- Who is Maisha Project?
Maisha Project is a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City.
- What are Maisha’s vision and mission?
Vision – To bring hope to the hopeless and light to the darknesss
Mission – To transform lives and empower communities by providing lasting solutions to address poverty, hunger, disease and under-education
- Who is Maisha Project?
- How long has Maisha been in operation?
Maisha was founded in 2007.
- Tell me more about Maisha’s background?
Maisha is the result of one woman’s dream. A sponsor gave Beatrice Williamson the tools she needed to rise above her circumstances and step into her destiny. Now, her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and provide them with the same opportunity. By making a difference in their lives, we create a brighter future for ourselves. The fruition of Beatrice’s dream began in 2007 when she founded Maisha.
- Can I adopt a child through Maisha?
We are grateful for your compassion to care for children in need around the world. However, Maisha is not an adoption agency. Maisha has multiple programs to care for orphans and vulnerable children, but we do not process adoptions. The best way to make a difference is through our Legacy of Hope child sponsorship project. Visit our child sponsorship page for more information.
- Why is sponsorship needed?
Orphans and vulnerable children all over the world suffer in silence. Born into poverty, these children live without access to education, medical care, adequate housing, clothing, appropriate food, or a chance for a better future. Maisha operates in the Nyanza Province of Kenya with the highest rates of HIV, malaria and poverty in the country which has left millions of children orphaned. Without education, the cycle of poverty and death continues. If not given the opportunity for education, girls are usually forced into marriage bearing children by age 13 and boys enter the labor force early. Education breaks this vicious cycle and enhances the quality of life for a child and their community.
- What is child sponsorship?
Giving a Legacy of Hope by sponsoring a child is a wonderful way to help change the life of a child in need and bring hope to his or her entire community. Being a sponsor will give you the chance to build a new relationship with one special child who will know you by name as you correspond and share your lives with each other.
- How can I provide my monthly sponsorship?
You may make a secure donation at https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/TheMaishaProject_1/childsponsorship.html.
If you would prefer to send your sponsorship donation by mail, send a check or money order to: Maisha Project, PO Box 570, Oklahoma City, OK 73101.
- Does full donation go directly to my sponsored child?
A standard administrative and processing fee is deducted to ensure compliance with 501(c) (3) nonprofit regulations. We are committed to keeping costs minimal to provide more for the orphans and destitute children in need.
- How does sponsorship work?
Maisha child sponsorships operate on a community based care model which keeps children in the homes of caregivers where they learn cultural traditions and develop skills that are vital to their future. This model ensures they receive the best personal care and nurturing as well as a proper education. Through sponsorship, we improve the future one child at a time by providing scholarships for preschool, primary and secondary school as well as continuing education. Daily meals are administered through the Maisha Feeding project and health screenings are done annually, with medical attention as needed. Our sponsorship model pairs a child in need with a generous sponsor who wants to make a difference in that child’s life. The donor’s sponsorship gift is combined with other contributions, grants and product donations in order to provide for the holistic well-being of Maisha’s children. As you sponsor, you will also be able to communicate and interact with the child you sponsor, and we will keep you up to date on their growth and progress.
A Legacy of Hope sponsorship really means LIFE! When you partner with us to make a difference, you enable a child to create a better future for themselves and generations to come. A child with a sponsor is a child with hope. View our child sponsorship policy and full guidelines here. View our child sponsorship policy and full guidelines here.
- Can I send my sponsored child mail?
Yes! Just like all children, those at Maisha simply love receiving personalized mail. Sending a note of joy and love would be greatly received by our Maisha community. Shipping guidelines: If you wish to send a letter to your student, please mail or deliver it to the Maisha office and it will be taken to Kenya with the next mission team. The Maisha Project, PO Box 570, OKC, OK 73101. Please include your student’s full name and ID number.
We can send your sponsored child gifts in an envelope up to 11 x 12. Appropriate items include pencils, small flashlights, notebooks, socks, undies, t-shirts, etc. – something small, light and useful. Do not include any liquids, money, food or personal information like your address, email or phone number.
- How can I make a general donation?
You may make a secure donation online here.
If you would prefer to send your donation by mail, send a check or money order to: Maisha Project, PO Box 570, Oklahoma City, OK 73101. You may also call us to make a donation over the phone at 405.445.3440.
- Can I give to a specific project?
Yes, you can designate your donation(s) to a specific project by selecting the appropriate project in the drop down menu online or on the memo line of your check.
- How can I help?
There are many ways you can help Maisha reach children and families in need:
- Make a donation online.
- Host a fundraising project with your church, business, family or community
- Become a Maisha Storyteller to promote awareness and education of the Maisha Story.
