BIGOMI, which stands for Bible Gospel Mission, is a project which operates under the umbrella of Mission International’s Kenya partner ‘People For Jesus Ministry‘.
Kenya’s government, for a wide range of reasons, is unable to support the many disabled and elderly people, especially in remote areas around the country. Traditionally families would have lots of children who would care for their elderly in their failing years, however this is less and less the case since many of the children have succumbed to HIV/AIDS or have abandoned the village for the promise of a better life in the city.
The BIGOMI project seeks to support elderly and disabled people who have no family support and where the community, although willing to help, are financially limited in the help that they can give.
Currently BIGOMI has two aspects of service:
- To provide support for disabled children in the community surrounding their base in Nyang’ande near Ahero in Western Kenya. Due to Animistic beliefs many disabled children are perceived as a curse to their families and are therefore not cared for and often murdered or left to die alone. BIGOMI staff’s Christian beliefs see each human being as made in God’s image and so wish to help these children find a safe and secure place to develop their life skills no matter how limited these may be. Currently school places are being provided in a supported environment where disabled children can grow and develop their skills with help from loving, caring staff members.
- To provide care for elderly and infirm adults who have no family support in their home location. Many elderly people have spent their final years of life bringing up grand children since HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of their own children. Now that the grand kids have left home to find work in the city, they are left to fend for themselves. They find it difficult to cultivate, carry water and firewood, take crops to market and generally look after themselves as they become less able and more infirm, and often quite sick, in their latter years. One old man said “When Jacob (the Biblical patriarch) died, he was able to bless each of his children; many of the old people here die cursing their children because they are not here to look after them in their old age”.
Income Generating Projects: BIGOMI seeks to provide a range of income generating projects to help resource the needs of the elderly and disabled. One very successful project is a fish farm that hs been operating for a few years growing Tilapia, Mud Fish and other species which command a high price on the local market as fish stocks in the area reduce due to over fishing of Lake Victoria.
It is hoped that, with help, BIGOMI can provide other income generating projects to further help those in great need.
Construction Projects: The current projects with which Mission International wishes to help BIGOMI:
- The construction of a security fence around the fish farm site, since fish have been stolen from the ponds by unscrupulous locals seeking to make a fast buck. The fence will make the theft of fish much less likely and increase the output of the project. It is envisaged that the security fence will cost in the region of £1000.
- Water Pump Project which will provide safe clean and plentiful water in close proximity to those in need since their physical and age related limitations make it very difficult for them to carry water for long distances. The water pump project will cost £650 to install.
- The purchase of land and the construction of small homes for the elderly who have no family to look after them. The project will bring elderly people from their village setting, where they have no close family, to a small old folks village where they can be cared for by BIGOMI staff and where they will have others of a similar age and situation with whom they can socialise. The Elderly Village Project, to be constructed on a five acre plot of land, and will include facilities such as a chapel, a vocational and technical training centre, a games and sports facility suitable for the disabled, a special learning unit, living accommodation, a medical facility, a dining area with kitchens, toilets and offices for administration. All of this is designed to bring an improved physical and social life to those who will work, live and study there. The BIGOMI Centre is likely to cost around £100,000 in total, however £10,000 would see a substantial start made to this project, putting a small office on a quarter acre site, which will then facilitate growth and development as further funds are acquired.
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Bigomi Elderly Homes Project: