Jennifer Smith Satterfield first read about a community in Kenya called Kibera 15 years ago. On June 10, she sent personalized cards to children there made by her students.
“I started communicating with girls there and sponsoring them to go to school, (when they) would otherwise be forced into child marriages, rape, and other inequities,” Satterfield noted.
An English and social justice teacher at Clearview, Satterfield has had her students and her own children maintain pen-pal relationships with the Kenyan girls.
“The area I’m focusing on now in Kenya, called Rusinga Island, is very remote since they have no running water, no electricity,” Satterfield explained, adding that people in the town mostly live in mud huts and earn only a dollar a week.
“Any type of famine, disease, and hunger have devastated this community,” she emphasized.
To make sure the girls are in school, Satterfield started a sponsorship project in April through which she and her team provided 65 kids with shoes, food, school supplies, and school uniforms.
“The teacher there named Josephine started an orphanage and a school for these children,” Satterfield revealed. “Now, she’s had literally dozens, close to 100, kids coming to her school pretty much every day begging for an education.”
Josephine sent Satterfield a list of her current students.
“Between my social justice class, my SURE Club, and a few other groups in the school, students made encouraging and inspirational cards for these kids,” Satterfield said of Clearview kids.
Through donations, Satterfield has been able to fund three additional classrooms in the Kenyan school that were recently painted. But more work beckons and sponsors are still needed. Sponsorships cost $65 a person.
“That fee covers everything from uniforms to school supplies to meals, everything that they need to be in school and to be healthy, ” Satterfield said.
Her 2006 goal was to connect Kenyan and Clearview students for the foreseeable future, and she did.
“Some of my former students still keep in touch and have relationships with the girls in Kenya,” she said.
Normally focused on teenagers in high school, Satterfield chose younger children as this year’s beneficiaries.
“I wanted to build those relationships between students here and students there to really show that kids are kids no matter where they live in the world,” the teacher offered. “They have the same interests, same feelings, need the same things, and have more in common than they do differences.”
To sponsor a child, contact Satterfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.