- Become a Maisha prayer partner
- Host a “Maisha Story” party in your home
- Can I go to Maisha?
- Can I volunteer at Maisha in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma?
In order to keep administration costs low, Maisha depends on volunteers and interns to assist in the office. Maisha has multiple opportunities for individuals interested in volunteering for a minimum of three months, six months or one year. We would welcome qualified individuals to assist us with:
- Fundraising Campaigns
- Grant & Foundation Research & Writing
- Film/Video Editing & Creation
- Digital Photography, Editing, Database
- Office Administration
- Public Relations & Journalism
If you are interested, please fill out our online volunteer/intern application form to volunteer at Maisha in Oklahoma City.
- How can I apply to work for Maisha in the US?
Thank you for inquiring about employment opportunities with Maisha. In order to keep administration costs low, Maisha is mostly staffed by volunteers. If you would like to submit your resume for future consideration, we would welcome you to do so. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How can I apply for work for Maisha in Kenya?
Thank you for inquiring about employment opportunities at Maisha in Kenya. Maisha typically employs locals for all of our programs but we encourage volunteers to serve and train locals. If you would like to submit your resume for future consideration, we would welcome you to do so. You may e-mail us at email@example.com.
- Is Maisha a Christian organization?
Maisha operates as a 501 (c) (3) public charity, founded to fulfill the mandate of Matthew 25 “To care for the needy, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry and welcome the strangers.” Our vision is to bring hope to the hopeless and light to the darkness. Maisha does not discriminate against any race, religion or ethnicity. Maisha believes we should share the good news and reach out to all people in their time of need. We live and work with an attitude that respects every person’s dignity; we are all made in God’s image. Much of our work is accomplished through establishing effective partnerships/teams with other like hearted groups both here and abroad; “together we can do so much more.”
- Questions about missions in Kenya
- Tell me more about Kenya
Kenya is in East Africa and its neighbors include Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Nairobi is the capital and stands at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet). Its population is about 34 million.
The languages spoken here are English, Kiswahili and about 40 indigenous languages. About 85% of the population is Christian. The remainder is comprised of indigenous religions and Muslim. The currency is Kenyan shilling (KSH).
- What is the climate in Kenya?
Kenya lies directly on the equator and elevations vary from sea level at the coast to 7,000+ ft. Generally, the days are warm and pleasant and the nights are cool. Summer clothes are worn throughout the year. In some areas, nights can be chilly. There are two rainy seasons; the long rains in April and May and the short rains in November and December. The hottest periods are from January to March and August to November. The coldest months are in July and the beginning of August. Average temperatures in Kenya range from 50° F to 95° F.
- What vaccination/immunizations are required to travel to Kenya?
No immunizations are required by law to enter Kenya. If you are traveling from a country where yellow fever is present you will need to take a yellow fever vaccination. Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever
- Routine Vaccinations – measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus-diphtheria, etc.
- Malaria prophylaxis
Contact your doctor several months before you travel to seek advice regarding the vaccinations to take.
- Which city/airport do I fly into?
You will fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and be met on arrival at the flight gate terminal, just outside security. Your visa will no longer be processed at the airport, but in advance of travel. Jomo Kenyatta is the largest airport in Kenya and a hub for most travel through Africa. The airport is 10 miles from the city center. If you want to get cash in Kenyan Shillings (KSH) upon arrival, banking services, automatic teller machines (ATMs) and foreign exchange (forex) bureaus are available at the airport. Maisha will assist with conversions.
- I want to volunteer in the teaching project. When are schools closed in Kenya?
The schools in Kenya operate on a trimester basis. Classes start in January, with breaks during the months of April, August, and December. Volunteers who are in Kenya during the school holidays participate in other projects such as orphanage assist, medical clinic, building, or mentoring projects.
- What about malaria in Kenya?
Make sure your doctor knows you are traveling to Kenya (don’t just say Africa) so they can prescribe the right anti-malaria medication. Malaria prevention medication should be taken according to your doctor’s instructions before, during and after a visit to affected areas. Malaria is a serious tropical disease, which is spread by night-biting mosquitoes which transmit a parasite. Avoiding getting bitten is important and usually the most effective means to prevent the disease. Long sleeved shirts and trousers should be worn in the evenings and insect repellent can be used, as well as using a mosquito net at night.
It is important to treat malaria as soon as the symptoms arise. Symptoms include chills, fevers, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you suspect you have malaria, hospitals are easily accessible in Kisumu and you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you have the treatment for malaria with you, so a correct diagnosis can be made.
- How is the Kenyan food?
