Organization

Sodzo International is a faith-inspired, evidence-driven 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to advance the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable children.

The Global Problem

There are a variety of converging and catastrophic events that force a child to leave home to live on the streets. In speaking with the children, we found they have experienced everything from physical and sexual violence, to being kicked out of their homes after a parent has decided there are too many children under one roof, or to being orphaned after HIV/AIDS took the life of a loved one. As children are driven to the streets, the closest thing to family they can find is a group centered substance abuse, violence, and a shared despair from the lack of a brighter future.

Logos Communities (now Sodzo International) was established as an independent non-profit entity in 2008, with a mission to establish partnerships with communities around the world for mutual benefit. Between its inception and January 1, 2015, Logos Communities provided funds for tertiary education to over 50 students in Nicaragua and Malawi, in addition to installing 3 clean water wells, and funding research on orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya. On January 1, 2015, Logos Communities officially changed its legal name to Sodzo International.

Sodzo International seeks to address the problems facing children living on the streets in three phases: Rescue, Restoration, and Reintegration.

Rescue

The Problem

Imagine a child of 8 years old, expelled from home by a violent parent. Then, imagine this child living, sleeping, eating, and working as a porter on the street instead of going to school, laughing around the family dinner table, or playing soccer with friends. Finally, imagine a child sniffing glue-inhalents from an old water bottle to dull their senses and numb the pain of hunger, depression, and isolation. This is the reality for over 100 million children in our global community, and data about these children who are living on the street is virtually nonexistent.

Globally, there are millions of children living on the street without care and supervision from a parent or guardian.
The causes of this phenomenon are varied, but are often related to domestic, economic, or social disruption; including, but not limited to, poverty, breakdown of homes and/or families, political unrest, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and sexual orientation or gender identity issues.

The Watoto wa Ahadi rescue center began as a dream in the mind of Stanley Gitari, coordinator of the Community Health Department at Maua Methodist Hospital. Mr. Gitari approached Michael Goodman in 2012, inviting him to help study and respond to the problem of children living on the streets of Maua and surrounding towns. Together, Mr. Gitari and Dr. Goodman planned research which was conducted in summer 2013 by medical students from the United States and nursing students from Kenya. This first round of study included input from the children themselves as well as community partners who might assist in addressing the problem.

Image of a farm building

The Methodist Church of Kenya entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Sodzo International to appropriate a 73-acre farm with arable land, multiple existing structures (currently being renovated). The farm is in Giika, north of Maua, located in Meru County. The farm, Watoto wa Ahadi (Swahili for Children of Promise), will be used for the sole purpose of providing a safe place of rescue, restoration, and reintegration for the children and youth who are leaving life on the streets and entering the Sodzo program.

Watoto wa Ahadi in Maua Kenya is ready to welcome the first cohort to the farm in the coming days.  This the culmination of well over a year of hard work for our partners in leading and working towards providing a safe place to become for each child arriving.  The Maua based staff has been actively involved in identifying the cohort to arrive. The tentative arrangement is for about 30 kids to arrive next week -  April 24th -30th.  The vast majority of the children were living on the streets of Meru County.  

While the staff is ecstatic the program is about to begin, all involved know there will be much hard work and prayerful discernment required to guide each child through each stage of recovery to living the life God wishes for each person.  

The Sodzo Group would like to thank each of our partners, donors and staff for getting us to where we are today. 

You can read more about this in our blog post Nearing the End With a New Beginning.

Friends of Sodzo!

Because of your generosity, 33 children who knew the streets as home now have a safe place to lay their heads. On Saturday, April 23, children from towns around the Nyambene Synod in Meru County, Kenya moved to a new home - the Watoto wa Ahadi (Children of Promise) Rescue Center. They will live here for one to two years, becoming prepared to reintegrate with families - biologically related or Good Samaritans from the community. While they have only lived on the farm for a bit over a week, the children are eager to begin school and learn livelihood skills.