping to bolster the economic conditions of people living with the condition. From the beginning, OLPS worked to respond to the basic needs of finding shelter, food, palliative care, counseling, and education for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
In 1999, we registered OLPS as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and widened our scope to include HIV prevention, care and treatment, reproductive health education and promotion, and programs aimed at creating healthy, empowered, and productive youth.
Over the years, we have dedicated our lives to creating sustainable livelihoods among the community we work with. Women in particular feel the effect of the conditions I’ve described, so we give a special focus to their needs. To overcome our circumstances, we looked to the gifts of our natural resource — our fresh water and ability to irrigate crops, and our dedicated and determined community members.
Some of the team that helps make our work possible include:
Erick Ochieng Aluru, OLPS/Mamahope Projects Manager
Erick is a living example of transformative works of OLPS. Picked up by OLPS in 1998 after the death of his father, Erick went through his secondary and university education with OLPS’ support. After attending university, he came back and joined OLPS as a youth mentor, then later began to manage OLPS/MAMA HOPE Projects. Erick has helped to develop structures for our organizations to collaborate through a spirit of partnership.
Peter Ochieng Oloo, Farm Manager
Peter is the manager of the OLPS’ Sustainable Farm, and comes to the role with a rich agricultural background. He started working with OLPS in November of 2015, and is working hard to realize our vision for a sustainable farm that will serve our entire community.
Meg Atieno Mwadime, CRC Manager
Meg is a mother and a sister to all the children at the Children’s Rescue Center (CRC). She has a special training in children’s care, and a demeanor that has endeared her to the entire school. She leads a team of CRC workers, including teachers, caretakers, cooks. and security staff.
Our current journey is one of sustainability, for our 3 key projects:
Children’s Rescue Center (CRC)
OLPS Children’s Rescue Center, which opened in 2014, is a home for 25 orphans and vulnerable children and youths from the community. The center is already proving to be a true spark of hope for those children who need hope and care most. The center provides a one-year transitional care and support to children during which time we work to identify and empower a close relative or a family who can take in the child and stay with him/her as their own. The center currently has a total of eight dedicated staff, including a manager, caretaker, cook, security guard, and 4 teachers. The KCRC also has a school for children needing extra care — where individual attention not available in a typical classroom is provided.
The OLPS Sustainable Farm is a center for conservation agriculture. Food production is integrated with environmentally friendly techniques, and supports the diversity, stability, and resilience of a natural ecosystem. The farm offers the community the opportunity to learn from and to live harmoniously with the environment, whilst sustainably satisfying their needs for food, energy, culture, and shelter. The farm currently hosts a number of distinct but integrated farm projects: dairy goat projects with 6 goats; poultry project-with 150 chickens; vegetable farming-in three greenhouses and open field; bee keeping and fish farming.
KCRC Sustainable Projects
In addition to sustainable farming projects, we aim to create financial sustainability through low-cost and low-impact business endeavors. We recently established a tailoring business focusing on making school uniforms for local primary and secondary schools. Situated at the expansive Kibuye Market in Kisumu, the business is positioned to capitalize on this lucrative market, and to hopefully expand into other lines of clothing. We currently employ 5 young mothers and hope to grow this business over the next year.
All of our efforts are built on trust and a belief in shared opportunity. We aspire to become financially independent while continuing all our important projects. It is our dream that one day we will stand on our own and we will be recognized as an organisation with the financial and technical resilience to support its community work.
Anastasia Juma Sinawa
CURRENT GLOBAL ADVOCATE
Advocate Arriving Fall 2016