Jason Souza

Vets build home and school for orphans in Kenya

May 29, 2018 - 5:23 pm
Categories: 

Former Army Reserve Lt Col Jason Souza says “these kids make you want to go the extra mile.” He’s referring to a group of roughly 30 kids in the small settlement of Archers Post in Kenya. He and 10 other former Explosive Ordinance Device Techs met the kids while working in the area teaching Kenyan Defense Forces how to disarm explosive devices.

Souza, first noticed the kids walking 10 miles a day to and from school without shoes, on ground he describes as hot, rocky, and full of thorns. Souza and the others wanted to do something so they encouraged friends and family back home in Fredericksburg, VA  to send shoes to them in the African country. The response was overwhelming and they collected over 600 pairs of shoes. The effort quickly expanded into a partnership with the Mama Wichiras Children’s Home, which was operating out of a dilapidated and crowded compound. Already obtaining everything from mosquito nets, to an acre of land, to 30 chickens, the group of veterans soon took on the task of building a new school and dormitories for the children.

 

Jason Souza

“We have been to many other countries, but there was something about this children’s home that touched our team members [and] made them want to support the home with money, and more importantly, time and themselves,” says Souza.

While stationed there the veterans spent their days working with the Kenyan Defense Forces and their time off working on the project. A Go Fund Me account has been set up and while they’ve raised over $40,000.

“We set out to make a real change to these kids’ lives. They don’t ask for much and always have a huge smile on their face,” adds Souza.

Now Souza and his team are teaming up with the Samburu Project to ensure access to clean water for the area. 

 

Jason Souza

 

 "The average age is 11 to 13 years old when the girls start going for water and they walk approximately 7 to 10 miles to any water hole and that water may or may not be clean. Each water bucket, you are looking at a 65 pound lift " Souza told Connecting Vets Morning Brief. 

Souza is organizing a Walk for Water in his hometown of Fredricksburg, VA on June 30th he is hoping not only will this raise money for the Samburu community but awareness of just how well we have it here in the U.S. As someone who traveled to several countries while in the military and even more as a contractor he's learned the importance of projects like this.  

"You really want to have a positive impact on wherever you are going because that is what a lot of these kids see and that is the future of any culture you go to. If they see us as Americans going over there doing all the negative stuff that is the impression they have.  If they see us as Americans going over there and giving them stuff, and playing with them, and helping them; they see a friendly American face and it changes the whole dynamic of what an American is," points out Souza.  

For more information check out: 

The Samburu Project EOD Vets Partnership with Mama Wachiras Children's Home

 

Contact us about this article or share your story at [email protected]