Kenya (MNN) — In Kitale, Kenya, the greatest needs are the most basic needs–like a family environment.
Buckner International has 15 orphans in their new foster program in Kitale directed by Rose, an experienced foster care worker.
"When kids grow up in an institution, they don't ever really learn what a family is like," said Susan Williams of Buckner. "How do we expect them to grow up and become adults and have families of their own and know how to take care of their families? The most important thing to be able to teach them is independence and what families are supposed to be like, and to have that loving relationship with other family members."
Many of the children recently received their very first pair of shoes when Williams and a group of others travelled to Kitale with Buckner's Shoes for Orphan Souls program. "They just seemed to be so surprised and so excited in some ways," said Williams. "We began by just fitting the kids that are in our foster care program because they are the first kids that we have a responsibility to. But after we had fit all of them, all the shoes that we brought to Kitale–we gave all of them out," said Williams.
Seeing this seemed to slowly transform the way the people of Kitale viewed Buckner. "I think that just really impressed them. I think that they finally began to see what it was that Rose had been there and had been talking about with them. They began to see that she was serious when she said that this is an organization that is coming to help them and to bring them good things," said Williams.
Distributing shoes was only part of what the team did for the children. Kids were also invited to mini-VBS sessions where they heard Bible stories and played games and did crafts.
It is important for Buckner to ensure that the children in their foster program are true orphans– that is, abandoned by both parents. There are still several orphan cases pending that Rose is working to confirm. "She certainly appreciates the prayers of everyone," said Williams of Rose's work in Kitale.