In late November 2021, Verena Donislreiter (first chairperson) and Jonathan Scherr (finance and controlling) visited our partner organisation YISOG in the south of Kenya. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no visit had been possible for a long time. The official Covid-19 case numbers were relatively low at this time (likely in part due to the hot season beginning in Kenya), making this a realistic time to travel under precautionary measures. Cases of the new Omicron variant were not yet known at this time.

The focus of this long-awaited visit was on the Rescue Centre. The Centre is an access point and a new home for children facing forced marriage and genital mutilation. Its construction was possible thanks to donations made by the Futura foundation and private donations, among others from Johannes Haider from Kraiburg. Verena and Jonathan report: “During our last visit, this was still a construction site; now children live at the Rescue Centre and the staff take great care of them. We are very impressed!” So far, 18 children have found a new home at the Rescue Centre.

“We are excited to see that most of the work has been completed and the Centre has now been brought to life by children”, they say. The final work, e.g. in the kitchen and the boys’ sleeping area, will be finalised step by step. A total of up to 45 children will then be able to stay at the Centre. “We were able to intensively use the time on site to discuss the work around the Rescue Centre, including its current operations, staff planning and its medium- and long-term financing”.

In order to fund the Centre’s ongoing expenses, we have introduced a new sponsorship system, which was also discussed with the partners during our visit. In future, Ambatana will offer themed sponsorships in place of individual sponsorships. Ambatana sponsors will no longer support one individual person but rather an entire field: education or the Rescue Centre.

The team at the Rescue Centre is also ensuring maximum self-sufficency by growing fruit and vegetables: The Rescue Centre’s plot of land now has six fields where corn, sugar cane, tomatoes and potatoes are grown. The fields are watered using the Centre’s own solar-powered well. YISOG proudly presented the drip irrigation system and the fields to Verena and Jonathan – and everyone is looking forward to harvest!

With donations, Ambatana was able to have a well drilled and a solar pump installed on the Rescue Centre’s plot of land. The water not only supplies the children at the Centre and the vegetable fields with water, but is also shared with the surrounding neighbourhood. People can come and get water directly from the well. The neighbouring town has even managed to lay its own water pipeline. More than 20 families there now have direct access to clean water! Before, they had to tediously get their water from a small spring a 15-minute walk away. Verena and Jonathan visited the families and are happy to see their lives improved considerably thanks to direct access to clean water!

With plenty of love for nature, the YISOG team also cultivates and sells plant seedlings in order to drive afforestation in the region and provide the Rescue Centre with a source of income at the same time. “What a great win-win approach!”, Verena describes YISOG´s initiative.

Father Tito, head of YISOG, says: “We founded YISOG and started building the Rescue Centre with the goal of providing children threatened by forced marriage and genital mutilation with a safe and caring home. We want to help these children grow up safely and empowered and to unfold their full potential.” During his youth, Father Tito was supported through a sponsorship programme himself and now wishes to return the support he received back then. “Of course we hope that the children we support now will also become anchors of hope for other children later on in life.”

Ambatana would like to thank all supporters who made the construction of the Rescue Centre possible! We are very grateful to receive donations for the final work at: