Chebagogo was founded in 2006 by Nelly Some, a native Kenyan who saw firsthand the suffering of children orphaned by AIDS and resolved to do something about it.
Chebagogo is a 501c3 charitable foundation dedicated to providing unconditional assistance to all AIDS orphans in Kenya, regardless of religious background, culture, or gender. The goal of our foundation is to encourage and facilitate the development of these children into upstanding and contributing members of their respective communities. We aim to achieve this by fostering these children’s fundamental needs, including, but not limited to: education, food, and housing.
Raised in poverty by her Grandmother, or her “Gogo,” Nelly Some — though not an AIDS orphan herself — suffered the effects of the social stigmatism of being born out of wedlock, which resulted in her friendship with many children even less fortunate than herself: victims and survivors of the AIDS epidemic.
Gogo instilled in Nelly her own tireless work ethic, with which Nelly put herself through both primary and high school, never having attended regular class. Instead she borrowed neighbor childrens' books and went to school only on test days, in order to help her grandmother support them both.
Through determination and hard work, Nelly earned scholarships that enabled her to get a university education, despite her disadvantaged beginnings.
On a dare, Nelly competed in the lottery for a green card to the U.S. She was awarded a green card and moved to Seattle, Washington, where she worked to put herself through nursing school, all the while sending money to Kenya to help with the cost of raising and caring for the AIDS orphans her Gogo had begun to take in once Nelly was grown.
Within a year, Nelly realized she and Gogo could not financially support all the orphans by themselves, so she started the Chebagogo Foundation to help.
A larger home, located in Eldoret, Kenya, was found to nurture Chebagogo’s growing family. The house sits on several acres of land, with vegetable gardens, cows, sheep and a flock of chickens to help sustain the Chebagogo children.
Nelly and her Gogo’s hard work and huge hearts have not gone unnoticed: there are more than two hundred children orphaned by AIDS on the facility’s waiting list: awaiting a home, a family, and an education that will help transform their lives.
Please help Nelly, her Gogo and our foundation work to build bright futures for these children and for other children in need.
The AIDS pandemic has affected, and continues to affect, a large portion of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa in a number of adverse ways. Efforts in recent years have been developed to combat AIDS infections in adults in the region but have failed to address the children impacted by the virus, marginalizing them, often leaving their fundamental educational, social, and physical needs unmet. Many of these children become orphaned in some capacity due to an AIDS infection in their family unit, denying them traditional family support, and making it tremendously difficult for them enjoy a normal childhood among their peers. Coupled with the outright struggle of losing close family members to AIDS, is the immense social stigma attached to those connected with the virus, further compounding the struggle of these children to achieve the fulfilling lives they are rightfully entitled to. These kids are continually subjected to social scrutinizing characterized by an aspect of their lives they have no control over.
The Joint United Nation Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAID) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) define “orphan” in the context of the AIDS pandemic as a child who has lost one or both of their parents. These organizations use the terms “maternal orphan,” “paternal orphan,” and “double orphan” to describe a child who has lost its mother, father, or both parents respectively (UN 2008). This approach of classification is a deviation from the traditional definition of an “orphan” that strictly refers to a child that has permanently been deprived of both parents. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to an estimated 12 million children orphaned by AIDS. With 1.2 million in Kenya alone, the country accounts for one-tenth of orphans in the region. AIDS orphans constitute almost half of the 2.6 total orphans in Kenya, illustrating the magnitude to which the HIV/AIDS have impacted children in the area.
Detrimental to a child in almost any case, the loss of one or both parents is made additionally difficult in the economic climate of enya and in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. As their parents battle the virus children are routinely tasked with caring for themselves, siblings, and often times for their ailing relatives. It is not out of the ordinary for these children to be saddled with the job of household breadwinner, forcing them to undertake labor intensive housework including cooking, cleaning, carrying water and laundry, as well as care giving activities such as feeding, bathing, toileting, giving medication and accompanying relatives for treatment, agricultural or income generating activities and childcare duties (Foster/Williamson 2000). It is no wonder why in turn the school dropout rates among children in these areas are so high, as on top of the time consumed taking care relatives infringes greatly upon time in the classroom, many of the funds that would possibly be put forward to educate these children are often diverted toward medical costs incurred by those infected with AIDS in the family. In extreme cases children are forced to live on the streets, turning to prostitution and begging as a means to survive.
This alone places a formidable impediment on the advancement of AIDS-impacted children in Kenya, further aggravated by the reticule many orphans endure as they face the stigma associated with the virus. Stigma refers to the prejudice, discrimination, mistreatment, and negative attitudes towards individuals living with and associated with HIV/AIDS. For AIDS-impacted orphans this stigma manifests itself in the form sunning and little community support, poor healthcare, non-admittance to schools, and the indirect stripping of rights. It has been found that the effects of this stigma are amplified on the developing minds of these children potentially causing serious psychological damage, affecting their happiness and success later in life.
The answer to improving the plight of AIDS-impacted orphans in Kenya lies not only in providing sustenance to foster these children’s growth and development, but also in breaking down the social stigma lingering over those associated with AIDS to this day. In donating to foundations like CHEBAGOGO, you are not simply sponsoring a child’s day to day existence but rather giving them the tools they need to forge their own way in society, proving the stigma that has so severely hindered them wrong. CHEBAGOGO’s onus is on first providing necessary sustenance, followed by quality education in our own (future) vocational school/boarding facility, in order to create productive and healthy communities focused on sustainability.
There are 1.2 million AIDS orphans in Kenya. Please help us provide a home, food, nurture & education to as many as possible.
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