What’s behind the name, ‘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”.
Mercy Chidi Baidoo
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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.
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 their 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.”
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.
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. 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.
18 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.