Sukkah Built by KKSY Puttis

What is a Sukkah

Each year, when the harvest season in the Holy Land is at its end, Jews all over the world will move out of their houses to dwell in makeshift structures for seven days. This happens during the week-long holiday of Sukkot (aka Festival of Booths, aka Festival of Tabernacles). Here is Putti’s chairman Tarphon in his “sukkah”.

Emunah Wanjiko

‘A Mother’s Hug Lasts Longer After She Let Go’

It is with regret PVAO were told that sadly, Emunah Wanjiko passed away last week in Nairobi, Kenya, surrounded by her close family who were with her at the hospital day and night following her stroke.
The funeral of Florence Wanjiku Ngugi (Emmunah) Emunah was an inspiration to all that knew her. She was known fondly as Mama Emunah.
In 2011 she met with various rabbis including rabbi Shlomo Riskin who subsequently officially converted her to Judaism a few years later when she visited the Putti Community in Uganda. During that visit , rabbi Riskin Riskin, and rabbis Ari Greenspan and  Ari Zivotofsky, all travelled from Israel to officiate. Emunah  had studied in a yeshiva in Israel and took her new found religion extremly seriously.

It is not the length of life, but the depth of life

The Late Florence Wanjiku Ngugi (Emmunah) Was born on 24th July, 1949. Daughter of the Late Julius Ngugi Ndugi and Damaris Wambui Ngugi. Sister to Winfred Wangu, Jennifer Njeri, Steven Muiruri, the Late Michael Mwangi, the Catherine Muthoni and the late Janet Wanja. Mother to Martha Wambui, Rickson Ngugi, Winfred Wangu and Lucky Ndugi.

Grandmother to Naomi Wanjiku, Ruth Muthoni, George Chege among others. Great Grandmother to Leah, Shillomit and Hirel.

Having completed her Secretarial Studies, she started working in Nairobi with Ministry of Public Works (1967-1977), worked with Cotton Lint and Marketing Board of Kenya (1967-1977), worked with International Development Research Centre – IDRC (187 to 1990) and finally entered into private practice in 1991.

Her quest for Judaism begun in 1990, and was later accepted by the Nairobi Hebrew Congregation in 1995. As a Kenya Jew, she inspired her family and friends from all walks of life globally, by virtue of creating suitable environment tonsure perpetuation justice, love, care, compassion and kindness. Her walk in Judaism enabled her to transform lives of the less privileged members of her community access quality education through the assistance of benefactors she had established cordial rapport with.

In August 2012, Wanjiku survived a stroke that left her with partial paralysis in her left side. This medical condition did not dampen her zeal to serve; she religiously kept her routine. Her health drastically deteriorated on 1st September 2017. She admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital on 2nd September 2017. She drew her last breathe on Saturday 9th September 2017 while in Hospital.

‘A mother’s hug lasts longer after she let go’

From the eulogy written by Rabbi Greenspan, it is clear what a wonderful inspirational lady she was.
Emunah was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Nairobi. As a mark of respect, thirteen Members of the Ugandan KKSY/Putti orthodox Jewish Community attended.

 

My dearest Emunah. From the moment I met you in a class that I taught in the synagogue in Nairobi, I knew you were special. I can still see you sitting in the front row raising your hand to answer every question I posed. Your devotion to Judaism despite all of the hardships, was extra ordinary. Despite facing bigotry, unfortunately even at the hands of some of our brothers, your devotion to Hashem was apparent. I remember how you came to Israel to have your eye surgery. I had told you to bring a small token gift for the doctors. We were waiting for you for more than an hour and when you finally arrived, you had huge wooden giraffes and a slew of other items. You explained that customs wanted to charge you a lot of money and you just kept arguing with them until they finally gave up!. That tenacity was part of your amazing personality that affected so many people around you. You stayed with us for 3 months and I saw your devout ways. You would learn every day and visit the kotel almost daily. In fact you wanted to come a week early because you had never experienced sukkoth in Israel.
 
You are a beacon of hope for all of us as well as an example of a leader. Your tenacity achieved wonders.   We were enriched by knowing you. It is hard to say goodbye, but we ask forgiveness if in any way we were discourteous to you and ask you be a “maylitz yosher” a person who will intercede in heaven on our behalf and behalf of the enentire Jewish people. 
 
