Providing a home and school for deaf orphans in Kenya that is conducive to spiritual and academic growth.

It is estimated that 10% of the 15 million children in Kenya are orphans who have no parents, no home, no nurturing places in which to grow and develop. Of these more than 1 million orphans, many are deaf. Deaf orphans face a dismal future in Kenya. Many extended families who accept the orphans from other family units refuse to take in the deaf orphan. Some are led into the jungle where they are tied to a tree and left for the wild animals. Many are just abandoned to face the future on their own. As desperate as the future is for all Kenyan orphans, for the deaf child left behind by the AIDS virus, without some intervention there may not be a future for them.

Sam's Place is a school and orphanage for deaf orphans in southwest Kenya. It is currently under construction and we plan to start accepting children in the summer of 2010. In addition to rescuing them from the very difficult life of a typical deaf orphan in Africa, we plan to give them a good education, vocational training, and computer skills to help them succeed when they graduate.

Deaf students are severely disadvantaged in Kenya because the current trend in deaf education there is to require the deaf students to speak and read lips. Signing is not allowed or strongly discouraged in many schools for the deaf. Recently, much progress has been made in this area as Kenyan educators are beginning to see the enormous improvements in educational outcomes when the students are taught in sign language.

The children at Sam's Place will be taught in sign language, mainly by Kenyan teachers who are also deaf. The headmaster of the school is Charles Otieno, a deaf Kenyan with a long, successful history in deaf education.

Sam's Place is overseen by the World Missions committee at South 11th and Willis Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. An advisory board composed of a combination of deaf and hearing Kenyans is providing the cultural awareness necessary to make Sam's Place successful, and two American missionary families living in Kenya (the Gafners and the Conways) are also providing logistical support. We are also employing many of the local deaf men in the construction.

After construction of the orphanage is complete, monthly operational expenses will be paid from the interest on an endowment fund. With your help this Facebook cause can be an invaluable tool in funding the construction and future operations of Sam's Place.

To really get a good understanding of what Sam's Place is and how you can help you will want to read through the Sam's Place newsletters here:

There are also some more Sam's Place resources available from the Willis World Missions web site.

1. Raise funds to build an orphanage/school for up to 40 deaf Kenyan orphans.

2. Locate skilled people who are interested in providing technical and logistical support for Sam's Place.

3. Increase awareness of the plight of deaf orphans in Africa.

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