Micro Community Model
RESCUING THEN EMPOWERING
There are an estimated 2.3 million orphaned children in Kenya. To hear a number is one thing; to witness a glimpse of this reality in a developing country is another. Our eyes were opened to a great need; a magnitude of children faced with homelessness. We realized that by placing these children in a nourishing family environment, not only could we meet their basic needs, but empower them to understand and fulfill their own potential.
When we started Horizon Initiative, we knew the children’s home would be our anchor. However, we wanted to find a way to invest in the lives and dreams of these children, while still having a positive impact on the surrounding community. We wanted to utilize the wealth of resources, talents, and compassionate people that were already there, while developing a model that would be capable of supporting itself. That’s when we decided to not just build children’s homes, rather self-sustaining micro communities.
WHAT IS A MICRO COMMUNITY?
A micro community is a compound of 6-12 acres that is anchored by a children’s home or family units, and consists of farming plots, dairy and poultry units, and any other micro-business ventures that generate income and offset the operational costs of the micro community. We send all of our children to private academic school while integrating our on-site trade school, providing children and HI Team with training opportunities and vocational trades. For instance, from our sewing center, we are making our own school uniforms and selling additional apparel to neighboring students and schools. Within our computer lab, children and HI Team are learning basic computer skills. With our poultry unit, we are able to provide eggs for breakfast and sell the excess at the market. With this model, we rescue orphaned children and enable them not only to become consumers of resources, but producers as well.
SO WHY DOES THE MICRO COMMUNITY MODEL MAKE SENSE?
Three reasons: Provision. Empowerment. Self-sustainability! Our on-site micro-businesses produce food, milk, apparel and other basic needs for child and operational growth, while offering resources to organically train them with applicable life and business skills. Additionally, micro-businesses generate the income necessary to help offset operational costs.
We employ local community members from different tribes and backgrounds to run the micro-community, from house parents to site managers to gardeners to security guards. All are paid above fair wages. It is their dedication and compassion to our mission that creates a loving and thriving home for the 90 children who live there. Like any family, we are a work in progress; we may not always be perfect, but at the end of the day, we are always there for each other, providing an environment of safety and inspiration for every one of our children.
THE GOAL IS SIMPLE: SELF-SUSTAINABILITY
Merriam Webster defines a community as ‘a unified body of individuals in joint ownership or participation’. With joint ownership comes accountability. And when the opportunity presents itself to step up to the plate and harness one’s abilities, fulfillment serves as the result. Our goal for each child and the micro-community itself is simple: self-sustainability. With proper management and care, consistent family values, quality education and resources, and a good measure of faith, we believe our Micro Community Model will result in just that and more.