April 16, 2003 - Herkimer Evening Telegram: Kenya RPCV Yvonne Taylor founded One Heart with Africa

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: April 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: April 16, 2003 - Herkimer Evening Telegram: Kenya RPCV Yvonne Taylor founded One Heart with Africa

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 12:11 pm: Edit Post

Kenya RPCV Yvonne Taylor founded One Heart with Africa

Caption: Former Middleville resident Yvonne Taylor, founder and CEO of One Heart with Africa Inc., is helping organize a fund-raiser for the organization, "A Taste of Africa," which will be held May 6 from 7-10 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Utica. Funds raised will go toward water projects and school supplies to aid people in Kenya. Featured will be a slide show depicting the organization's projects, Kenyan arts and crafts, and Taylor's husband John Kiwa performing Kikamba country music and Kiswahili classics. Telegram photo/Joe Parmon

Read and comment on this story from the Herkimer Evening Telegram on Kenya RPCV Yvonne Taylor who founded One Heart with Africa. Taylor assists villages in undertaking projects designed to ensure an adequate water supply, while also helping secure funding for the purchase of desperately-needed school supplies for the children. Read the story at:

Middleville native's organization seeks to help Kenyans improve their lives*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Middleville native's organization seeks to help Kenyans improve their lives

By JOE PARMON-Telegram Staff Writer

UTICA - Helping other people has been a mission for Yvonne Taylor even before she earned her Ph.D and went on to a career in medical research as a staff member at a pair of top universities.

Now, the former Middleville resident spends her days helping people in a different though equally vital way, helping draught-stricken people in Kenya take care of the basics of life - simple survival and the right to a decent education.

As founder and CEO of One Heart with Africa Inc., Taylor assists villages in undertaking projects designed to ensure an adequate water supply, while also helping secure funding for the purchase of desperately-needed school supplies for the children.

Taylor is back in the area to organize a fund-raiser for One Heart with Africa, "A Taste of Africa," that will provide participants with entertainment and a better understanding of the organization's projects. The event will be held Tuesday, May 6 from 7-10 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 200 Genesee St., Utica.

Featured will be a slide show depicting the projects and the scenery of Kenya, Kenyan arts and crafts and a demonstration of their cultural use. Taylor's husband, John Kiwa, will perform Kikamba country music and Kiswahili classics, and recorded African music and dance will be demonstrated.

A food and cash bar will be available. Donation is $15 and tickets are available at the door and in advance by calling 891-3683.

Part of the money raised during "A Taste of Africa" will go toward purchasing textbooks, writing materials, school uniforms, and academic fees for children in Kenya.

Although primary school education is offered free, secondary schools consist mainly of boarding schools and require an average fee of $350 a year, with national universities costing an average of $900 a year, said Taylor. With a parent in Kenya making $2,000 a year considered to be affluent, the cost of education puts a tremendous financial strain on most households, remarked Taylor.

"Education is the chief financial burden of a family," said Taylor, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer science teacher from 1996 to 1998.

One Heart with Africa's goal is to give as many students as possible the chance to continue their education beyond the primary grades and fulfill their academic potential.

"You may have a child who is No. 1 in their primary school then has no chance of going on to secondary school," said Taylor. "We fund the brightest and neediest cases. They hope that by losing their best students they will come back and help the rest of us."

The severe droughts and famines that plague the country are often more immediate concerns for Kenyans, however.

"The area is constantly hit with water problems. Before I came, people were digging 10-foot holes in the river bed to find water," said Taylor, the valedictorian of her class at West Canada Valley High School.

Taylor has assisted with the construction of 17 dams in two districts of the country, in addition to several water tanks. The dams and tanks seek to trap as much water as possible to allow for collection by villagers. Taylor has also helped community groups obtain manual irrigation pumps and fittings to allow them to grow, produce or start a tree nursery for income generation.

Although Taylor, who was a staff member at Washington University School of Medicine before joining the Peace Corps, got plenty of satisfaction out of her previous career, she said she needed a change from spending much of her time in front of a computer screen writing grant applications.

"I had been involved 90 percent of the time doing what I liked the least and 10 percent doing what I liked best, which is research and data analysis," said Taylor, the daughter of Reta and Arthur Taylor of Middleville.

After joining the Peace Corps, however, Taylor said she discovered the rewards of being able to have a more immediate, direct impact on people's lives.

"She's the Mother Theresa of Africa," said Reta Taylor with a laugh.

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By rosemary onditi (62-128-170-106.iwayafrica.com - on Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 4:02 am: Edit Post

iwant to be connected to yvonne taylor for more details of her organization on hearts of africa and how she can link me up to any voluntere in kenya on a similiar program good work taylor

By MUGERA (uu-217-199-145-017.uunet.co.ke - on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 6:52 am: Edit Post

i would like to congratulate Taylor her humar and kindness that she had offered to our country it quit amusing to hear such good story from a foreigner when majory of us we have not been exposit to such servises i would not mind now taking my precious time to volonteer.may GOD REWARD YOU FOR STARLING JOB.

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