An eco-friendly, self-sustaining community in Kenya that brings together orphans and elderly affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the topic of two free public presentations at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The Nyumbani Village is the focus of a panel discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. in Room 120 of the Trainer Natural Resources Building. Presenter Sister Mary Owens, village director, will be joined by several UW-Stevens Point students who visited the village as part of a course taught by Holly Petrillo, associate professor of forestry. “Sustainable Natural Resources and Community Development in Kenya” is offered through International Programs each year. They will share the village’s current permaculture and sustainability projects and talk about how those in attendance can get involved.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Owens will give a talk at 7 p.m. in the Laird Room of the Dreyfus University Center. She will discuss her experiences at the village as well as those as the leader of the Children of God Relief Institute, which serves more than 4,000 orphans in Kenya.
The Nyumbani Village, operated by the Children of God Relief Institute, is home to approximately 1,000 orphans and 100 elders who act as honorary grandparents. Other Stevens Point connections to the village include John and Patty Noel, who are strong supporters; and Nicholas Syano, a 2008 UW-Stevens Point natural resources alumnus and native of Kenya. Syano works as the village’s on-site program manager with a focus on sustainable agriculture.
The events are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greater Portage County, Noel Group, Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya, Travel Guard, Trees 4 Children, Make a Mark and UW-Stevens Point.