May your memory be a blessing for all of us.
 
Ari

Anyone wishing to donate towards her Headstone, should please contact PVAO. Stone setting date is yet to be arranged.

Visit to Putti

Summing up the  recent visit  to the Putti/KKSY Jewish Community, Ros Eisen said ‘it was an outstanding, simply amazing, visit’, so much was achieved in just a few  short days.
 For the duration of their visit Sjimon den Hollander (PVAO Chairman)  his wife Suzanne, and Ros Eisen (PVAO Secretary), were accompanied by Ekaterina Mitiaev, Head of Impact and Livelihoods for World Jewish Relief (Wjr) a UK based charity.
Ekaterina is in charge of the current agricultural project which, thus far, has exceeded our wildest expectations. Ekaterina held a one day workshop regarding agriculture and the ongoing realistic future for the KKSY Community.
 Both men and women participated, in total 30 KKSY members attended, lunch was provided + lots and lots of input by Ekaterina, who is a dynamic individual. PVAO are lucky to have her ‘on board’. A great exhausting day was had by all.
Sjimon and Ros also very much enjoyed meeting the students at the Joy school and subsequently receiving regular communications from them.
This connection has already earmarked which students might potentially become new Putti/KKSY Leaders. Being able to now put a face to a name makes the world of difference.
Currently, PVAO are in the process of placing their first order for 100 pakcs of Afripads sanitary ware for the women and girls, for them that will be life changing. PVAO are so happy to work closely with the Putti Womens Group (PWG). Now they too have a ‘voice’ in the Community’s affairs.
After our visit, PVAO realize that it would be important to find a qualified local nurse, who could visit the PWG say 3 or 4 times a year. The nurse would give must needed advice, on health, hygiene, birth control, diet and so on. We are looking to find the right person for the job! Hopefully we will be able to do that fairly soon.
Sjimon whilst in Putti  presided over the Shabbat Services. He gave a talk on Judaism followed by  questions and answers, put to him by the Congregation. Those who attended this Service were treated to a wonderful lunch afterwards, where the conversation, about Judaism in particular, continued long into the afternoon.
Sjimon and Suzanne also participated in the Tisha B’Av (the saddest day on the Jewish calendar)evening Service held in the small KKSY synagogue.
The following day was a fast day and sadly, the day PVAO headed back home.
A return visit is planned for next year.

Sanitary Ware in Putti

AFRIPADS

In July, PVAO Members, Sjimon den Hollander (Chairman) and Ros Eisen visited the Jewish KKSY Community in Putti. Ros was approached by a group of ladies who asked if they could speak to her ‘in private’! During this conversation, they told Ros they would really like to have proper sanitary ware as they are currently just using old rags for protection, during their menstruation, since that is all they can afford.

The rags are most unhygienic, difficult to manage and difficult to dispose of.
Apart from that, several women experienced vaginal infections due to not having the facility to wear clean sanitary ware protection.

Ros put her thinking cap on and came up with the perfect solution,
AFRIPADS Menstrual Kits.

AfriPadsThese pads are reusable sanitary pads, designed to provide superior feminine hygiene protection and comfort. The pads themselves are made in Uganda from high-performance textiles and provide effective protection for at least 12+ months (menstrual cycles), they can be withstand up to 70 washes.

Afripads are a perfect cost-effective and eco-friendly solution.
The design itself is an ‘all in one’ pad that buttons securely into a pair of knickers. After use, the pad folds conveniently for easy storage before washing. The pad is ultra-absorbent, natural, discreet and unscented.

Ros looked at various options that are on the market and suggests that the Afripads 4 pack, is the best.
The kit contains 3 pads for a medium flow + 1 pad for a heavy flow. Each kit is wrapped in a blue wrapper, see photo herewith, it is very economical.
The cost for each 4 pad kit is only $4.50 and that price includes delivery to the Putti Community’s nearest big town of Mbale.

In addition to giving them to the women in the Community, Ros met several young girls who are currently attending the local Joy school (education being paid for by PVAO). These girls asked Ros, in a rather embarrassed voice, if they might also be given some safe clean sanitary ware?

