I know you have anticipated my newsletter for a while. I wish to explain in a disclosure, circumstances that have led to the delay in my writing – please pray with us as you read.
Around Nov. 2015 a donor by the name of Bishop Connor of Tender Life Ministries (http://www.tenderlifeministries.com) approached us, “after learning about [our] wonderful ministry with orphans and poor children” and “having been in Kenya and witnessed the needs of children in the country,” wished to join with us in a partnership. The immediate role required of us was to assist Pastor Leonard Cheruiot Mutai with a portion of the donated funds for an orphans’ feeding program in Kajiado. After the usual exchange of documents and our CAA covenant of collaboration. Bishop Connor and his friends commenced donations through Child Aid Africa website. To our amazement, his donations kept flowing in batches of 4 every two weeks through our website, until December aggregating to a$7,500 cap. Around the same time, I travelled to Kenya beginning Nov. 19, 2015 and to stay until March 2016.
The shocking news: Early in January this year, I received news from Frontstream that the donations had been fraudulent and that chargebacks equal to the credited funds plus penalties would be commenced immediately. Without any other information, Frontstream began to draw every available and incoming dollar from our Child Aid Africa account. This revelation served a debilitating blow on us to say the least. The problem was further compounded by the urgent need to re-populate our account to cater for the large chargebacks. Understandably, we could not dare approach our donors at this early stage or seek assistance. Child Aid Africa had been placed in an unprecedented dilemma, never envisaged in our 10 years of existence (NB: 2015 was to be our 10th year anniversary celebration).
It is due to this matter in part, that my communication with our donors has been delayed. Since my arrival from Kenya, I have met with the Dauphin county police department and also held meetings with PNC bank management here in Hershey about the matter. We are happy that the bank management has taken our case seriously to assist in recovering the funds from Denarionline and Frontstream. We have also opened a new Child Aid Africa account[i] with the bank. The matter is being investigated by the local Dauphin County police department and the Interpol department in Nairobi (this is due to an indication of collusion in the fraud with a local pastor in Narok).
Following this unfortunate incident, Child Aid Africa has determined to implement the following urgent measures:
- All future online donations will be channeled through e-giving NCS and the PNC bank provided merchant services at our website; our donors should therefore cancel all current Denarionline sponsorships and setup a new e-giving account for one time or regular donations.
- As you may have noticed, Denarionline and Frontstream ceased to process Child Aid Africa donations from the end of February 2016). Therefore, we are requesting our donors to repost via e-giving, bank or personal checks any accrued arrears that may have failed to reach our bank account.
I welcome any questions you may have at this time. However, I shall endeavor to address some of the more critical issues here-under:
How has Child Aid Africa coped?
Immediately after learning that we had fallen victim to fraud, and knowing that we already had dwindling funds, we immediately wrote to the school principals to inform about the inevitable interruption of our scholarship program. We further advised the principals to team up with us in seeking immediate support from the emergent large education support agencies such as, “Wings to Fly” of the equity bank and the Family bank. We also approached other local agencies - for assistance with 17 of our most desperate cases but received no assistance.
What is the immediate strategy?
For the last two years, we have been discussing a possible collaboration between Child Aid Africa, Etown College Social Enterprise Institute, and Daystar University (Daystar University was birthed by Messiah College also offered MC diplomas for a long time) to set up a Child Aid Africa Social Enterprise Fund to support education for the poor youth in Kenya. The Pay It Forward Fund (PIF) fund will be administered by Child Aid Africa in conjunction with Daystar University and the Etown College Social Enterprise Institute. We are excited to announce that we have just finished a weekend long meeting between the representatives of the three agencies hosted by the Etown SEI director Dr. Jim Reeb. We are tremendously excited about the potential impact in our program and the future of this partnership.
What is the CAA’s most urgent need?
Recent events have inevitably left Child Aid Africa destabilized and at the verge of a closedown. i) We are in urgent need of funds to cover school fees for the 17 students affected by the incident – estimated amount $24,000. ii) Regarding the new collaborative Pay It Forward Program, we need a start-up support (estimated @ $16,000) to cover the initial six months. The support will assist to establish the program at Etown College and at the Daystar University.
Our Vision: Through the PIF project, our regular sponsorship program will evolve strong to support thousands of orphaned and disenfranchised children that so desperately need education support. We are determined to fully employ the Impact Investment Conception in our new direction as a measure to establish Child Aid Africa as an economically viable agency in the immediate future.
Please give your donation to assist CAA to recover. Click Here
[i] Available on request, are bank letters of demand to Frontstream as a demonstration of the banks effort to assist us recover the lost funds.