[an introduction to the good work being done]
The service work of the TOS in our country has been part and parcel of the life of the Theosophical Society since 1965. For example each year on November 17, we celebrate the foundation of the TS in 1875 by delivering large quantities of foodstuffs, stationery and medicines to charitable establishments in Nairobi that look after the impoverished elderly, orphans, HIV/AIDS infected children and others.
Meet the TOS workers in Kenya
Other significant TOS events take place on Founders’ Day. When the TOS celebrated its worldwide centenary in 2008, the Kenyan government issued a stamp in recognition of our hundred years of service. The TOS Centennial postage stamp was officially launched by the Minister for Gender and Children's Affairs at a packed event held at the TS premises in Nairobi. The Minister and the Postmaster General planted a TOS centennial tree. TOS National Directors around the world received complimentary first day covers of the stamp.
Following the centenary, we decided to support the Corporate Social Responsibility programme of the Postal Corporation of Kenya. The TOS donated to its Water Project which helps bring water to communities in the arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya. The TOS in Nairobi tries to ensure that its work embraces all the kingdoms of nature so this work in the area of the environment was particularly welcomed by its members.
In pursuance of our work with the environment, we recently put in a borehole, water pump and storage tank for the villagers of Kitui, 130 kms east of Nairobi, helping them out with food supplies for many months until access to water enabled them to plant their own crops. We also provided 20 orange trees, 20 mango trees and 20 avocado trees along with ten indigenous trees. In collaboration with the Karuna Charitable Trust, we donated a solar lamp to each of the 55 families of Kitui. In this project, we received the support of TOS groups around the world and are very happy with the brotherly links formed.
Elsewhere, we participate in tree planting exercises as part of forest conservation projects. For example, we visited the High Ridge Primary School in Parklands to talk to the children about the essential role trees play in the life of the planet and the responsibility of every human being to plant trees and take care of them. A tree planting ceremony took place with pupils from all fourteen classes. Guest of honour Mary Anderson from the United Kingdom, TS officers and TOS committee members planted 26 trees. Each class was given its own special tree and asked to be responsible for taking care of it. The circle in which the trees were planted was named The Theosophical Garden.
The TOS in Kenya has a long tradition of giving various kinds of support to animal welfare organisations such as the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals and the Daphne Sheldrick Home, a refuge for orphaned baby elephants. Members believe strongly in the Unity of all that exists!
Service work here is quite varied. It can take the form of a long term commitment such as the educational sponsorships we have been providing to students at the Starehe Boys Centre since the 1970s. It can take the form of a one-time activity such as the Christmas party we put on for the children in the cancer ward at the Kenyatta Hospital. The children had such fun – and so did we! - with the acrobats who came in, with the games, gifts, face painting and the ‘high tea’ of healthy treats lovingly prepared by one of our members and her family. We also distributed teddy bears knitted by TOS members and friends in Italy. Eighteen months later, we did a similar thing for the 88 children of the local nursery school in Kitui.
Sometimes small groups of needy women come to the TS premises for skills training enabling them to add to the family income. They have been shown how to make cow dung cakes to use as fuel, instead of coal. (The fuel cakes are easy and cheap to make, are environmentally friendly and can be sold with a very reasonable profit margin.) The ladies have also been taught to make dairy products: butter, ghee (clarified butter), yoghurt, cottage cheese lassi (a cooling yoghurt drink) and paneer (a kind of cheese). Ways to make, pack and sell the products were also mentioned. One day soon they will return to learn the making of samosas and chapattis, as well as art and craft work. TOS Kenya is delighted to be able to assist these women to make extra money for themselves and their families.
If you would like to visit us and see the work we do, you would be most welcome. If you would like to support a project that seems worthy, please contact us. Our principal desire in the TOS is to provide an opportunity to participate in activities that promote the first Object of the Theosophical Society: To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, class or color.
We would love you to join us.
Mrs Usha Shah
P.O. Box 45928
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