Update:

PVAO has raised the $450 in order to place a minimum quantity order with Afripads, buying 100 kits, enough to give one kit to each woman! Thank you to all who donated to make this possible for the women of Putti!

 

 

Joy School in Mbale, Uganda.

Sjimon and Ros meet the students at Joy School

     On Friday morning, July 28th 2017, Sjimon den Hollander (Chairman) together with Ros Eisen(Secretary) of Putti Village Assistance Org. (PVAO) a charity set up to support the Jewish Community in Putti, known as KKSY, set off for a three hour visit to the Joy School in Mbale, Uganda.
     On arrival they were most warmly greeted by Headmaster Richard Oluput.

Mr Richard, Sjimon and Erisha

     Currently, PVAO are funding 20 students who attend and indeed board, at the Joy school. Sjimon and Ros were joined by KKSY Head of Education, Erisha Ziraba, who was himself a former student at Joy. Jonathan Lali from KKSY was also present. 
     Headmaster Mr Richard, showed us a list of all the students under his instruction. One by one he told us about their education, their attitude, their achievements etc.  Each and every student he said, showed willingness to learn and had a good school attendance record, and he is delighted to have them attend his school. The headmaster pointed out that sometimes some of the newer students initially found some difficulty in settling at Joy, but after encouragement from both teachers and older students, they quickly adjusted. to their new surroundings.
     Sjimon particularly discussed Judaism, and Mr Richard was eager to understand more about what being a Jew really means. Apart from the obvious dietary laws, Sjimon spoke about what is expected from a Jewish person, how they should conduct themselves and look after one another, show respect for the older members and the Leaders of KKSY. Sjimon told them that united they (Jews) stand, divided they fall.
     A normal day at school starts at 7am, breakfast is served shortly after, then lessons begin. At 10.40am they stop for a 20minute break, then at 1pm they break for lunch with lessons resuming in the early afternoon. All subjects across the board are taught at Joy, including religious studies. This lesson covers learning about all religions, including Christianity, Islamic and Judaism. The local Mbale Muslim community, send an iman to the school from time to time, to teach his students more about their religion.
    Sjimon and Ros suggested that orthodox members of KKSY should also be invited to the school to talk about Judaism, and Mr Robert thought this was a really good idea and Erisha will organize this new development. One of the teachers at Joy is new convert to Judaism, his name is Were Michael. He is most enthusiastic and willing to work with KKSY and their students. Jewish students do not attend school on Jewish Religious Holidays, nor on Shabbat.
     In conversation, Mr Robert particularly mentioned two students, the first being a young man who is particularly good at football/soccer. He was picked to participate in the school football team. The team won all their matches and as such, were presented with a check made payable to the Joy school, (see photo). It’s hoped this boy use his particular skills later in life,  possibly training as a fitness instructor, a sports teacher, or even as a physical therapist. It was pointed out there is much need for physical therapists at the local clinics and hospitals. Another Joy student,  is excelling in science as well as mainstream subjects. It is hoped that she will go on to study medicine and ultimately become a doctor. 
     At between 17-20 years of age, students must select three subjects in which to specialize. Mr. Richard agreed to help them choose subjects that will ensure, after qualification, they will be able to get good jobs enabling them earn a respectable salary. PVAO/KKSY explained that we want our students to concentrate on jobs that will keep them living within the Putti KKSY village, or, at least be able to remain living and working in the nearby important town of Mbale. After talking on a ‘one to one’ with Mr Richard, Sjimon and Ros were invited to meet the students, 20 in total were present, some of these students had already left Joy and gone on to study their chosen subjects at a senior level. The students had gathered in a classroom where they had beautifully decorated the large blackboard with a Jewish symbolic theme.  They wrote in big letters, we welcome PVAO! (see photo)
     Out of the 20 students present, only 4 were girls but it must be said, these girls are doing brilliantly and they especially thanked PVAO from the bottom of their hearts, for giving them the opportunity to have a worthwhile education. Without an education, the girls would be expected to marry have children, cook and clean. Now these girls can decide their own future.
     A general question and answer period took place in the classroom. All the students introduced themselves and were eager to ask questions. Sjimon gave a talk about what it means to be a Jew. Ros told the students that they needed to learn a lot, study hard, get good jobs and earn money to enable them to take charge of their own future. They should not continuously rely on charity and ask for hand outs. The students should be proud of their family members who had recently worked on the successful agriculture project in KKSY.
     Ros initiated a competition… this competition has a first prize of $50. She said that students needed to become communicators with PVAO. They should regularly give us updates on their studies or whatever they felt was news worthy? She promised them that the best communications would be used on the www.puttivillage.org website. The competition would be judged at the end of December. The students were all eager to participate, especially with such a big prize at stake.
    Finally, an opportunity for photos to be taken both inside and outside the school. Sjimon and Ros bid the students good bye and Shabbat Shalom
PVAO now needs to raise funds to send even more students to Joy school. All donations welcome.
Readers can donate either online (see link below) or send a check directly to PVAO c/o Sjimon den Hollander in NY USA. All donors will receive an official receipt.
*PVAO guarantee that ALL funds received will go towards the Education Project. No admin charges will be deducted



