Since the Year 2000, the Christian Community of St. Therese in Succasunna, New Jersey, has been supporting a Food & Nutrition Program in St. Cecilia Kituiuni; a Sister Parish in the Diocese of Machakos, Kenya. KENYA-USA CHRISTIAN RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT INC,(KUSARD), facilitates this relatioship. This small foundation had initially started the Food Program in Kenya in the late 90s but was struggling to keep it afloat and it was, while looking for a sponsorship, that the Founder, a Mr. Simon Maweu, met Joe Duffy of the Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson and explained the need. Joe was intrigued by the initiative and wanted to do something to help. He suggested that the Founder approach the Parish of St. Therese and speak to the then, Pastor of the Parish, Rev. Joseph Davis about the possibility of a twinning relationship between his Parish and that of St. Cecilia in Kenya where the Food Program was located.

Under Rev. Davis, the Community of St. Therese was agreeable to the formation of a Parish to Parish sisterhood; and so after the blessing of Bishop Rodimer (Paterson) and Bishop Urbanus Kioko (Machakos), the partnership was hatched in 2000 and has since then it has grown and flourished through the years.

One of the most important benefits that were almost immediate was the adoption of the struggling Food & Nutrition Program. At the time, Kenya was experiencing an acute food shortage due to drought and crop failures year after year and the food insecurity continued to be a big problem in the country and especially in the drier areas like Machakos Diocese in the Eastern Province of the country, where our Program was situated. In a very real sense, the program proved to be a life saver. Malnutrition was wide spread in the area and the program helped improve the children's health.

When the program started it only served children at St. Cecilia School; about 100 of them, in the lower grades including those in Nursery school. But the Program has expanded due to the extend of the need in Kituiuni and the surrounding areas and today, more than 10 years later, it serves 17 schools and a home for the handicapped; a total of over 2,000 kids are today benefitting from this Program Sponsored by St. Therese, Succassunna, New Jersey.

Since diet is so important in the development of a young child, KUSARD considers this program essential and a priority in its activities in Kenya. It is crucial in trying to maintain the proper health of children in an area where malnutrition & kwashiorkor, due to food inadequacy, are prevalent.

The Program focuses on the most vulnerable age group i.e. nursery and grades 1-3 children. Other by products of the program that have been cited by the school authorities include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased School Enrollment
  • High Retention and Low School Abseentism
  • General Wellness and Contentment amongst the children
  • The Food program assures hot healthful meals for the kids and it contains essential nutrients to improve their mental and physical growth.
  • The Meal Program also serves as an incentive for parents to send their children to school because they know they will eat well at school, and this frees them from not having to use meager family resources, to prepare midday meals for their kids to bring to school. And for those children from extremely indigent families who would normally, not even afford to bring any kind of food to school, the program helps them not to feel left out when others have their meals. In this respect, the Program is like a leveler of sorts!
  • Moreover, in addition to the Program's benefits, afore-mentioned, KUSARD sometimes uses schools and the school system as a delivery mechanism for some of its other types of services; e.g. the AIDS Campaign to propagate the message of avoiding contraction of the AIDS disease and other communicable diseases as well as addressing general community health issues through the school system.

KUSARD's Feeding Program started with only a couple scores of school kids but has now expanded to about 2,000 kids in the District of Makueni, Kenya. We also try and reach out to kids in poverty stricken homes particularly orphans being cared for by their older siblings or by elderly grandparents. We serve kids of every faith background and we do not discriminate in any way, shape or form.

Food assistance is a very important intervention in children's lives and has very positive impact in the development and educational process of a child; It is true, long-term impact is realized many years in the future and we are very grateful to the Community of St. Therese, Succasunna for their unwavering commitment to the continuation of their support for this noble cause.

"As a people, we value family, education and success. Hunger is an enemy to all three. Scientific studies have demonstrated that even brief periods of hunger can permanently inhibit a child's mental, emotional and physical growth. Kids who are hungry do poorly in school; and are unlikely to grow into productive adults. For families, experiencing hunger means living in a world of isolation and shame. Caring citizens of the world must put an end to this disgrace." Ted Danson.

