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Published on 15 September, 2009

Buckner and Baylor partnership creates hope in Kenya

Kenya (MNN) — A family's rich heritage and one women's
desire to honor it has led to the establishment of two education centers in
Kenya.

Partnering with Buckner International, Katy Reynolds established
the Reynolds Ministry Center and Kay School as part of Buckner's Seed of Hope
Academy.

With the help of Christian Mission Concerns, a philanthropic
foundation, Reynolds realized her dream. The Reynolds Center in Kitale, Kenya was
begun by Reynolds in honor of her father-in-law, Herbert Reynolds, former
president and chancellor emeritus of Baylor University. Knowing Reynolds
long-time desire to visit Africa, Katy and her husband named the center after
him in 2007 not long after his death.

The center now provides classes for children of the area
during the day and then provides life skills classes for their parents at
night.

In addition to the Reynolds Center, Katy and her family also
helped establish the Kay School, also located in Kitale. Katy tributes this
school to her grandfather, Roy Kay, former president of San Marcos Baptist Academy.

"She considered promoting education in Africa an appropriate
way to honor his legacy," said George Henson, a staff writer, on Buckner's Web site.

Through these endeavors in Kenya, Baylor students and
faculty have also become involved in helping orphans and their families in
Africa.

Professor Jon Singletary, who began teaching at the Baylor
School of Social Work in 2003, was first inspired to help out in Africa through
inquiry of students.

According to Buckner, his students started asking him
questions such as, "How do we find out about orphans? How do [we] find out
about HIV and AIDs? How do we find [out] about the violence happening, or about
human trafficking and slavery?"

He was impressed that his students were asking about global
issues, and he began taking trips to Africa to see what he could do.

Through the influence of a student, he also learned about
what Katy Reynolds was doing, and he immediately wanted to help.

A friend had told him, "The best way to care for children in
Africa is to make sure they have connections with a family. The best way to
care for children in Africa is to make sure those families are surrounded by
strong communities," Henson writes.

When he found out that Buckner was following through with this
and not simply placing orphans in orphanages but establishing them with
relatives, he went to Kenya to attend the opening of the Reynolds Center.

Along with transition houses, which help place orphans with aunts
and uncles, cousins or other extended family, "support groups, parenting
classes, grief counseling for children and suggestions for children on how to
integrate with their new family are included in the program," according to
Buckner.

Singletary also keeps up-to-date on the latest numbers of
the suffering taking place in Africa. These numbers include as many as 100
million orphans worldwide, of which the vast majority live in Africa. Of
these orphans, half their families are affected by HIV and AIDS.

Yet another
sobering number is the 30,000 children who die daily from poverty related
causes, again the majority from Africa.

"As is true with most people, the numbers don't really
change your heart. The numbers almost have the reverse effect; they almost
paralyze you. When you hear that number, most of us, it makes you think what
can I do, what difference can I make?" Singletary said on Buckner's Web site. "But
that's where seeing a child, playing with a child, and for me, seeing a
connection between that child and a family, seeing that child has a family they
love and a family that loves them comes in. I want to keep that connection
strong."

As Reynolds and Singletary continue to provide education and
show these children the love of Christ, they cannot do this huge work on their
own. To find out how you can help some of the millions in Africa, go to Buckner's Web site.

Also, pray for the church worldwide to change their inward
focus to the impact they can make across the world by each individual making a
personal decision to tangibly share Christ's love.

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About Kenya

  • Primary Language: English
  • Primary Religion: Christianity
  • Evangelical: 48.9%
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