Foods served include traditional Kenyan foods like ugali and sukuma wiki (corn meal and greens), githeri (maize and beans), and chapati (flatbread). Kenyan meals also consist of other universal dishes such as beef, fish, rice and pasta. French fries, burgers, sandwiches, etc. are available in restaurants and hotels. Breakfast usually consists of bread, eggs and at times bacon, sausage, and baked beans. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful in Kenya and feature frequently in menu preparations. Kenyan-grown coffee and tea are common beverages. Dessert is generally not served.
- Is it safe to drink the tap water in Kenya?
It is generally recommended that you drink bottled water during your volunteer stay in Kenya both in Nairobi and at Maisha. You can buy bottled water from any supermarket and most shops in Kenya and arrangements are made to have a plentiful supply. The most common water-borne diseases in Kenya are typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Other less common ones include gastroenteritis and amoebiasis.
- Is it safe to go shopping in Nairobi?
Nairobi is a major metropolitan area and the largest city in Kenya. Like any big city, it has criminal elements. Common criminal incidents involve snatching of purses, watches and jewelry. It is safe to shop in most sections of the city. We will guide you regarding appropriate areas to shop and visit during your volunteer orientation and training. While out, do not wear any expensive clothing and jewelry; leave all your jewelry at home. Avoid dark alleys and take a taxi at night.
- Is it safe to volunteer in Kenya?
Kenya is one of the safest countries in Africa. We ensure you are placed in a safe environment and will be very well looked after while volunteering at Maisha. The Kenyan people are very warm and friendly towards foreigners. However, there is poverty in Kenya. You are likely to be viewed as very rich. You will probably attract souvenir hawkers as well as street children and beggars. To assist us in keeping you safe, please take these simple precautions:
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
- Leave your passport, credit cards and debit cards in the safe at the guest house. Carry only small amounts of cash.
- Do not go off on your own.
- Do not wear jewelry.
- Do not carry a lot of cash, camera equipment, or other valuables.
- Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
- Always avoid alleys/back streets.
- Avoid using your ipod or electronics except in your room or at the project during your break. An ipod in the streets may attract undue attention. You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times when walking, using public transport etc. In fact, it is now illegal in Kenya to walk in public and talk on your cell phone, you will be ticketed.
- Avoid talking and walking with strangers.
- Never give out your personal contact information
Safety issues will be discussed at one of your mandatory orientations.
- What clothing is appropriate? Are there any cultural restrictions?
Bring comfortable, casual and semi-casual clothing: t-shirts, shorts, jeans, skirts and any other clothing that you would ordinarily wear. Include warm clothing for nights, especially if you volunteer in July and August. Avoid flashy or skimpy items.
When out in the community, it is good to follow local etiquette. Female volunteers need to wear pants and/or long skirts. Dressing in Nairobi is quite liberal. However, approach it with cultural sensitivity in mind and you will be fine. Please ask when you are not sure what is and is not appropriate.
Footwear can be hiking boots, old sports shoes or sandals. Shoes with a closed-toe and sturdy sole are a must for certain days of volunteering.
- What do I need to pack?
- Lightweight shirts, pants, shorts, jeans, skirts, water-repellant jacket, socks, and underwear (Volunteers are responsible for their own laundry)
- Tickets, passport, and money
- Malaria tablets; consult your doctor for suggestions
- Adapter plugs and converters for electrical appliances
- Walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine) and sandals
- Lotion and sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Basic first aid kit (normal medications in prescription bottle, aspirins, band aids, anti-diarrheal, antiseptic cream, anti-itch cream, etc.)
- What is the electricity supply for laptops, cameras, and other electronics?
The electricity supply in Kenya is 220-240 volts. The electric sockets are three-pin square (British type). Remember that simple adapters do not convert voltage or frequency. Incorrect use may keep you from using your equipment, damage it and even cause personal injuries. Using a plug adapter just changes the shape of the prongs. Check your individual electronics voltage rating and amperage specifications to see if you need a power converter (not simply a plug adapter) – many times it is printed on the back of the charger.
- Do I need a visa to enter Kenya?
Yes, volunteers need to obtain a single-entry tourist visa to enter Kenya. Visas are valid for three months from the date of entry and must be obtained in advance of travel via an online application.
- What is Kenya’s currency?
The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KSH). The value of the shilling fluctuates. Check the value of the shilling with a currency converter just before you go. Do not change too much money at one time. Maisha takes care of converting your currency at the best possible rate throughout the duration of your time in Kenya.
- Are credit cards or traveler’s cheques accepted in Kenya?
Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted. American Express and Discover are often not accepted. ATMs will mostly accept Visa and MasterCard as well. Major credit cards are accepted at supermarkets and expensive restaurants and hotels. However, it is advisable to carry some cash. Traveler’s cheques are not readily exchangeable and should not be used for travel to Kenya.