Our Lady of Perpetual Support (OLPS)
OLPS is an organization that supports communities in Kisumu and Siaya that have been stricken with cases of HIV/AIDs.
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A message from Anastasia Juma Sinawa, Founder & Director
“My name is Anastasia Juma Sinawa, and I am the Founder and Director of Our Lady of Perpetual Support (OLPS). I was once a nun but left the convent to care for people with HIV/AIDS in the area, as they were ostracized by my community. 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 1999, we widened our scope to include HIV prevention, care and treatment, reproductive health education, and programs aimed at creating healthy, empowered, and productive youth.”
OLPS started as a community-based organization in 1992 by a group of HIV-positive individuals to mitigate the impact of the disease through community participation, as there were virtually no biomedical treatments available. Its initial activities were geared towards increasing community acceptance of people living with AIDS, integrating orphans into caring family units, and the economic empowerment of individuals and guardians of people living with HIV/AIDS. From the beginning, OLPS also worked to fulfill the basic needs of shelter, food, medical care, counseling and education for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
In 1999, OLPS widened its scope to include HIV prevention, care and treatment, reproductive health, education and promotion, and programs aimed at creating healthy, empowered, and productive youth. Since then, OLPS has counseled and tested over 96,000 individuals for HIV.
OLPS created the Kisumu Children’s Rescue Centre after seeing many children in the community lose their parents and homes. Staff knew these children needed safe places that would provide them with security, care, and protection. Through community fundraising and a partnership with Mama Hope, the CRC was successfully opened in December of 2014. Here, children are provided with food, clothing, healthcare, specialized education, and psychosocial support. The CRC is a temporary home for children for one to two years, during which staff facilitate each child’s integration into family units.
Due to recent challenges with drought, OLPS aims to diversify its revenue sources in order to generate sustainable income across seasons. This includes expanding the existing Tailoring Shop, practicing new strategies for producing vegetables during the off-season, and building four rental units on land adjacent to the Children’s Rescue Center, with one being set aside to host volunteers in a newly established volunteer program. These will be the only rental units in the area which will utilize urban garden strategies and offer its residents the opportunity to change the lives of children in need.
We are building to our 3-year goals through a combination of income-generating projects. Here's what we're developing right now.
The Rita Rose Garden and Sustainable Farm
The goal of the Sustainable Farm is to grow enough food to feed the children as well as fund Children’s Rescue Center operations by selling at local markets. Additionally, the Farm strives to embody the principles of permaculture, in which food production is integrated with environmentally friendly techniques that support the diversity, stability, and resilience of a natural ecosystem. This includes teaching community members about sustainable farming practices. The farm currently hosts a number of distinct but integrated farm projects: dairy goat project with 6 goats; poultry project-with 150 chickens; vegetable farming in three greenhouses and open field; beekeeping and fish farming.
OLPS recently established a tailoring business focused on making school uniforms for local primary and secondary schools. The business is positioned to capitalize on local lucrative markets, and to hopefully expand into other lines of clothing. The shop currently employs six people and hopes to rent a bigger space in the near future.