Last summer, we sat in a dimly lit mud hut across a small table from a young Kenyan mother. She was joyful, unable to suppress the smile which spread widely along her face; her eyes glimmered with new hope as she expressed her sincere gratitude to us. We had recently installed a small, solar lighting system in her house. To her, that lighting system signified the opportunity for her children to succeed in school, enabling them to study at night when formerly they could not.
On April 22, 2008, LOTI celebrated its third anniversary. In the past three years we have been blessed to serve poor communities in Kenya and Tanzania. Women in Mbeere, Kenya no longer give birth in the dark because of solar powered lighting units that LOTI installed in the local, rural clinic. Families in Mbeere have safe, reliable, and clean water sources. Tanzanian women have been trained to make and use solar cookers, helping alleviate the financial burden of purchasing charcoal, which can account for thirty percent or more of a family’s income. Through these acts of simple, uncomplicated compassion, we have seen God bring about physical and spiritual transformation in the lives of individuals and communities.
This summer we will be taking on two exciting projects that we’d like to share with you. The first project is a drip irrigation system in western Kenya. Food supply is a major challenge in subsistence agrarian communities, having become a worldwide crisis in the last twelve months. In the past year, shortages and drought have caused the price of grain to increase by more then 80% in many communities. One way LOTI is responding to this challenge is through irrigation projects in Namawanga, a rural community in the western part of Kenya. These systems are low in cost and have the potential to greatly increase crop yield during the
In our second project, we will be expanding solar (photovoltaic) household energy systems in an ongoing project in another village in western Kenya. These systems provide lighting for children to study both at home during the night and during dark or cloudy days while at school. They also provide business opportunities for the young people in the community. This summer we will provide technical training to local Kenyans by equipping them to install the lighting systems we bring to the community. This ensures that there is the technical capacity to maintain the systems that are installed. We will also be providing seminars for those interested in starting businesses associated with these energy systems. Community-based businesses offering cell phone and battery charging provide much needed employment opportunities for the youth in the community. We are partnering once again with Possibilities Africa to complete these projects.
This summer, please prayerfully consider supporting LOTI financially and through prayer. Through this support, we are empowered to continue to serve the poor and needy.
Reed Barton Justin Henriques
Executive Directors, Co-founders
P.S. We are glad to welcome Curt Kenney to the LOTI team as our Director of Programs. Curt first began working with LOTI as a volunteer two years ago. His expertise lies in commercial lending and economics, allowing us to incorporate microfinance and economic sustainability as components that are central to our projects.