I am profoundly grateful to the community of St. Therese for years of their support.
May God Bless them and their families abundantly.

Simon Kimatu Maweu.
(Executive Director)

AIDS is one of the greatest health problems of this century. The stigma associated with it has made it become almost a secretive disease which often ravages victims in silence until it can no longer remain hidden and then when one dies of it, it is always from some other type of disease so that the family does not suffer the indignity of having a relative die of this dreadful disease. Often people hide their status and in this situation the potential to spread the disease remains very real.
In 25 years, HIV has infected more than 65 million people. The majority of those suffering live in Africa, but the pandemic is quickly spreading in many countries throughout Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. By 2010, it is estimated that 80 million people will be infected and 25 million children will have been orphaned. HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable and limited resources often prevent poor communities from supporting the millions who suffer.

The scope of the spread of the disease should not be a discouragement in doing whatever can be done in any capacity to stave off this disease. Recognizing this need, KUSARD, in its own way started a program which was mostly contacted by the youth with KUSARD's support. Their aim was to spread the message to their peers about this disease and to discourage risky behavior that could lead to someone contracting the disease. Behavioral change was key to staving off the tide of the AIDS pandemic.

We have two main arms of dealing with the pandemic. The CIPAM (Community Integrated AIDS Campaign) and KYAP (Kituiuni Youth AIDS Program). Different methods of passing the message to those most at risk are applied. Drama; Videos; Guest Speakers (often AIDS victims themselves); and any other way that resonates with the youth that can encourage the message to be heard and understood and practiced. Testing and Counseling is another way in which we encourage those at risk to participate in; first to determine their status and also to prevent further spreading of the diseases to friends even relatives like in the case of married couples.

KUSARD helps individuals, families and communities as they struggle through the physical, economic, social and emotional ravages of the disease. By working with local and international partners - including Churches, local authorities, and other faith-based and private organizations - we empower people and communities to face the issue openly and to recognize the need to practise safe sex behaviors,including abstinence.

Read about one of our Partner's excursion to Machakos-Makueni Districts on the AIDS Quest:-

3.KITUIUNI HEALTH CENTER PROGRAM KUSARD is profoundly indebted to our partners who have helped in the completion of the Kituiuni Health Center. The people of Kituiuni have, for many years suffered due to lack of health services in this remote rural area. The nearest Center is miles away and there is no transportation available incase of emergencies and people have to walk long distances to obtain medical services, their condition often worsening by the time they are seen by health personnel. Recognizing the severity of the problem, especially for children, the elderly, pregnant women and the seriously ill, the founder of KENYA/USA CHRISTIAN RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT, INC (KUSARD) in partnership with donors in the U.S.A build the Kituiuni clinic that would save this community from years of suffering for luck of medical services.

Today, thanks to friends and sympathetic friends, the dream of a health center has materialized and on April 2002 the facility was opened by the presiding Member of Parliament of the Kaiti constituency, Hon. Minister Gideon Ndambuki.

Moreover,after the Health Center was completed, it did not immediately begin to deliver the needed services for lack of Health Personnell. KUSARD continued to pressure the Government to help the Kituiuni Community by providing a doctor and nurse to offer medical services to the people of this area. It took almost 10 years to realize this second part of the dream and today the Center is being staffed by a government doctor and a nurse through a participative partnership with the community which has to provide funding for its own medicines supplemented by occasional provisions from the Government.

Contributors towards this project included:-:-

Parishioners of St. Therese Paterson; The Seekers Church of Washington; The Catholic Charities Paterson Chapter; The Rotary Club of Paterson; The Presbyterian Church of Wayne; The Development Finance International- Washington; World Fuels Services Corporation

Although currently the center is still not fully functional to deal with major cases of illness, it is my conviction that the time is not far off when mothers will have their babies delivered here, while, in and out patients will get adequate medical care that they deserve. The community continues to work hard in partnership with the government and other overseas friends in order to modernize the center so it can eventually be a full functioning hospital that can provide a wide range of minor and severe care services. The community has been pro-active and that is why eventually the government had no choice but come on board after it became clear the community of Kituiuni had done all it could do within their limited resources to try and avail medical services in their area.

