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Children of Bukati
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. I tried to find "Bukati" on a Kenya map, and couldn't. Why is that?
A. The school we are supporting is the Bukati Primary School. It is located in a rural community called Butula in the district of Busia in the province of Western Kenya, in Africa. It is located North-East of Lake Victoria, between Kisumu and Busia, which is a border city with Uganda.

Q. What do my donations pay for?
A. The donations pay for school uniforms, pencils, pens and a lunch program for the AIDS orphans and destitute children in the rural village of Butula.

Q. What has the Bukati Project funded so far?
A. As of May 2010, the project has purchased school uniforms, pencils, and a lunch of beans and corn for the AIDS orphans and destitute children who attend the Bukati Primary School. Towards sustaining the project in the future, we have purchased chickens, pigs, dairy cows, sheep, seeds for maize, beans, rice, and vegetables such as kale. We have purchased 11 acres of land, trees, and a grist mill to grind maize and sorghum. We are providing a lunch for all children 5 days a week, partly with the funds raised by the Children of Bukati Project and mostly from the crops grown on the land. The money also supports two cooks for the lunch program and a guard for the school. For more details, please refer to
success_stories.html.

Q. What do you see it funding in the near future?
A. We hope to continue to continue to support the Bukati Primary School as it completes the projects that will enable it to be self sustaining into the future. We wish to expand to a second needy school in the fall of 2010. We will establish a lunch program for AIDS orphans and destitute children in a second community and build a permaculture project to enable the school to become self sustainable.

Q. Has the project succeeded in encouraging AIDS orphans to attend school?
A When we started, there were 150 orphans at the school. Today, there are over 750 orphans in a school population of 1200 pupils. All of the orphans in the community are now attending school. Children who come to school receive their uniform at the start of the subsequent school term. The school committee says that once children start to attend, they continue. For more details, please refer to success_stories.html.

Q. Why did you pick this school?
A. Dr. Cate Dewey was conducting research in several rural communities in Western Kenya in 2006. This school was picked because there were so many AIDS orphans in this community who were not attending school because their guardians could not afford the necessary school supplies. The lunch program was added to the project because there is insufficient food in the area and hungry children cannot learn. Approximately half of the children in this community are orphaned.

Q. Is this school the worst one in Kenya?
A. This is not necessarily the worst school in Kenya. There are likely many school areas with a similar problems. However, in this rural area, there are no orphanages and no NGO or governmental assistance for the care of the orphans. Also, Cate Dewey will return to the region on a regular basis to conduct research so it is a project that can be monitored regularly. Finally, the committee of teachers and parents are committed to the success of the project.

Q. Do you ever see the Bukati Project funding other schools in Kenya?
A. We intend to fund this school for 6 years after which the program is expected to be self sustaining. We hope to move the project to a second school that is 20 kilometres away from the Bukati Primary School in the fall 2010. This will necessitate the ongoing financial support of the project by our many generous donors.

Q. Does the Bukati project only support AIDS orphans in the school, or does it help out other students that can't afford to go to school as well?
A. Most of the children (90%) are AIDS orphans but the rest are destitute children. The majority of people in this area live on less than a dollar a day. The destitute children have both parents but the parents are unable to grow crops to feed and support their children.

Q. How does the money that is raised get distributed to the orphans? Is there anyone checking to make sure that it actually reaches the right students?
A. There are two volunteer committees responsible for the money raised for the Children of Bukati project - one in Canada and another in Kenya. In Canada, the committee consists of Peter Guthrie (treasurer), Cate Dewey (chair) and Karen Richardson. The money is deposited into a separate bank account used only for this project. This account is audited by two auditors chosen by the Stone United Church every January. Three times a year, money is transferred from the Canadian account to the project account in Kenya. The committee in Kenya includes the principal of the school and the chair and treasurer of the Home and School association. The latter two positions are elected. All three Kenyans must be present at the bank for money to be withdrawn from the account. The account is audited annually by the school board. Photocopies of receipts are sent to Canada. These are also used to audit the Canadian account. No money actually goes to an individual orphan. Orphans are identified when they bring their parent's death certificate to school. Then the child is added to the list of those in the program. Once in the program, the child is eligible to receive a uniform, pen, pencil and school lunch. The school grows most of their own maize now, and then purchases extra maize and beans in bulk to keep the costs low.

Q. I'd like to donate, but I feel uncomfortable donating over the Internet.
A. We carefully chose Canada Helps as a safe and secure method of receiving donations. CanadaHelps is a public charitable foundation, and is Canada's only donation portal that provides access to all of Canada's 80,000 charities. CanadaHelps is a highly secure website, which encrypts your data using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), the industry standard security protocol.
However, if you still prefer not to use the internet, please go to the "How to Donate" page, where you will find details on how to donate by mailing in a cheque.

Q. Why is my donation going to the United Church?
A. The outreach committee of the Stone United Church has adopted the project. This enables the church to provide tax receipts for your donation. The Children of Bukati project is not registered as its own charitable organization because the directors of the project were reluctant to spend the money required to complete the registration. If someone was willing to donate the expertise to complete this work, the committee would be grateful.

Q. Does the United Church take out a percentage for administration?
A. No. The church does not take any money. All the financial work for the project is done by volunteers at the Stone United Church.

Q. How much of my donation is actually going to the Children of Bukati Project?
A. More than 98% of each donation is doing directly to support the children. Less than 2% of your donation is used for "overhead". This is the cost of stamps, envelopes and photocopying. This is a grassroots project being run by volunteers.

