Scroll through to take a look at some of the projects we have gotten started in the community of Bura.
Schools and education
- Organic Gardening School: (read more about our community sustainability programs below)
We have a growing school of organic gardening, which teaches important farming and gardening skills specific to the type of barriers and difficulties people face in an area with little space, dry land, and lack of resources. They learn about double dug gardens, as well as key hole gardens, composting and more.
Our team renovated an unused cement water tank into a school where our team teach the principals of organic farming, drip irrigation, nutrition, and many other subjects to local farmers and farmers from as far away as Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and other countries.
- Heartbeat Mamas:
These are groups of Mothers in the community or surrounding villages, who come together to be taught and to take part in our Organic Gardening program. This enables them to grow a great quantity of produce in a small piece of land, which will provide for a family of five and also give them enough revenue to help send their children to the public school. The parents must buy a uniform for their child to attend school. Without the means to sell or make money, the children do not receive an education and the cycle of poverty continues. This program helps to build the community, create self-sustaining income and create a renewed sense of confidence in the village mothers.
- Mlaleni Mamas:
These women have attended our Organic School located on the Heartbeat Farm. Some of them have put in hours of work at the farm to trade wages for fencing to keep the animals out of their gardens. This way their crops reach marketable size and quality to produce income for them and also to feed their families. There have been 20 mothers from Bura and surrounding communities who participated in this way, and earned jobs for themselves and their families.
- Scholarships and Bursaries:
We are supporting needy high school students with technology, uniforms and regular monetary support to continue their educations. This comes in the form of bursaries and scholarships that students who qualify can apply for. We love to support these aspiring students and we try to do as much as we can for as many as we can.
We also have a laptop program, where we buy laptop computers for students enrolled in post-secondary education. They use these for studying while in school, and then return them to Heartbeat, where more students starting university or college will be able to use them. In the future we aim to provide a place for students to study, with free Internet and computer access so students may carry out their research without difficulty.
- Feeding Program:
Many many are treated at the medical centre in Bura with HIV. Some of these people are extremely sick. Unable to work, they often are hungry and unable to feed their families. Heartbeat tries to work with the Clinic to know who they are and what the needs are so that they will not go hungry or starve. So far this year we have had the privilege to hear of and help 8 families, as well as 1600 school children and adults.
- Youth Initiative:
Many young adults in the areas of Bura and surrounding areas, desire to make their world a better place for their countrymen and women. Two of our team are part of this group, and their aim is to begin projects and help their people. They desire to empower the people with hope and vision. Heartbeat wants to sponsor some of the projects to empower the youth, but also to invest in their vision for a future!
- Bura Football Teams:
Heartbeat is dedicated not only to education, and sustainability, but also to excellence and enjoyment in areas that people enjoy and value such as sport. We have continued to support Bura's football (soccer) teams for years now. More than ten football clubs have benefitted from gifts and donations of sport shoes, balls, uniforms, and other equipment in an effort to create a safe and fun space for students and children to grow and enjoy sport.
The fellowship of pastors which lead over twelve churches in the Bura area receive Swahili and English bibles. Over two-hundred bibles have been donated to the pastors and churches. This is a very important project to us and the community to reach people's hearts and minds with the word of God.
Programs to support community sustainability
- Wundanyi Widows:
Last January we had the privilege of meeting a large group of widows and team, who gather from all over Kenya with the vision of helping the thousands of orphans who desperately need their help. They chose 20 of their group to attend our last Organic school with the provision that they in turn would teach those in the communities and villages, who also wanted to learn this same farming, equipping them as they themselves were equipped. They have established three demonstrations plots in different parts of the county and their hope is to produce enough food to feed hundreds and thousands of orphans, and in turn teaching them the same principals.
- Female Hygiene for local women:
One of our team last January worked with the Rotary Club to provide quality kits to young women which were made in Uganda, for feminine hygiene, that with care will last them for three years. These kits are now becoming a possible small cottage industry in Bura. With the investment of local women and a few good sewing machines, it may be possible to supply the kits to all women in the area! There is vision and hope for the young women, as this is a constant and very prevalent problem due to poverty and cost of the items necessary.
- Fair Trade Business:
We are always looking to find markets and creatives to support and help sell their products with a fair price for their hard work. Basket weaving, bamboo art work, paintings, wood carvings, sculptures, as well as other art forms, are also possibilities. We work with many vendors, including local women designing and creating jewelry to sell and support themselves and their families.
- Water Project:
This life giving resource is in great demand in the Bura and surrounding areas. Water is always an urgent need. Heartbeat recently worked to create a hand dug water well, close to the village to supply water to the local residents. This free well and water created a huge impact in Bura and the surrounding villages during a time of despair and drought. We are so excited to have supplied schools and villages with water for distances as far as 50 kilometres away. We are still the main water resource for kilometres around.
- Heartbeat Job Opportunities:
Heartbeat itself provides jobs for people in the community of Bura, with opportunities from project management, farm workers, teachers, cooks, childcare workers, security guards and more. We support a diverse group of men and women who love their communities, and value what Heartbeat is doing in them.
- Fruit Orchards:
People who have no money for equipment, or tools, or fences, with which to tend their farms and gardens are given part-time job opportunities at the Heartbeat Farm and Orchard. They come to our farm and work for a few hours or days, and trade off the work for seedlings for their gardens, tools they need, fencing, and more. It is a great way for them to still become self-sufficient, whether they have money or not.
- Bee Keeping:
We have recently began a bee keeping program for the elders of the community in Bura who have been helpful and supportive to Heartbeat. We are in the beginning stages of setting up a structure sufficient to house more than 10 beehives. One hive can reap a harvest of 10 kgs of honey!
- Fish Farming:
We have a fish farming project that is also doing very well. These fish are farmed in order to sell to help create another source of steady income for our workers and needs of the farm and orchard.
The fish are also used as a source of food, in an area that once ate only maize for their staple food, with little nutritional value. Fish and the large variety of nutrient-rich vegetables the community is learning to grow (such as Kale) supply both nutrition and Protein.