To this end, much has been accomplished but the end goal is still way off but KUSARD will continue to do what it can to support the community to realize it dream. We have come along way to wher we are; and it appears, with persistence, we will succeed.

An old man of Kituiuni who was a witness when KUSARD purchased a piece of land with a dream to build a Clinic on it more than 20 years ago; when he later actually saw the Center build and even much later, a doctor was posted to there by the government voiced the collective feeling of disbelieve of the Kituiuni Community when he remarked," He never imagined he would live to see the day when the center would be functional". However, that prospect is a reality today and the old man, though now very advanced in age is, infact a patient of the center and is, from time to time, visited at his home by the doctor from there. AND LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, HE IS NOW A BELIEVER!

March 18th 2004 Free ClinicA glimpse of the acute need for health services in Kituiuni was demonstrated by an event that took place on March 18th 2004 when a free clinic was held there. It was a two day event and people came in droves to take advantage of the widely publicized free medical services. Visitors from the Wayne Presbyterian Church in USA, in collaboration with the Catholic Mission Hospital of Kilungu delivered free medical services to hundreds of people.

Patients are seen here waiting in line for the opportunity to be treated. Altogether almost 1,000 patients were served during the two days of free medicine; and despite all efforts, hundreds more could still not be served and had to be turned away owing to the high turnout and lack of time and enough personell.

HIV tests were contacted on site with the aid of a portable power generator which assisted in operating the testing equipment. Like many parts in Africa, the area has had its share of the AIDS scourge and KUSARD is fighting tooth and nail to win the war, although some of it is being lost as we continue to experience an inordinate number of loss of life in this and many other communities in the country. The impact is mostly on members of the most productive age group most of whom have children who are left without one or both parents. The burden of catering for those children falls on other relatives or neighbors. KUSARD is struggling to do what it can but its accomplishments are limited by lack of resources.

Peter Kimeu, KUSARD's National Advisor, tried to sum up the state of affairs when he said,"The KUSARD organization has been up against an uphill battle in its inability to support those infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS disease. In our meagre efforts KUSARD has supported community based initiatives in responding to the unceasing demand associated with the HIV/AIDS. CIPACAM(The Mwanyambevo AIDS campaign Group); KYAP(The Kituiuni AIDS Awareness Creation Group); 4KClub(The Kyakitoo Group) are KUSARD's arms in confronting head-on, the crisis posed by the AIDS disease.
KUSARD uses these groups to educate communities on the management of HIV/AIDS in home based care. The fight is very far from being won. We continue to lose those who are positive due to the unavailability of medical supplies; test equipment and support mechanisms.

We are collectively thankful of last year's delegation from the Paterson Diocese and the Wayne Presbyterian Church New Jersey to Machakos Diocese. If it had not been for their help, one HIV positive lady and her child would be no longer with us today. But after receiving some assistance from this group plus additional funds from the diocese of Machakos and from KUSARD, she received medical services at the General Hospital in Machakos until she was well enough to return to her village at Mwanyambevo where she continues with her therapies and has joined the local AIDS campaign Groups to help spread the message of avoiding contraction of the AIDS disease.

