Woman helps Kenyan children, refugees

Friday, February 1st 2008, 12:28 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

Violent outbreaks continue in Kenya, Africa and hundreds have died in attacks between rival tribes. While the fighting seems a world away it hits close to home for at least one metro woman. 

Beatrice Williamson has only been in the United States since 2001. Her friends, family and an orphanage she's founded are all in Kenya, in the middle of the fighting and bloodshed.  

For more than a month, violence has filled the streets of Western Kenya. Political problems and rival ethnic groups fuel the flames.

"I am very surprised it has gone to this, because Kenya is normally a very peaceful country," said Williamson.

Williamson stays current with what is happening in her homeland through the news and daily text messages from friends and family. 

"I just received a text message from my family that my auntie, who lives in Nivasha...her house is burned to ash," she said.

She said there are few safe havens for people to turn to although hundreds have found their way to Maisha International Orphanage, a small orphanage she established three years ago.

"The volunteers at the orphanage are saying there are about 300 people there. Normally it only houses 22 children," said Williamson.

But even still gunshots and fighting can be heard at night and she worries for the safety and well-being of the children and refugees, she said. 

Williamson said the roads to her orphanage are blocked and not even the Red Cross can make it to the building. She asked her new neighbors, Oklahomans, to help out her old neighbors by donating money, food and sanitary supplies for her to send to the orphanage.  

Beatrice is also director of International Ministry at City Church in downtown Oklahoma City. She said the church will hold a service to pray for Kenya this Sunday at 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

To see the orphanage Williamson helped establish, click HERE