 

Dental Care and Putti

Dental Relief for Putti

Dental care within the KKSY Putti Community has always been an enormous problem. There are no affordable local dentists in this region. A few

Sjimon den Hollander and David Abramovitch

days ago, Sjimon den Hollander (Chairman) and Ros Eisen (Secretary) both representing the PVAO Charity www.puttivillage.org, by chance, met up with David Abramovitch, who had two dentist colleagues traveling with him. They were here to treat Jewish Community members located in and around the Mbale region of Uganda. David visits this region about three times a year, but thus far, he did not manage to treat any KKSY/Putti patients, due to the location and transport difficulties.

Sjimon and Ros set about asking the Puttis if anyone had dental problems – the answer was yes, in fact two students had been experiencing really bad dental pain for quite some time. Sjimon and Ros arranged for the KKSY Puttis, including the two students, to be sent, together with another vehicle load of Puttis, to David’s clinic. They were accompanied by Jonathan Lali who is in charge of working with PVAO with the aim of helping them to receive medical treatment.
The PVAO driver set off at 7:00am to ensure the patients could arrived at the Dental Clinic first. Unfortunately, David had to unexpectedly return to the US, due to his own medical problems. However, the other two American dentists remained. They were joined by two local dentists, who had, we believe, also volunteered their time and services. The dentists saw all of the KKSY/ Putti patients. One of whom needed an extraction, and the others who all had less severe problems, mainly cavities and were treated accordingly. If patients were prescribed post treatment medication, (painkillers and antibiotics, for example), PVAO arranged for the drugs to be purchased at a local pharmacy and given to the patients. It is now hoped that when David and his Team, who were treating up to 70 patients a day, return to Uganda, PVAO will arrange for some more of the KKSY Putti members to get dental treatment.
The Puttis seem to have no knowledge of dental hygiene whatsoever, meaning, if they have untreated gum disease or tooth decay, it is  likely to lead to much more dangerous symptoms. PVAO are aiming to raise more money to help our Medical Program which covers dental care. We need to raise $400
*If you can help and would like to donate to this worthy cause, please click the link below. You can alternatively post a check directly to Sjimon den Hollander, Chairman PVAO. An official receipt will follow shortly. PVAO is a USA Registered Charity
*Important to note, PVAO sends your donation in full to the KKSY Putti Community, they do not deduct any admin charges.



First Ever Bumper Crop!

This year is the first ever bumper crop, commercially produced by the people in our village.