But this lady's upkeep is beyond her means,"continues Peter,"The cost of managing her condition is substantial since she has no income to speak of. She requires Kshs.500 ($10.00) monthly for medical supplies. Constant monthly laboratory examinations costing Ksh. 1,300 ($20.00) per month. A good diet of high protein, vegetable and fruits. Obviously this is a toll order which she will certainly not be able to fill and it will be impossible for her to keep up with the requirements to keep her alive for lack of resources. This cost does not even take into account the baby who has not yet been tested for the disease although it was given preventive medicine at birth and cannot be breast fed by the mother. The loan of Kshs 10,000/= ($150.00) given her as a loan for income generation has all but disappeared thanks to the adverse and unfavorable economic conditions in Kenya.
We surely need support, not only to help this woman and her baby, but also engage the community in awareness creation to fully understand the need for prevention and also to try and mainstream the disease to remove the stigma associated with it and make it accepted as any other disease, although to be dreaded and avoided. This will help in accepting the sick among us and to care for them and to encourage all at risk to get tested to be sure of their status, in order to prevent the snowballing of the crisis. An estimate of about Kshs. 5,000 - 10,000 ($72.00-150.00) per month for each positive case and family support is needed. But most people in the communities we serve make about Kshs.1,000 to 2,000 per month. ie. $14 to $28 per month" and when they become infected they lose even that little income if it was there in the first place." Concluded Peter.

KUSARD aims to spare no efforts in bringing to needy children, modern technology that would otherwise be unavailable to them, due to their reduced circumstances. Most disadvantaged families are unable to afford their children's formal education, leave alone the opportunity to learn the new technology. KUSARD feels very strongly that poor children should be afforded by society the same opportunities as their peers, to leverage them in the competitive job market in Kenya. Their background should not be held against them, having had no choice in being born into it. As far as possible, they should be, given the same opportunities and access to the same knowledge and skills available to other children. This being one of KUSARD's tenets, we are doing whatever is feasible to bring the new digital era to those least able to afford it. To this end, we feel privileged to have donors willing to help us accomplish this goal. World Fuels Services Corporation, based in Miami in Florida, a dealer in Marine and Aviation Fuel, has championed our cause with their generous donation of six computers to start a computer college. These computers have been installed in "KYALE SMALL HOME OF THE HANDICAPPED" in Kenya and will be used in our rural Computer Education Program. In this computer center at Kyale we are providing computer education for free to those who cannot afford even the minimal cost that would normally be charged to students to help defray some of the costs of running the school
World Fuel Services Corporation continues to help us with a yearly donation of about $500 towards the program and we are quite appreciative to them for their support of our school.
Jacinta workingMarrietta's GraduationA needy child appealed to Simon to help her continue with her education because she had no one to turn to. The condition of the child was so pitiful that Simon could not say no, even when he himself was encumbered with the bringing up of his own 5 kids in the States. After helping the kid enlist for Highschool for a year or so, he continued getting requests for similar assistance as I had provided to Jacinta Musau. However, on my own, I knew I could only do so much and the need was so great. That is when the idea to start a foundation came into the founder's mind and he started the KENYA/USA CHRISTIAN RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT, INC.

St.Timothy Lutheran Church of Wayne in New Jersey was the first to respond to this call to help needy kids. They actually took over and continued to support Jacinta all through her remaining highschool education. After graduation, she enrolled in a trade school to learn a skill that could help her start her own business or gain employement. Jacinta Musau (Left), has graduated highschool, thanks to the benevolence of the community of St. Timothy Lutheran Church of Wayne New Jersey USA. After Highschool she joined a beauty school and she has already graduated as an hair stylist and started working in that field. This is one of the success stories of this Educational Fund Program and I thank Rev. Robert Mountenay and his community for this. I hope they continue to fund the Program for the benefit of others in similar condition as Jacinta. Another student who continues to benefit from this funding is a student who is from a needy background and was sponsored through University by this Progams. Her name is Marrietta Muvea and she completed her degree in Bio-Chemistry a few years back and has joined the private sector where she has a career to support herself and her family and where prospects for advancement are very good.

Mentally Challenged Katikomu OrphanABJECT POVERTYMany requests continue to be received by KUSARD from children living in abject poverty who need our assistance and it is heartbreaking when we are unable to be of any help to them for lack of resources. I am therefore appealing to our visitors to please support our efforts in reaching out to these underprivileged children who are so motivated to learn and are so ambitions yet constrained by their poor backgrounds. As someone rightly said,"A mind is a terrible thing to waste".

