This is a special guest post by George Ongere of CFI–Kenya.
On November 10 and 11, 2015, CFI President and CEO Ron Lindsay visited CFI–Kenya. Ron’s visit during this time was very important because he was coming to officially launch the Humanist Orphans Center, which is a project of CFI–Kenya, located in the rural of Kisumu County. While launching the center, Ron stressed the importance of education to the growing generation and explained the commitment of the Center for Inquiry to supporting vulnerable children living in disadvantaged areas to make them realize their potential.
Since 2013, through the support from CFI, we have managed to sponsor 11 orphans’ schooling. In this arrangement, we have paid school fees, bought uniforms and books, and helped their guardians to provide some of the children’s basic needs by distributing foodstuffs. We are glad for the continued support from CFI to this particular program that has enabled us to sustain the program.
Early this year, we noted the need for us to further support these orphans and other vulnerable children in the rural of Kisumu County in order to enable them to reach their full potential. One of the things we noted is that as much as we paid school fees and other sponsorship program for the orphans, we had to supplement it with something that would give them the ability to nurture their talents to reach great heights. Moreover, we had to have a way in which we could monitor their academic progress and the challenges they face. Apart from that, we had to give additional training to supplement the current school curriculum by providing reading materials, give computer literacy, and instil the value of science, free inquiry, critical thinking and rationality to make them grow with a kind of mindset that is free from dogma and other backward belief systems.
After much deliberation, we conceived of the idea of starting a humanist resource center that would make us achieve the above-mentioned plans. We shared these ideas with different members and after reaching a decision, we came up with the Humanist Orphans Center. The center will provide computer training and library services. Currently, the center will serve about five schools in the area. Moreover, the center will coordinate the humanist orphans’ project.
As such, members of CFI–Kenya were glad to learn that Ron Lindsay was visiting Kenya and was looking forward to launching the center. True to that, Ron’s presence made the occasion special because the orphans felt encouraged by his speech and by distributing new uniforms.
Apart from launching the Humanist Center, Ron also had the opportunity to visit our offices at Varsity Plaza, located inside Maseno University. Thereafter, he met the campus Maseno University group at Kisumu Hotel and gave a powerful presentation about humanism. Ron’s approach was on the spot and many students appreciated the way he used an intellectual language that was understood by all, and the flexibility of the presentation. One of the things that was noticeable is how Ron understood the audience and discussed a humanism that was easily conceived from an African point of view. The students also enjoyed the question and answer session, and showed that they wanted to get more knowledge.
In conclusion, Ron’s visit gave us encouragement because, first, it demonstrated the commitment of the Center for Inquiry to continue supporting centers that are outside the United States, and the commitment of CFI to help vulnerable children in Africa. Secondly, it helped the volunteers working with the center to get a more comprehensive overview of the works of other centers affiliated with CFI, and how CFI operates. Thirdly, the presentation at Maseno University introduced scepticism amongst many new students who attended and the word is spreading within the university, which is beneficial to the on-campus movement. Finally, the official launching of the center has attracted many volunteers, some of whom are teachers who will give additional training to the orphans.
George Ongere is the executive director CFI–Kenya. Our thanks to George for sending this report and for all his wonderful work.
Read George’s previous posts:
- The Plight of Children in Africa and Our Humanist Efforts (July, 2015)
- African Humanism and its Agenda (July, 2014)
- Using Humanism to Help the Less Fortunate in Africa (March, 2014)