Cape High teacher Alayna Aiken said the sewing school she founded in Kenya is experiencing a water crisis and needs to raise an emergency $40,000 to drill a well.
Power-generating firm KenGen had been supplying water to Sunrise Sewing School, but a change in leadership led to the utility giant cutting off all water for anyone outside its compound, Aiken said.
“We had no warning and no time to prepare,” Aiken said. “We are in the middle of construction of a bathhouse for our students.”
Aiken, a family and consumer sciences teacher, launched the school several years ago after she visited the area on a mission trip and met members of the impoverished Pokot tribe. Sewing has empowered the area’s women by giving them the opportunity to learn a trade, she said, and the school started its first class of boarders this summer.
“So we have quite a few people dependent on water,” Aiken said. “We have a river a short distance behind our school, but it isn't safe for our girls to go down there with the increase in sexual assaults happening. No one pursues justice in this area, or the police are bribed, and the village elders only make the man pay a cow to the girl's family if she voices what happened.”
In addition to water security and safety for the students, the well would allow students to garden and gain food security, she said.
“The cost of the well is high because we have to bring big equipment long distances and drill through heavy rock to get to the aquifer,” Aiken said. “There is no water supply to the surrounding villages either, so we are hoping to be a source for them.”
The other issue with the river, Aiken said, is that it contains gold, and investors come regularly to destroy it in search of money.
“So our current source is about to be heavily polluted,” she said.
Aiken’s friend Alyssa Titus organized a Go Fund Me fundraiser to benefit the Kenya Gather Foundation, an organization created by Aiken to manage Sunrise Sewing School. Donate at bit.ly/3ySUwyy.
To learn more about Sunrise Sewing School and the Kenya Gather Foundation, go to kenyagather.org.