A number of people support us through a program we call "Sisi Ni Jamii" or "We Are Family". They sponsor a child by taking it as their own and suporting it in all its needs; food, education, health etc at a bout $25 a month which is enough to cater for a child's basic need for a month. If you would like to help turn a child's life around, please help this cause by DonatingOnline

Kituiuni Village Polytechnic

The Kituiuni Youth Polytechnic that was sponsored by a partnership of KUSARD; the Kituiuni Community and the Rotary Club of Australia under the auspicies of one of its members, Jackson Melissa has been completed and has started training young boys & girls who have completed Primary School or High school and are unable to continue with education or find work.
In Kenya, many children who leave high school and even Universities end up not finding jobs. The idea of the polytechnic was to try and find a way through which students who complete school but are unable to pursue higher education, can learn useful skills which they could employ to earn income for themselves. The polytechnic is teaching courses that lead to self employment in construction or dress making.
Since there is no electricity in the rural area where this project is located, and since some of the tools and equipment need power to operate them, KUSARD was looking for donations of Solar Panels that could be used to power some of the equipment used in the polytechnic. Without power, there will be things the trainees will be unable to do and therefore their education will not be quite complete.
A commercial coarse in business will also be added to the curriculum to help students learn how to run a business. The more skills these kids are equiped with the higher prospects to find work or to be self-employed.
KUSARD believes that, the best way to help anyone is to give them the tools with which to strive and free themselves from poverty.

The Wayne Presbyterian church community, through KUSARD is proud to be counted as the initiator of a major water project at the Heart of Africa in Kituiuni community at the catholic Diocese of Machakos-Kenya. The project aims at providing clean water for Domestic use, irrigation and livestock. It is expected to quench the thirsty of the region and bring relief to about 1000 households, three institutions i.e two primary schools and one dispensary within a cross section of 15 km (approximately 9 miles). This project picks up at an opportune time when the community in question is badly hit by drought and can hardly have access to clean water.

The local community was very delighted with the project, and within short order established a water committee and in conjunction with the district water engineers to ensure expertise in the laying of the foundation for the project.
A survey of the project was done and it concluded the project would cost about US$ 35,000, with the local community making their contribution of land, the manual labor, sand, quarries and local timber. This amount would cover the setting of the water at the catchment point, putting up of three reservoir tanks, constructing water kiosks and piping.

Td date, the Wayne Presbyterian church community has completed Phase 1 at a cost of about US$ 12,500. The country director of Kusard programs Rev. Daniel Kitila through the Executive director Mr. Simon K. Maweu and the Presbyterian Church community of Wayne, appeal to other people of good will in the USA to help complete the remaining two Phases of the Project in order for the dream of creating an oasis to our dehydrated sisters and brothers in Africa can be realized.

It is our profound opportunity to thank you for being associated with this charitable mission that strives to quench the thirsty of the people of Kituiuni. You are a blessing and a source of hope for many who will benefit from this project when it is completed and I am happy that you now belong in this solidarity with Africa. In Christ we discover the same bonds of mutual Solidarity with our sisters and Brothers .....I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink....( Mt 25:35.)

The local administration i.e. assist chief and both headmen are willing to continue the duty of mobilizing the people for voluntary manual work whenever the work will be resumed.

In July 2006, a delegation from the Wayne Presbyterian Church and representatives of the Diocese Of Paterson in New Jersey travelled to the Water Project to witness the succesful completion of Phase I of the Memorial Linda Danghlian Kituiuni Water Project.

The Executive Director of KUSARD continued applying for funding to enable Phase II of the Water Project to get off the ground and by the power of God our prayers were finally blessed with a response from the International Foundation in New Jersey who, after observing the efforts that had been made by the community of Kituiuni and their supporters, they deemed it a worthy cause to support and subsequently approved a funding for the Project. A progress report of Phase II, can be seen by following the link below or simply Clicking Here