In exciting developments for the running of New Ways, with appointments made appropriately close to International Women’s Day, the gender make-up of the board has shifted, and the new chair and vice chair are both women.
This naturally means someone is moving on from the post and our thanks go to Fernando Aguirre, one of our founders, who has been chair for 5 years, combining this with a time-consuming role as president of the MCSPA. Given this and other responsibilities, he is passing the baton on to Lenny and Scholastica, so that he can give more time to our US charity, New Ways for Africa, that was set up in 2016.
The new chair is Lenny Jilo, with Scholastica Wamalwa as vice chair. Lenny and Scholastica have worked closely together as key members of the team for years, and we’re looking forward to seeing them take the work forward. They have both travelled widely too, visiting supporters and potential donors across Europe. Many UK supporters will remember their moving speeches at many of the Advent Balls which we held every year for 20 years. So, a little more about each of these remarkable women. They tell their stories in their own words –
‘My name is Lenny Jilo, member of the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle. I made the decision 22 years ago with my family’s blessing to commit my life to helping others have a better one – I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve together – we are transforming lives! I thank you for your role in that journey.
When I think of my early years with the Missionary Community and the life and very limited opportunities that young girls from nomadic families had 27 years ago and compare it to today there is such joy in my heart. One of the achievements I am very proud of is our girl’s education programmes – we now have 8 young ladies at university unthinkable in the 1990’s as well as hundreds of girls at various stages of their education.
At a very early age, girl’s assume household tasks and have little time for play as your children do. As they grow up their lives are so very different to anything you can imagine, and they battle the traditions to move beyond the life their mothers have endured. Education and skills development is what will offer them greater opportunities and New Ways has made that happen.
We cannot talk of change in such a society if we don’t create these opportunities and initiatives for them: be it schools, income generating activities such as soap making, basketry, bread making or agriculture so that they may stand on their own, be liberated and independent, its only then that they will have a voice and be able to make decisions about their future.
So, on behalf of the Turkana people and especially the women we would like to extend our gratitude to you all, for your continuous support over the last 27 years, something which is quick to mention, but the fruits of that support we see and live with every day in Turkana.
Together we have been able to transform lives. To put a smile on each of the 3,000 children we feed in our nutrition centres daily. To give hope and life to more than 22,000 people who benefit directly from our health program. To offer a brighter future and opportunities to more than 100 young people, both girls and boys, whose education we sponsor every year. And that’s not to mention the lives we have changed thanks to the water infrastructure programmes – as we all know, no one can survive without water.
I can bravely and proudly tell you that your effort is worthwhile and appreciated, more so to our founders, our CEO Angela Docherty, the directors and our volunteers. It’s great to serve on a board with such outstanding colleagues, and all of us benefitting from the immense generosity and dedication of our long-term New Ways supporters.
We are really making a change in the lives of many and making Turkana a better, safer, and happier place where all can flourish.
‘My name is Scholastica Wamalwa, a Kenyan and missionary who has been working in the missions in Ethiopia and Kenya for almost 30 years. I first met the New Ways team almost 20 years ago as I am a member of the Missionary Community of St. Paul as well as my visits to London to meet people interested in our work. I am delighted to be joining the Board as Vice Chair after so many years of visiting. I have been working on different development projects in the areas of health, nutrition, water resources, women’s development programs, and agriculture, among others since I joined MCSPA.
New Ways have been committed to funding and supporting the integrated health program that our community have been running in Turkana, northern Kenya, since 1986. Looking back, time seems to have passed so fast, but I must say that as a nurse running the health program, I have achieved a lot and learned a lot from the people I have lived and worked with over the years.
It has never been about giving, but always about receiving. Many enriching moments have filled my life and given a sense of meaning to it, from the innumerable beautiful looks, images, and smiles of the children to the satisfactory looks of women at the clinics, mothers embracing their new-born babies at the dispensaries, and not to mention the satisfactory looks in the eyes of patients returning back with a number of goats, mats, etc. as gratitude for the services they have received.
This has given meaning to my vocation as a missionary and the whole of my life. It’s been my source of inspiration and strength to move on and continue putting my drop of water in this huge ocean of the people we serve in northern Kenya, where even the most basic needs are a luxury. Our sincere gratitude to all of you who have been journeying with us since our very humble beginnings. Be assured that your generous contributions make a huge difference in the lives of the people we serve here in Turkana.
Our dream in New Ways is that many more of you will continue supporting our initiatives, and together we will continue making Turkana a “Heaven” for many. Come one, come all! As vice Chair I will be also supporting you, to ensure that not only do the people of Turkana flourish but also that New Ways does too.’