Oklahomans Urged to Give to Community Center for African Orphans
By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Children in Africa are given a place to sleep and something to eat each day, thanks to the generosity of Oklahomans. The Maisha International Orphanage began with donations from the state, and volunteers will continue their work as long as money keeps coming in.
An anonymous donor from Oklahoma has given $27,000 to the cause. Now he is challenging everyone else to match that contribution, and the goal is to raise the funds by Thursday.
In a small town in the African country of Kenya many children are without parents. They may not have a place to sleep. They count on missionaries to feed them their only meal of the day. It was in this village that Beatrice Williamson got her second chance with the help of a missionary.
"I can remember like it was yesterday, looked across the table and said that as long as I am alive I will make sure that this girl goes to school and as long as she was alive she made sure that she gave me an education, gave me a scholarship from 9-years-old until two years of college," said Maisha International Orphanage Director Beatrice Williamson. "And, today I am who I am today because of that lady."
Now, Beatrice lives in Oklahoma and has dedicated her life to helping other children in Kenya.
Volunteers from all over the state are doing the same.
"The people in the village know about Oklahoma," said Oklahoma missionary Mark Nehrenz. "The kids say, 'Oh, you're from Oklahoma.' Like the little kids know how to say it. There's just this connection; they don't just know you're from big America, but they know you're from Oklahoma."
The main goal at the Maisha International Orphanage is to educate children. To do that, kids need food, clothing and a place to sleep, first. So, construction on a new community center is in progress. Its total cost is $80,000.
"It's really growing and having this community center will really solidify it in the community," Nehrenz said.
"When I came to America I saw how this place is blessed and Americans love giving, they love to give," Williamson said.
The goal is $27,000 by Thursday, April 15. So far they've raised about half that.