We are driven to inspire sustainable change and educate future generations.
Here are some of the main ways we do this:
Open Arms Acadamy
Children attend Open Arms Academy
Children from the local community sponsored to attend Open Arms Academy
Children from the local community sponsored to attend their local school
Meals given to students a week (daily breakfast and lunch)
Open Arms Acadamy
We are passionate about educating the future generations that will shape Kenya. We have a Primary school within the Village, which is regarded as one of the top schools in the area and means our methods of teaching are often taught to other locals schools and teachers. In Kenya, year groupd are based on ability rather than age so children progress to High School when they are able. We teach all students that live in the Village until they go to High School (which are all boarding schools in Kenya). We also sponser many local children from the community. We provide breakfast and lunch to all students - for most of the children in the community these are the only meals they are given.
We have regular teams of highly experienced teaching staff in the UK who make an anual trip and give regular staff training. We also train staff on dealing with children who may have experienced trauma - as so many of our children sadly have - and how they can work through this in their teaching.
“I thank God that I can have an education. I know that I am armed with something that can improve life for me and my family. My life is not perfect, and my family still struggle. I know I must work hard, but being at school gives me hope for my future.”
Lily, aged 10, one of 93 children from the local community who are sponsored to attend Open Arms Academy
“After I left the Village I was able to live on my own because I had saved money from selling maize and other farm produce - skills I learnt at Open Arms. I need to be a good example to my little brother, for my family, and for my brothers and sisters at Open Arms. I will show them that you can make it if you work hard and you stay focused”.
Ezekiel, aged 21. Ezekiel has been an apprentice at the workshop and is learning how to build Silos as well as learning farming skills.
Young people trained to build Silo's
Silo's given, rented or sold to people in the community
Bags of maize ground in our Grain Mill per month
Growing maize is done widely across Kenya, people grow the maize to eat and any left over they sell to earn a profit. Maize is grown, dried and then stored so when it is needed it is ground down to make maize flour - which is used to make Ugali (a staple food in Kenya).
As maize is seasonal it is sold at a much higher price between May-November. Traditional methods of storing maize lose around 30% due to insects, disease and weevils. As a result, families end up selling their grain soon after harvest, only to buy it back at an expensive price just a few months after harvest. Storing maize in a silo keeps all of the maize!
Benefits of using a Silo?
- Maize doesn't need to be covered in pesticides making it healthier to eat
- Rats and insects cannot get inside or survive in maize stores and spread disease as it is airtight
- All of the maize is retained to create more food/income
- Famers don't need to buy pesticide or regularly check their maize
- Farmers make around 42% extra profit (from not buying pesticides and not losing 30% of produce)
What is our Silo Initiative?
We currently build Silo's in the Village, we train young people to build them so they can earn money from this skills training. Community members can then bring the maize to us and can then collect 100% of their maize when they want it back. We also store our own maize which is used to feed the children who live in the Open Arms Village and can be sold at market to help us become more self sustainable.
We have plans to expand this project to benefit a greater number of people in the community. Families who need silo's the most cannot afford to buy one, we plan on renting them out. 10% of the maize stored in rented silos will be used as payment, which will in turn help us to meet the maize needs from the children we look after within our family homes and enable us to sell more maize to those who need it in the community.
“I am planting trees around my house as I want Open Arms to remain green, since I learned about the importance of plants and trees from environmental club.”
William, aged 8, who lives in the Village and attends the Environmental Club at Open Arms Academy
Eggs laid a day
Fish harvested a year
Litres of cows milk produced a day
Trees - Macadamia, Avacado and other types
The different aspects of farming at the Village serve many purposes. They allow the Village to produce food to feed the children who live there. It enables locals to be given jobs and taught farming skills which they can pass on to others and use to grow their own food. Excess produce not consumed in the Village can be sold and the profits help the Village to be more self-sustainable. The farm also aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible, by teaching and promoting these methods of farming all who are taught will farm in a sustainable way.
All within the Village animals are reared for meat and milk, plants are grown for fresh produce and there is even an aqua-plonic fish farm. All the staff who work on the farm are passionate about what they do and are constantly looking for more ways of teaching others and encouraging self-sufficiency.
Many children have been inspired by those who work on the farm, and after learning skills from them have started growing their own vegetables.
“i was taught how to sow and harvest, I now have my own place but I want to use my knowledge to teach others these skills. ”.
Ezekiel, aged 21. Ezekiel grew up in the Village and now helps train up others with the farming knowledge he has
Women taught the trade of sewing
Bread rolls baked in the Open Arms bakery daily
Students in the Social Enterprise Club learning entreprenurial skills
We are passionate about giving people a hand up, not just a hand out. There is around a 65% unemployment rate in Eldoret, Kenya. This lack of employment is a cause for many other problems, so to tackle this at the root of the problem we give vocation training to empower people to be able to create their own income.
We even teach this to young school children. In Kenya the school curriculum is very academic based, we run a social enterprise club the teaches additional skills that inspires and enables students to have other work opportunities. Many children, when asked, will say they want to be a Doctor or a Pilot as they often do not know what other jobs are. However, children in the Social Enterprise Club are shown other opportunities, such as carpenters, artists, bakers and they are inspired to learn new skills and see bigger opportunities.
“This was the sweetest feeling ever, delivering the hives to Open Arms. There's a joy that comes with giving, even though somewhere along the road I hit a bump and bees came out, I had to put on my gear as I drove! I can't wait for the first honey harvest.”
Wes, a local Bee Keeper who donated bee hives to Open Arms
Bee hives in the Village
Bee hives were made by the school Social Enterprise Club
Bee hives were donated by local Bee Keepers
Bee-keeping in Kenya has been practiced traditionally for many years. The climate and plants that are across the Open Arms village site provide the perfect environment for bees.
Bee keeping has a number of advantages;
Requires little land which does not have to be fertile and is relatively cheap.
It encourages environmental conservation.
Bees are good pollinators of plants, trees, fruits and crops, thus playing a big role in bio-diversity and improvement of crop yields.
Many products can be obtained i.e. honey, beeswax, and queen bees