Rusinga Island, Kenya

About Rusinga Island Children's Fund

Jacqueline serves food to the children - Rusinga Island Children


Rusinga Island is located in western Kenya, on Lake Victoria, in eastern Africa, and it is one of the few places in the world most heavily affected by the AIDS virus, by malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and many other illnesses. Dire poverty means that there is little money for food or for medical care, especially for the many children orphaned or partially orphaned by AIDS. There are no orphanages for these children.


The children who benefit are often physically challenged and disabled and many of them are full or partial orphans. Those who have a parent or guardian are destitute and unable to pay for school fees.


Children who are already in school are sent home "for lunch" but most have nothing to eat there. The Feeding Program provides a hearty porridge before school and a simple lunch, which is often all the children get to each that day. At the Feeding Program, children are also checked for medical needs

A child in a boaring school for the blind, for example, is given adequate food and medical care, whereas they would otherwise stay at home, often with little food or medical care at all. Education is said to be "free" in Kenya, yet the fees required for students for primary and secondary/high school are beyond the hopes and dreams of even the hardest working families. A child has no opportunity to move beyond the terrible poverty except through education. A disabled child has no chance at all.

There is hope! You can help to rescue a child in need.

Rusinga Island Children's Fund is a 501(c)(3) of the federal income tax code.

David and Rebecca Rowson
The purpose of this fund is to give the neediest children on Rusinga Island an opportunity to have adequate food and medical care and to attend school.

Who We Are

Rebecca and David Rowson - returned US Peace Corps volunteers, on Rusinga Island a full year as full time teachers. We are committed to the children of Rusinga Island. We pay the school fees directly to the school under a particular child's name.

How To Help a Child in Need

You may wish to sponsor a child for a full year of school, or you may give any amount toward that goal. Your gift of any amount helps to rescue a child in need.

Example School Fees for Entire Year (fees include food; uniforms, shoes etc are extra)

  1. Lambwe Christian School for the Deaf: 11,000 KSH = approx. $126
  2. Kibos School for the Blind: 15,000 KSH = approx.. $150
  3. Joyland School for the Physically Challenged, Kisumu (high school) : 45,000 KSH = approx. $450. There are still more children who dream of going to this high school but have no money to go.


What we know about Rusinga Island, Kenya.

  • High rates of disease - AIDS, TB, Malaria, Typhoid
  • The funeral business is perhaps the largest business on the Island
  • Women and children are especially vulnerable
  • Women have low status
  • Education for girls is considered a waste of money by many
  • High mortality rate among children
  • Many fishermen on Lake Victoria are HIV positive
  • Women often must exchange sex for fish from fishermen to feed their children

What do people here do?

  • Live mostly in mud houses with tin roofs
  • Do subsistence farming, even though rains are not reliable. Very few jobs are available.
  • The Kenyan government does not support children with enough funds to go to school. Parents must pay school fees as well. Children go for weeks or months, even years, without attending school.
  • People have many children, since there is no social security, and because so many children die in the early years.
  • Even the smallest children are often working to try to get enough food or to help support sick parent(s) and large families. A child may even be head of household.

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