Q. When will I receive the tax receipt?
A. If you donate by cheque, tax receipts are mailed annually at the end of January for money donated in the previous calendar year. If you donate through Canada Helps, you will receive a tax receipt immediately.

Q. How can I help to support the project?
A. For information on how else to participate, please check out the "How to Participate" page. As you can see, we do need financial donations to enable us to provide lunch and school necessities for these 514 children. However, a significant part of the project is raising awareness of this project and the plight of this community. Please feel free to spread the word about the project. Cate Dewey is happy to give a presentation to community groups, schools or other special interest groups. Please contact her at info@childrenofbukati.com to arrange a presentation.

Q. You mentioned a presentation. Can I view it ahead of time?
A. We don't have the entire presentation on video, and in fact, it changes over time, to include the latest updates, but you can click here to view a short 10 minute summary of a presentation that Dr. Cate Dewey gave at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in March 2008.

Q. Can I donate pencils, pens and clothing?
R. We have identified a source of inexpensive pens and pencils in Kenya. It is too expensive to carry or ship school supplies from Canada to Kenya. The school uniforms are being made by a tailor in Butula. This has provided employment for him and others.

Q. I would like to volunteer in Africa. Do you arrange for people to volunteer with your project?
A. We do not arrange for people to volunteer with the project. Veterinary students from the University of Guelph have volunteered in the research project and through that some have volunteered at the school. However, the volunteer opportunities have been limited to these students.

Q. In the Photo Gallery, I saw photos of the students making bracelets. Where can I buy bracelets?
A. Bracelets that are made by the students at the school are sold after presentations given by Cate Dewey; during the school year by the veterinary students at the University of Guelph; and by Rev Doug Sly in Parksville, BC. If you wish to buy an individual bracelet, the cost will be $7 to cover the mailing charge. If you wish to help raise money by selling bracelets, you may purchase bracelets in units of 25 bracelets. You will be asked to pay the $125 for the bracelets and the fund will pay for the costs of mailing the bracelets to you.
To buy the bracelets, please send a cheque made payable to Stone United Church with Kenya Outreach on the memo line and then enclose a note in the letter that says that the money is to purchase bracelets. Mail to Cate Dewey, RR 1, Rockwood, ON, Canada. N0B 2K0.

Above: Mary, the teacher who mentors the students who are making the bracelets, gives the finished product to Cate to sell in Canada.

Above: Beading Club making bracelets for sale in North America. Each girl is in grades 5 through 7, and makes 5 bracelets a day while the beads are available. Mary says that the girls enjoy visiting together like this.


Q.
Who pays for your trips back to check up on the school? Is it the money that is donated to the Children of Bukati project?
A. Cate Dewey's travel between Canada and Kenya is paid for by a grant at the University of Guelph. The travel is being funded by Veterinarians Without Borders. She only visits the school when she is in the area conducting research work. None of the money donated for the Children of Bukati is used for travel.

Q.
The January 2009 newsletter talks about the U of Guelph students who will be going to Kenya to live in the town, and help build the school addition, during the summer of 2009. Is the Bukati project paying for their flights? or "accommodation", or anything?
A. No. The students going from the University of Guelph are raising money to pay to build the school classroom but they are not using any of that money to pay for their transportation or their living expenses while they are in Africa. All of the transportation and living-expense money is self-funded. This way, all the money that they raise will go directly to the school just like the Bukati project money does and will not have any impact on our overhead.

Q.
Will you keep me informed of the progress of the project?
A. Newsletters are mailed to donors twice a year.
More frequent updates can be viewed at the Newsletter page. If you prefer not to receive the newsletter, please indicate your preference when you make your donation.

Q.
I see that the Children of Bukati project contributes to buying pigs, chickens, maize, and even a "Posho-Mill". Do you see a day when these students and this school will ever become self-sufficient?
A. We expect the project to be self sufficient in 2012. In the first year, we purchased some animals, seeds and a corn grist mill. These are insufficient to attain self sufficiency but it is a step in the right direction. Specifically, we have bought the posho mill, the chickens, the seeds for the eucalyptus trees and the pigs, the kitchen utensils (pots), and fencing, maize and kale seeds. The community donated the time and building materials for the chicken coop, pig barn, kitchen and building for the posho mill. So, we are funding the pieces that will likely sustain the project in the future. We did not build the well - it was already built, but it was broken in July 2007 so we paid $200 to repair it as this provides the only safe water in the community. We also purchase beads for bracelets that the children make. Cate Dewey brings the bracelets back to Canada to sell for $5 each (approximately 5 lunches for a child)

Q.
Are you part of a long standing NGO?
A. We are not part of another NGO. Children of Bukati is a grass roots organization of volunteers whose focus is the education of AIDS orphans and destitute children in the community of Butula, Western Kenya. The project began because Canadians saw a need and wished to make a difference in this community.

Q.
Is your purpose to convert these Kenyans to Christianity?
A. No. The purpose of the project is to provide the essentials in life so that the AIDS orphans and destitute children in the community can receive a primary school education. Most of the people in the province of Western Kenya and in this community are Christian. The religious affiliation of the people was not why this community was selected.

Q.
Will the project support children to attend high school?
A. The cost of a high school education is approximately $1,000 per child per year. Although we realize that a high school education would be a real advantage, there are currently insufficient funds to consider that as an option.

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Updated October 10, 2010