Due to the relationship built over the last few years between Ros Eisen, London based Secretary of USA registered charity Putti Village Assistance Org (PVAO), and World Jewish Relief. Wjr made a decision to initiate an agriculture Project with the orthodox Kahal Kadosh Sh’erit Yisrael (KKSY) Community in Putti Village.  Previously, Wjr limited involvement was to provide funds to support the KKSY Puttis during severe famine times. This year, Wjr took the view that they did not want to only help in times of crisis but instead, wanted to take the opportunity of helping them to become self sufficient, thereby changing the Puttis lives forever.
The plan unfolded in such a way that PVAO bought up local agricultural land, in and around the Putti village. Wjr worked out how many villagers would be needed to work on the land. They (Wjr), then set about, with the help of Ros Eisen, engaging a local Ugandan agronomist to train those involved. It was decided that initially they should grow 4 different crops. The crops selected were not mainstream, therefore could command a higher price at the point of sale. The first crops were planted in February. Now ready for picking are the water-melons, soon after onions, peppers and tomatoes will follow. They will be sold to shop-keepers located in the nearby big trading town of Mbale. Hotels and restaurants in the area, have also shown a keen interest in buying from the Puttis!
All those involved in working the land will each be given a small salary, a proportion of the profits made. This figure will depend on the amount of hours each man or woman, has worked. Wjr, together with their Rwandan based agronomist, visited Putti in April, they where delighted to find how enthusiastic the villagers were about starting this new farming business, so much so, that they have made a commitment to continue working hand in hand with both PVAO and KKSY Puttis, for at least another year.
 Ros and Wjr are planning to go back to Putti in July to see how the sales are doing and to decide what crops need to be planted next.

Update:

We are proud to be featured in the Jewish Chronicle Newspaper UK publication!

World Jewish Relief Visit’s Putti

A First Commercial Agriculture Project for Putti

Much of the land recently bought by PVAO, with self sufficiency for Putti in mind, is now being used for farming and growing of crops, and they have help! In January of this year, the WJR, a charity out of the UK, set up and started funding an agriculture project to help the people of Putti. Last week they visited Putti in order to see how much progress has been made on the project.

Kahal Kadosh She’rit Yisrael, working with World Jewish Relief

World Jewish Relief Agriculture ProjectThis is a first commercial agriculture project for Putti, and is being run by the KKSY (Kahal Kadosh She’rit Yisrael) members. The workers have been divided up into teams. A Trainer heads up each team, and with hard working trainers such as Daniel and Fred, these they are succeeding! Each worker will receive a fair reward for their hard work. 
Currently, they are growing 4 different crops, including onions and water melons. When the crops are ready for harvesting, in a few months time, they will then be sold for profit, to local shops, hotels and other villages. The profits will be divided up to pay for more crops to be planted and to pay the workers a % of the profit they make! 
During the current planting season and the next, they are being taught about agriculture by a local professional agronomist, who are helping to over-see this wonderful project. 
World Jewish Relief Agriculture Project
Over the last five or so years, due to the relationship between Ros Eisen, the PVAO London based Member of the charity and World Jewish Relief, Wjr took the major decision to actually work on a Project with Putti/KKSY, rather than just stepping in with emergency support, as and when.  Previously, Wjr had sent funds to Putti on a few occasions when there was either a famine crisis or, a severe drought. 
PVAO are hoping that Wjr will continue to support Putti for years to comeThe aim of both PVAO and Wjr is that this Orthodox Jewish Community, located near the big town of Mbale in Uganda, will eventually become self sufficient.

Phones for Putti

We are looking for 2 smart phones for the community of Putti.

Cell Phones for PuttiWe are looking for phones or donations toward phones for the community of Putti. The women of Putti are wanting to start community groups, and steady internet access is hard to come by. Having smart phones on hand will greatly aid in these groups in several ways. They will allow the women who can not read or write english and do not have steady internet access to communicate by leaving voice notes, as well as being able to communicate to each other as often their nearest neighbors are very far apart. Communication with PVAO, their main source of fund-raising, is also a great necessity that having phones could make much easier. They could send us much needed regular messages on what is going on within their village and what is happening with all the projects we are working on for Putti. In addition, they would be able to send us up to the minute photos of building works, harvest planting etc. We would also be able to monitor and support each student that we support more closely if we could easily communicate with them. Currently, the nearest internet facility is some 45mins away by car.  That facility charges for internet use, so for most Puttis just getting there is  a big problem, let alone paying internet costs which is not within their means.

Communication makes life easier!

By having phones, their lives would be made that much easier and they and PVAO could keep in much closer regular contact. Phones that have a camera facility would be even better!!! For instance, if a child or adult, developed a skin rash, they could send us a photo of the rash, then by forwarding this photo on to a doctor he or she, would look at the rash, then diagnose proper treatment. Also say whether or not it is contagious. If a Putti building suffered damage due to adverse weather, very common in this part of Uganda,  by sending us a photo PVAO we would know and advise on repairs, and fund raise to fund the repairs etc. Photos they take could also be used to update our PVAO/Putti website readers.

