Click on photo to enlarge.
Growing Community Roots was established in support of the great community development work that Sister Rosita Aranita CSJ has done – identifying and educating others about the critical needs of Southwest Kenya where 8 out of 10 live in poverty.
Southwest Kenya, specifically West Karachuonyo, was chosen because of Sister Rosita’s initial contact with a Kenyan student (David Opap) at Northwestern University who had a pending project in Adiedo, Kenya. Sister Rosita traveled with David for two weeks to Adiedo to meet the village leaders and learn more about the culture before he returned home to St. Paul.
Sister Rosita stayed with the Franciscans of St. Joseph for five months to meet the people, the tribal leaders, and parish leaders with the help of Father Gregory Ombok. During this time Sister Rosita met with the local leaders to identify the most pressing needs of their communities. Together they identified 36 schools in West Karachuonyo of the Rachuonyo District, all of them in need of water and sanitation.
Two consociates of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province, Anita S. Duckor and Anne Hannahan, along with Sister Irene O’Neill, CSJ, went to West Kenya to see first-hand the work that Sister Rosita had started and nurtured.
Mary Lieta, a CSJ Consociate in Kenya, guided the three to the poverty-stricken areas – the schools, communities and houses without basic infrastructure of water and sanitation. The visitors also met community leaders and school principals of the IMBO Community Action Program, a certified NGO (non-governmental organization) in Kenya that is a partner of Growing Community Roots in West Kenya.
After seeing first-hand the incredible needs of the schools, Ms. Duckor and Mrs. Hannahan returned home and began the process of establishing a nonprofit to raise funds for safe water and sanitation. Growing Community Roots was established and received its nonprofit status in 2014.
*Growing Community Roots is not a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet, but is associated with individual members of laity-led organizations (associates, consociates, La Famila DeJose, and Ohana), which are related by the charism of the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ); – Moving always towards profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.