For many of our children, swimming is a weekly event if not daily in the summer months. Kids love to play in water - from infancy to adulthood! It is the small things in life that we often take for granted, the truth being, swimming is a first world luxury.
Imagine my surprise, when I was processing our Child Sponsorship updates, to read that the majority of children listed 'swimming' as their most favorite thing to do! I've spent the better part of a year at this orphanage, I know swimming is not an option for these kids. Swimming pools in Kenya are for the wealthy, and natural water sources are either polluted or are too dangerous to swim in (hippos, crocodiles etc.).
I emailed the manager at Mogra and asked him if a sponsor had taken the children swimming. He replied, explaining to me that many visitors/volunteers have said they would take the children swimming, but none have followed through. It's sounds like a fairly easy thing to do, raise a bit of money, and take them swimming. Not so. You see, these children do not have swim suits, nor do they have the money or time to scour the used clothing markets to get suits for 150 children! Without suits, the children are unable to go swimming. Simple.
My next question was, 'How do they know about swimming, or why do they think they like it?' The answer was straight forward. They saw it in a movie.
I vowed in that moment that during my next trip, I would make this happen for them.
Although these children certainly deserve a day of 'fun'. The benefits of swimming far exceed even that. Water play is a very important tool, not only does it strengthen motor skills, encourage hand/eye coordination and widen sensory experiences, but it enhances emotional development. Water play is said to be one of the most relaxing activities, relieving tension and encouraging children to release their emotions. These children could really use some 'water therapy'.
This is where I really need your help! ...
I need bathing suits! Good condition used, or new. There are currently 186 children, 30+ being infants. I am aiming for approximately 200 suits, boys/girls, sizes 2-adult. 150 children will go swimming, but the extra suits will provide some options for fit, and be held in reserve for when new children come in to the home. I have just over 50 collected in hand at the moment. Sizes that are filled are Girls size 8, Boys size 6, 7, 8. We have many children over the age of 14, so adult small/mediums are very much needed! I will not be taking the toddlers swimming (because I don't have 20 lifeguards at my disposal), but I would love to purchase them a toddler pool in country to use at the home - so I will take baby swimsuits. ;)
I need swimming sponsors! Our budget is $5/child for a day of swimming and lunch. This is a super cheap outing by our standards. $5 will give a child a day to remember forever. These children really deserve a day of play. They all have had trauma in their lives, and they all work very hard every day, up at 5 am doing chores then walking to school, where they don't get home until dinner time and then spend the remainder of the evening doing homework! I am also looking for a toddler swimming pool sponsor. We are budgeting $100. This is more expensive than we would pay because these things are imported. I will try to find a used one from an expat, but again - the value is a lot more there. (Please see the donate button at the bottom if you would like to donate.)
ALSO - I am collecting Crocs or croc like shoes and Keens. They wash nice, are flexible with sizing and the Keens last forever. All sizes and colours, infant to adult. The last time I was in Kenya, I collected Crocs and Socks... well that was 2 years ago, and they are now worn out! You can see the video here - (I will be making another video of this years donation/collections so you can see your donations at work!)
AND - I am collecting crib toys. Another item that is imported and hard to come by in Kenya, and something the home does not have enough of. These babies spend a great deal of time in their cribs. Stimulation is important.
How can you get these to me? I have drop off points in BC - Nelson, Castlegar, AB - Airdrie, Turner Valley, Edmonton and Athabasca. Please email me for these addresses.
jolene (at) linkedthrouglove (dot) com
Alternatively, another option that a few people have done is you can ship me a parcel, or greyhound. OR - some have shopped online at Old Navy etc, and have had it sent to me directly. The address to ship to is
2015 Fort Sheppard Drive
I will be traveling in August, so I would like to have all donations in by July 31st.
I will keep this post updated with our inventory needs as the donations start coming in!
Thank you so much for helping me make their dream a reality! - Jolene