Our Church believes strongly in the principle of self-reliance. We are taught to be self-reliant and then to reach out and help others as we are able. But how to help in the right way is sometimes hard to figure out. Elder Wirthlin, one of the 12 Apostles of our church when he was alive, said that
"when we do for others what they can and ought to do for themselves,
we harm them more than we help them."
On the other hand, our prophet, President Monson has often quoted the following poem:
I have wept in the night
At my shortness of sight
That to others' needs made me blind,
But I never have yet
Had a twinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
These two principles come together very neatly in the teachings and policies of our church. LDS Charities began operating in 1985 when the famine in Ethiopia became severe. Since then, LDS Charities has been helping people and countries around the world, regardless of race or religion, in remarkable ways. For more information, see https://www.ldscharities.org .
Church members and others (but not governments) donate to the church's Humanitarian Fund. All donations are used for humanitarian purposes with absolutely nothing going to administration. LDS senior missionaries (who are volunteers and pay their own way) assess needs and then partner with those in need to develop and carry out a plan. Those receiving help commit to fund a certain percentage of the project and they also do much of the work. That way, they are not getting something for nothing. They have ownership in the project.
Church humanitarian efforts are never linked to proselyting. LDS Charities is strictly to help relieve suffering, not to proselyte converts. LDS Charities missionaries never give out Books of Mormon, nor even wear name tags with the church's name on it. They never want to give the impression that there are strings attached to the humanitarian aid because there are not. It is simply to relieve suffering, period. LDS Charities here in Kenya works with both hospitals and schools.
Now to the pictures. The children were so happy and anxious to have their pictures taken that I took too many and have had a hard time cutting them down. So this post will be the longest ever. The children are beautiful and their teachers committed to helping them in the best way possible. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge.
|Elder Torrie loves to talk with people and they love to talk with him.|
|The children were excited that I would take their pictures.|
|Each class welcomed us with smiles and laughter.|
|The desks are built with whatever is available. Nice to see them doing the best that they can.|
|Classrooms are made with tin and the open roof allows a breeze to blow through. Days are very hot here. No indoor plumbing. Latrines in tin surroundings.|
|Elder Torrie and Elder Jensen|
|Not everyone wanted their picture taken and that's okay.|
|The teachers are trained with post-secondary education and do their best with limited supplies.|
|I asked who wanted to go to Canada with me and almost all did!|
|I couldn't neglect the other side of the classroom when I asked who wanted to go to Canada. I told them that they have a lovely country right here in Kenya.|
|Supplies are minimal but students are happy to have them.|
|This classroom was jam-packed with tiny children, I think about age 3. It's better for them to be here in school than at home with no parents to care for them. Some are orphans and those with parents are still alone because most parents both work.|
|Cute little Muslim girl. Their faces are beautiful, don't you think?|
|And their eyes are beautiful too.|
|Every day, the Christian students have a religious class for them and the Muslim students have a religious class also. Nice to see religion in the school.|
|Ouch. Beauty pinches as my mom always said. Takes a long time to braid hair too. Several little girls have told me how much it hurts. I don't think I would have stood it as a very young girl.|
|This teacher was teaching the students about the different tribes in Kenya. Notice her teaching stick.|
|She would point the stick at the student she wanted to answer the questions. The students were eager to participate.|