Chics for Chicks: Nutrition, empowerment and sustainable health
Nine-year-old Mary* has been living at the AMPATH Amani Shelter for the past six months. She is an HIV-positive orphan, both of her parents having succumbed to the disease. She is one of ten children living at the shelter due to the same circumstances along with six HIV-positive women whose husbands and families have abandoned them and they have nowhere else to go. The Tumaini Shelter, co-founded by AMPATH faculty, houses 17 street kids ages 7 to 17, who have been living on the streets of Eldoret begging for most of their lives after losing their parents, or worse, having been abandoned. The Neema Children’s Home and School houses almost 60 children and is the only orphanage in Eldoret that will take HIV-positive children. These facilities in Eldoret operate on bare-bones necessities. Oftentimes, the residents’ meals include only beans and rice.
In January, Cindy and Kirk Morehead took a six-month assignment through Kirk’s employer, Dow AgroSciences, to be stationed in Eldoret to collaborate with AMPATH to help improve food security challenges. While Kirk has been working every day to strengthen the farmer groups by teaching best practices, Cindy (pictured below, left) has been volunteering at the Amani Shelter, Tumaini, and Neema Children’s home. One day, she realized that these facilities have land that would have the capability to raise chickens for eggs, food, and income. She created a fundraising campaign, Chics for Chicks and Men who love Chics to raise money to purchase the initial chickens to lay eggs, fryers, and to revamp existing coops or build layer boxes. She says she has learned a lot about how to raise and care for chickens in Kenya.
Cindy originally purchased 425 chickens, funded from more than 75 donors in the U.S., which have since been placed at the shelters and children’s home. Additionally, she has worked with the children and caregivers to teach them how to raise the chickens to produce eggs for food or to sell at the market.
“When I leave Kenya, I hope the Chics for Chicks endeavor continues to help to provide health, wealth, and sustainability,” said Cindy. “Sustainability is what we are striving for after I head back to the states in July.”
*Mary is fictionalized, but the situation is real and seen too frequently in Eldoret.