Can you help?

OUR AIM IS TO HAVE TEN PHONES at least 5 of which should have a camera facility. Donate today and help ease the communication barrier for the people of Putti. Do you have a phone you can donate? Contact us today for more details on how to donate your phone.

Happy Hannukka

We want to say thank you, dear PVAO supporters!!!

Happy Hannukka from Putti Village

Photo by Laura Di Castro Photography

This year, thanks to your support, PVAO was able to help the people of Putti on many levels:

Thanks to you, people with medical emergencies could get treatment.

Thanks to you, the people from Putti received dental care.

Thanks to you, children attended High School and several students could attend college or learn a trade.

Thanks to you, we built a Shabbat Sleepover House where visitors are welcome to stay over on Shabbat and other religious Holidays.

Thanks to you, a family’s home was repaired.
Thanks to you, the water supply to the village was restored.
Thanks to you, the people from Putti improved their food supply.
Because of your support, the community of Putti knows they are not alone….!

GOOD NEWS about the Galandi Family’s Home

Putti Village Damaged Roof

Because of several generous donations, the Galandi family’s home, which was destroyed in a storm has reportedly been rebuilt!!!
On behalf of Moshe Galandi and his family, thank you very much to all the donors!

We hope to provide a photo of the restored house in our next Newsletter…!

UPCOMING EVENT

For those of you living in the Netherlands (or Belgium), our chairman, Sjimon den Hollander will give a lecture on PVAO, the history of the Putti community, and our ongoing projects on: Sunday, January 8 2017 at 14:00 (2PM)

The address of the event is:

Pastoral Center “De Ark”
Olijfgaarde 12
3343 DE Hendrik‐Ido‐Ambacht

WAYS TO SUPPORT PUTTI VILLAGE

  • Amazon Smile
    • If you shop at Amazon, there is a wonderful way to support Putti without any extra costs! First register Putti Village Assistance Organization as your charity of choice, using this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/26‐1253778
      Then, each time you shop with Amazon, log into Amazon Smile (https://smile.amazon.com) When you shop, Amazon will allocate a small percentage of the money you spend to PVAO!!!
  • Sponsor a Student
    • sponsor a studentProviding education to a student is no less than giving him/her a future. You can sponsor a High School student for only $45 a month.
      To sponsor a College student is $175 a month
  • Buy a PVAO Calendar
    • You can order our beautiful calendars by contacting Heather at: heather@chasenw.com. Calendars are $15 each (excluding shipping outside the USA)
  • Have a PVAO event in your Community
    • Ask if your synagogue is interested in doing a fundraiser for Putti, PVAO could organize an informative slideshow lecture, with a live performance featuring Rachman Nachman from the Jewish community of Uganda and great musicians!
      Your community would have an unforgettable evening!!!
      Email Sjimon den Hollander at: Sjimon@flatironre.com
  • Make A Donation
    • You can send a check to: Putti Village Assistance Org. 21 East 22nd Street, 12G New York, NY 10010
  • Become Involved
    • PVAO is looking for capable volunteers who want to be on board.
      Specifically we need someone who would be willing to oversee our EDUCATIONAL projects. We expect that this would constitute about one to two hours of your time per week, on average.

    putti students

    In Short…….

    Putti Village Assistance Org (PVAO) thanks you for your support.

    PVAO wants to say a big thank you for helping us, to help the Putti Jewish Community (KKSY) in Uganda.

    Because of people like you, our charity has been able to offer the Puttians, clean, fresh running water, education at all levels, much needed medical and dental aid and other essentials such as funds to repair damaged homes. This year we built a Shabbat Sleepover House where visitors are welcome to stay over on Shabbat and other religious Holidays.

    None of our achievements would have been possible without you!!!

    Tarphon Kamya and Erisha ZirabaPVAO would also like to thank all the Putti Leaders, giving a special mention to Tarphon Kamya (Chairman) and Erisha Ziraba, for their tireless contribution to their Community.

    Happy Hanukka to one and all

    Happy Hanukka to one and all

    From
    Sjimon den Hollander, PVAO Chairman
    Ros Eisen, Secretary and U.K. representative

    Sjimon den Hollander and Ros Eisen