Ripples International Founders Tell Their Story...

Back in the 90’s, the Late Mr. Chidi Ogbonna and Mercy Chidi Baidoo worked with different international organizations for a period spanning more than 10 years, until God gave them a strong conviction to reach out and save children’s lives.
This call gradually built a huge fire of passion in their hearts and kept them restless and greatly disturbed at the reality of living in luxury yet seeing the human degradation, suffering, death and rampant abuse ravaging the lives of children and families.

The Curious Newspaper Headline That Jolted Chidi And Mercy…

One day, Chidi and Mercy were reading the newspaper, flipping through various stories when suddenly something caught their eye.

HIV Statistics in Kenya

They gasped in wonder as they studied the story in great detail..

40% in HIV infections? That’s almost HALF the community!

Something Has To Be Done…And Done NOW!

After reading that saddening newspaper story, the couple was convinced that God would rather have them leave the comfort zone and offer part of their lives to the service of humanity.

With these revelations and confirmations, their hearts became even more restless and made them seriously consider the option of resigning from stable jobs to start an accountable organization to serve the needs of children and families.

Setting Out Into The Unknown

As much as their hearts were settled on the assurance of the divine calling, Chidi and Mercy had the fear of economic survival.

In this seeming confused condition, they prayed to God, sought counsel from well meaning people and waited upon God.

Armed with faith in God, family savings, encouragement from friends and a determination that could not be deterred, they started on a journey that where they would later realize the true cost of the call.

Answering The Call

In the words of Ripples International Co-Founder, Chidi Ogbonna…

“Having heard the divine direction to settle in Meru [Mercy’s home town], we walked out of our old lives, rented a house in Meru town and started the work in line with the divine calling.

Our driving force was to fully answer God’s call in our lives, serve God in our generation through helping children, families and the oppressed.

However, choosing to move to Meru did not happen without some second thought.

It meant giving serious considerations between giving part of our life experiences in service to humanity and resisting the temptation of getting a huge salary at the end of the month.

We were focused and determined.

We had to do what was necessary to save lives and give hope.

We thank God for gracing us with hard working, dedicated and supportive staff and partners through whom the organization has grown constantly.”

Mercy and Chidi’s beautiful young family after responding to the call to move to Meru before 2006. The young family stayed in a small rented house as they set up a bookshop and a center for HIV screening and education.

It was on a memorable trip to the USA over 10 years ago that Mercy Chidi met Paul and Linda Higdon. This amazing couple took time out of their busy schedules to escort Mercy around the States, as well as introduce Mercy to a number of Donor Organizations that continue to support the Ripples International vision to this day.

Mercy Chidi Baidoo, Ripples International Founders
Baby Moses, ripples international founders
ripples international founders, resccuing babies at ripples international

How Did The Ripples Story Begin?

The reality that any girl would undergo sexual defilement or abuse from any member of the family is shocking; and one that brings tears to your eyes. Yet, it is true.
And it is widespread is some communities. In fact, it’s been going on for many years. And the girls, most of them between 8-16 years, suffer silently, with no one to help them.
It’s this solemn realization that something urgently needed to be done that prompted Mercy Chidi and Chidi Ogbonna to leave well paying international jobs and embark on a mission of rescue.

The Death Of Baby Gatwiri

Mercy says this about this life-changing encounter:
“In 2001, Chidi and I had a real life encounter in Meru that brought tears to our eyes. One baby died out of neglect. Baby Gatwiri.
Why?
The family saw no use of taking care of an HIV positive dying baby. Our hearts were painfully pierced with this experience out of which God confirmed to us the need to start a rescue home where such babies would not have to die but find love, hope and life.“
The stigma facing children with HIV/AIDS and orphans babies in Meru, Kenya is real.
Thus Ripples International Organization was birthed out of a divine call and response to save lives and restore hope and dignity to girls according to Christian teachings in the Bible.

Why Are People Abandoning Babies?

In the course of our work, we discovered another shocking and equally disturbing trend in society. Babies, as young as 7 days old, were (and still are) abandoned by their families.

Some are dropped in pit latrines, abandoned at the local police station, thrown in the woods.
That anybody would do that to a helpless little baby is beyond belief.
Upon investigating the causes behind this, tears filled our eyes when parents told us they were unable to fend for the little babies.
With no money, no source of livelihood, the only possible solution to them was to drop them off that the nearby police station, hoping that the police would be able to rescue the baby.
Other parents find that their baby is born with HIV and they feel that all hope is lost. They therefore abandon the baby.
In many African societies, HIV is seen as a taboo and a cause of curses in the family.
Thus, the parents leave home in the morning with their baby and return home without their baby.
Some callous mothers simply give birth and promptly drop the baby in a pit latrine out of shame and fear of societal condemnation.

Reasons Given For Abandoning Babies

There are many reasons for this behavior.
Poverty.
Shame.
Condemnation.
Unwanted pregnancies.
Babies born out of wedlock.
The list goes on and on….

A New Life – A New Start Baby Center

To us, every baby deserves a right to life – whether born with HIV, or born into poverty, or unwanted by family.

Therefore, years after the main mission of saving lives was began, another cause was born – the cause of saving rehabilitating abandoned babies by giving them a home, education, shelter, healthcare and ultimately a new chance to life.

Hence, New Start Baby Center was conceptualized and established under Ripples International.

New Start Baby Center is one of a few homes in Kenya that specialize in rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned babies below one year.
The home caters for physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the children.

13 Years of Saving Lives

Since receiving its first grant in 2003, Ripples International has grown in leaps and bounds.
It now attracts funding from both local and international donors.
Presently, it is celebrated as one of the most vibrant programs in the region; addressing diverse needs of children and community empowerment with emphasis on child right promotion, child participation, care for orphans and vulnerable children, caregivers and the communities.
In summary, Ripples International is an accountable, life transforming organization concerned with the welfare of children and development of communities with emphasis on empowering households and families to take full responsibility of their future.

What’s Behind the Name, ‘Ripples International?”

Charities in Kenya, NGO's in Kenya, Ripples International

The name Ripples International is derived from interpretation drawn from the Biblical book of Isaiah 55:10 – 11.
“As the rain and the snow came down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
It will not return to me void but will accomplish what I desire and the purpose for which I sent it”.