Friday, December 9, 2016

The Faces of Kimbondo

The funding goal was met over the weekend, the sand, gravel, and cement was delivered on Monday, and the brick-making has commenced.  Somehow, by Thursday, 500 have been made.  (Roughly 4,000 will be used in all.)



I hope to be stopping by next week to see the progress for myself.  In the interim, here's a look at some of the Kimbondo residents who will be living in more comfortable accommodations in just a few short months.









Monday, December 5, 2016

Goal. Met.

And on the same day, some 40 tons of sand and "finely ground gravel" arrived.  The brick-making should begin this week.

(Serious damage to the road there...)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

20 Tons of Sand Have Been Ordered

As we close in on our fundraising goal--we will be mighty close to $25,000 in a single month of efforts; y'all are awesome!--we have decided to get starting.

On Thursday, Madlen put in an order for 20 tons of sand and an equal amount of what I think is "finely ground gravel", but she doesn't know the English term.  Regardless, they are scheduled to arrive on Monday.  When combined with the 40 bags of cement (scheduled for Wednesday), the builder will have the materials needed to begin making bricks...a lot of bricks.

In other words, at some point in the next 100 hours, we expect the construction process to have begun.

A nice collateral benefit of providing better housing for abandoned kids is that this will really help some local families with the labor it provides.  Jobs are beyond scarce in the Kinshasa area, and this project will provide some short term employment for roughly 25 people--almost all of whom have extended family obligations.  Additionally, we've put $500 in the budget to provide (modestly) paid apprenticeships for ten older Kimbondo residents with hopes that it will provide them with the skills needed to support themselves when they leave the orphanage.

Madlen has promised photos of what 40 tons of sand and "finely ground gravel" looks like.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Getting Closer...and Some Photos

Well, it's hard to say it better than this:

November 25
That comes from 99 donors--some of whose identity we will never know.  But all who have donated, shared our posts, or just wished us well have done their part to make something really good happen.

We're not where we need to be yet and your *tax-deductible donations are still needed at

We are setting up a bank account next week and will have the available funds wired as quickly as possible.  It's possible that the first critical step--making thousands of bricks--could begin by mid-December.

Shiera, Dean, and I visited Madlen and Kimbondo Orphanage today.  We had a chance to meet the contractor see some of the other work he's done there.

Below are a few photographs of the grounds and some of the residents.  We'll be able to provide photos of the construction once it begins.

Today, the Foyer House looks like this:

Sometime around April or May, it should look like this:

So, 75-80 kids will be sharing four rooms and not two.  Still crowded, but it will make a huge difference.  Here are the concrete bed frames that were recently installed in another housing unit. These babies are nigh-indestructible and should be functional for decades:

Finally, a few photographs of the residents of Kimbondo who will benefit from your generosity.  They've all been dealt a harsh hand in many ways.  But through the super-human efforts of Madlen and the staff at Kimbondo, they have more than they would and each one of these children is loved.



Monday, November 14, 2016

Huge Announcement: A Matching Funds Donor!

Wow.  The really good news of the past two weeks (1,400 blog hits and over $7,000 raised) has just got much better; by a factor of two, I might add.

A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to match funds contributed up to $10,000 for all contributions pledged before Thanksgiving.  S/he has just emailed to say that s/he has just cut a check to Lantern Projects for $5,000 and will send another check to reflect the total pledged by the end of the day of Thursday, November 24th.  

Counting for this amount, we have now approached the half-way point, just $121 short of the midpoint of the $25,000 we need.

Plans are already being made to get the funds to Kinshasa--no mean feat, but we think we have found secure (and legal!) ways to get it done.  Our hope is that we will be able to buy the supplies and commission the break-making by early December and to begin construction in earnest in early January.  If all goes as planned, the kids at Kimbondo will have their new living space in another 10-12 weeks.

Thanks so much for those who have already shown such trust in us--your money was just magically doubled!  Please continue to spread the word.  Remember to let people know that $10 means $20, $40 means $80, $100 means $200, and $500 means a thousand from now until Thanksgiving.

November 22  

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Bed for Each Child: The Project is Launched!

The A Bed for Each Child Project is now accepting donations.  

Your tax deductible donations will be accepted, processed, and delivered by Lantern Projects, a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States.

                           DONATE HERE

(Say, if you are good enough to donate, please let us know--in the comments here, via email or Facebook.  Lantern Projects is not able to release a list of their donors and we feel badly about not being able to offer a heartfelt one-on-one thank you for supporting us. :-) )

Our goal:  to raise the funds needed to double the sleeping and living space for nearly eighty kids (ages 5-14) who are currently sharing two bedrooms at the Kimbondo Orphanage just outside of Kinshasa, D.R. Congo.

For more detailed information (photos, blueprints, and a detailed cost list), check out this post:

         A Bed for Each Child Introduction

November 12              

Please help us however you can and especially by spreading the word.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Welcome to Our Dream

Introducing:  A Bed for Each Child

The Foyer House Expansion @ Kimbondo Orphanage

Kimbondo Orphanage, outside of Kinshasa, was founded in 1990 and currently houses, clothes, feeds, and educates over 800 children.   

Currently, the Foyer House (the unit we are upgrading) consists of two bedrooms (each ~20 square meters) and two bathrooms and is shared by 80 young people, ages 5 – 14.


The Existing Foyer House Floor Plan:

Upper Row--Storage, Volunteer Sleep Room, Bedroom #1, Bedroom #2
Lower Row--Outdoor Pavilion, Kitchen, Shower, Toilets

Three teachers from a local international school, working with a trusted six-year live-in volunteer, have begun the “A Bed for Each Child Project”, to add-on two large bedrooms and bathrooms.  When the new addition is outfitted with long-lasting concrete frame bunk beds and mattresses, each of the 80 children will be able to sleep in his/her own bed.  We are committed to maintaining the current number of occupants in this unit, while doubling its size.

This is the existing Foyer House unit.
The A Bed for Each Child addition will be built on the empty space to the right of the photograph.

One of the two current bedrooms.  Each of the ten bunk bed mattresses sleeps two or three young people with the rest sharing roll-out mattresses on the floor.  As noted, this room generally houses 30-40 kids, ages 5-14.

We have received preliminary blueprints and a detailed estimate of costs for the project from an architect who has faithfully served the orphanage for years.

The new bedrooms and bath are positioned at the bottom right of the blueprint above. A early stages proposed view of the interior is below.

The total cost of the project will run between $25,000 and $30,000, dependent upon local prices at the time materials are purchased.

As examples, we will need
* 400 bags of cement @ $12 each;
* 80 TONS of sand @ $12 a ton!;
* twenty sets of concrete bunk beds @ ~$60 each;
* 80 roof sheets @ $11 each;
* 4 doors @ $145 each;
* paint @ $300;
* 10 paid apprenticeships for Kimbondo residents @ $50 each

The complete costs estimate is here:

The project will also provide labor for 25 people—hugely important in a region wracked by unemployment—and put $4,000 into the pockets of local families. Additionally, ten Kimbondo teens will receive training as brickmakers, painters, and tailors with an eye toward future employment.

The A Bed for Each Child Project will be receiving support from Lantern Projects, which will allow all US-based donations to be tax deductible.  Please click on the Lantern Projects link to donate to our cause.  You can pay via credit card, PayPal, or by sending a check in the mail.

Please continue to visit this blog for updates, photographs, revised blueprints, and more information about the A Bed for Each Child Project.