For more than 10 years, Westminster has supported the work of the United Orphanage and Academy (UOA) in Moi’s Bridge, Kenya. Since its founding, the Orphanage has been primarily supported by Westminster, Old Presbyterian Meeting House (Alexandria), and Lewinsville Presbyterian Church (McLean, VA).
The United Orphanage & Academy was founded in 2001 under the leadership of the Rev. Stephen N. Chege, a Presbyterian Church of East Africa pastor, who is its Director, and Henri Rush of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Virginia. The facility opened in 2004 as a home for six children. There are currently 52 children and youth living at the orphanage.
In 2006, the Academy began offering classes for the children at the Orphanage and the local community. Unlike class sizes in the local public schools which can be up to 110 students per teacher, class size at the Academy is limited to approximately 25-40. Starting in 2011, the Academy offers a full complement of primary school classes from pre-primary through grade 8 for nearly 200 students, including 35 children from the Orphanage and 50 scholarship students from the local community. In 2012 the first two of our orphans graduated from secondary school and will be attending nursing and teacher college; in 2013, three of the young women from the orphanage graduated from secondary school.
United Orphanage and Academy in Moi’s Bridge is located in Kenya’s Rift Valley, about 225 miles northwest of Nairobi. We have built dormitories, sanitation facilities, a dining hall, kitchen, office and storage space, and a water well. We provided funds to connect to the Kenya electric grid, purchased a 14 passenger van, and in 2011 completed construction of the new 3-story Academy building, which includes 8 classrooms, a library and offices. It costs about $65,000 per year to operate both the orphanage and academy. $1,025 ($85 per month) maintains one child at the orphanage, including clothing, food, medical care, housing, supplies, staff salaries and education. The Committee has begun planning for Westminster’s participation in a trip to visit UOA in summer of 2014.