The V4A Story

PAST EVENTS

Vitendo4africa is a non profit organization for immigrants by immigrants in Missouri. Vitendo4africa Founder and Executive Director, Mr Geoffrey Soyiantet shares his life experience from Kenya to USA and how his mother inspired him to start an organization that is impacting many lives both locally and internationally.

The organization started small seven years ago to serve the growing need of immigrants and refugees in North County. Currently the organization serves thousands of immigrants and refugees families in St Louis Metropolitan and in Africa. V4A offeres programs in health, workforce development and citizenship and immigration. read more

Africa Mission Trip

PAST EVENTS

Through youth leadership program, V4A organizes mission trip to Kenya during summer. The teens takes the initiative to host fundraising events, collect school supplies, backpacks, hospital supplies and other games items.  They travel with these items for donation while on the mission.

The past groups have volunteered to renovate a hospital, build school classrooms, constructing of school desks, worked at the orphanages and teaching at elementary schools.  Towards the end of every trip, students are given opportunity to enjoy safari at the famous Masai Mara national park and Geo Thermal site in Naivasha. This is a great way for students to get out of their comfort zones and expand their global experience. read more

On trip to Kenya, St. Louis teens give back, reconnect with roots

PAST EVENTS
Sally Gacheru, center, tosses a ball to a child in Sakutiek, Kenya. Gacheru, who was born in Kenya but moved to St. Louis four years ago, was part of a service trip back home for fellow immigrant teens this month.
Sally Gacheru, center, tosses a ball to a child in Sakutiek, Kenya. Gacheru, who was born in Kenya but moved to St. Louis four years ago, was part of a service trip back home for fellow immigrant teens this month.

RYAN DELANEY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

It hit them that they were back home as soon as they were off they off the plane and in the crowded Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

“And there was a long queue [at customs], a long, long queue. And I just knew I was in Kenya right there,” Victor Rotich said, days later and hours away from the capital, in the small village of Sakutiek.

Rotich was among a group of three seniors from Hazelwood West High School — and one who recently moved from St. Louis to Michigan — returning to their native Kenya. The two-week trip was a capstone to a mentorship program they’re a part of through a St. Louis-based organization, Vitendo4Africa, that supports African immigrants. The group spent more than a year planning, fundraising and collecting donations. read more

Kenya’s Kids Exhibit at Magic House

NEWS

On behalf of Vitendo4africa and Kenyan Community of St. Louis, I would like to express our sincere thank you for attending Kenya’s Kids Exhibit grand opening ceremony at Magic House. The Magic House’s newest cultural exhibit, Kenya’s Kids, is designed to help Magic House visitors discover what life is like for children in Kenya today. The F4kidz African Kids Dance group did a wonderful performance.

This historic event was attended by hundreds of Kenyans and friends living in St. Louis. In the presence was Senator Kyle McCarter, Tim Nowak of World Trade Center  and Betsy Cohen of St Louis Mosaic Project. Other organizations who were represented includes International Institute St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo, World Wide Technology, Claim Academy and the great people of Kenyan Community of St. Louis. Watch video read more

Census 2020: Local Africans, African-Americans consider how to respond to questions about origins

NEWS

The 2020 census is still two years away, but there is plenty of buzz about what the federal survey will ask, including questions about citizenship and country of origin.

For the first time, people will be able to write in their origins in a blank box on the census instead of just checking a race.

The survey, which happens every ten years, is designed to count the population so federal funds can be allocated across the country. But the new questions about where people come from can generate confusion or suspicion — especially from African-Americans, who may not know where their ancestors originated, or immigrants who believe their responses might be used against them in the future. read more

New groups help immigrants, refugees find their way to services in St. Louis

New groups help immigrants, refugees find their way to services in St. Louis

NEWS

Many organizations in St. Louis have made a concerted effort recently to be more welcoming to refugees and immigrants.

But that doesn’t mean that when people get here they have an easy adjustment.

That process should be made easier, some say, with a new effort called the Immigrant Service Providers Network.

The group, announced Tuesday at the International Institute, brings together local organizations already helping the foreign-born population in St. Louis.

Kenyan immigrant Geoffrey Soyiantet talks about his transition to life in the U.S. A new coalition called the Immigrant Service Providers Network aims to help newcomers adjust and get the services they need when they come to St. Louis. CREDIT KAMEEL STANLEY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

“We want to make sure we know that everybody knows what each other is doing,” said St. Louis Center For Family Development CEO Nancy Spargo, who is chairing the new group, which has taken the nickname ISPN.  “We want to make sure we’re pulling together, that we are coordinated in our efforts.” read more

Civics & Civility: Religion and the Immigrant Experience

Civics & Civility: Religion and the Immigrant Experience

NEWS

On Aug. 3, 2017, a gathering of engaged St. Louis community members and FOCUS alumni attended a discussion on “Religion and the Immigrant Experience” at CIC in the Cortex complex. This was the first in a series of four Civics & Civility Forums that will be hosted by FOCUS St. Louis and sponsored by the Missouri Humanities Council over the next year.

Providing insights on the overlap of religion and the immigrant experience on were the following panelists:

  • Dr. Anna Crosslin, long-time head of the International Institute whose leadership has helped establish so many of our foreign born St. Louisians in their new lives;
  • Imam Djilali Kacem of the Dar-Al Jalal Islamic Center, much of whose congregation are finding their feet in their new home of St. Louis as Muslims;
  • Dr. Ben Moore of Fontbonne University, whose work with the Bosnian Memory Project delved into the decades long process of assimilation; and
  • Geoffrey Soyiantet, whose organization Vitendo4Africa is a home-away-from home for African immigrants in the Hazelwood area and beyond.

The conversation made clear what a crucial role a community of faith can play in making the immigrant or refugee experience successful, or more difficult. As Dr. Crosslin pointed out “a refugee’s first 10 years in a new community are really just about survival.” Imam Kacem added that survival for immigrants may mean becoming a “jack-of-all-trades” and driving cab, or tending the counter, while they do the hard work of opening doors to re-establish themselves in their chosen field, as doctors, veterinarians, programmers etc. Furthermore, communities of faith can often be instrumental in networking immigrants and refugees to find that first temporary job, and their eventual career. Dr. Moore described how a community of faith can define immigrants’ and refugees’ new lives “over here” as opposed to their old lives “over there.” Geoffrey Soyiantet added stories of his success in reaching immigrants and connecting them to services by contacting them through their communities of faith. read more

Hazelwood School District High school Students Kenya Mission Trip

PAST EVENTS

It is approaching that time for the summer mission trip to Kenya on July 16th. This year Vitendo4Africa will be going with 5 teenagers who live in your city and are remarkably passionate and eager to go back to their home country to help children just like them. This year the mission trip is focused on children who are homeless or in underfunded orphanages and those in dire need of school supplies. For a lot of these kids in Kenya, they often don’t have much money for essentials, and the those that turn to orphanages or shelters often find them overfilled with kids just like them who are struggling. As you must know, a healthy and happy childhood and education is so important to the development and success of every child. However, many of these children are not able to afford the supplies needed for school and the essentials such as a balanced diet or efficient sanitary items. We are also aiming to create a early Christmas gift basket for the children that cannot afford to purchase a gift. read more

V4A F4KIDZ Soccer for Immigrants and Refugees youth and Kids

V4A F4KIDZ Soccer for Immigrants and Refugees youth and Kids

PAST EVENTS

Missouri consistently ranks as one of the heaviest states in the country, with 30 percent of adults obese and 28 percent of children either overweight or obese.  V4A F4KIDZ program strives to promote healthy living and mentorship for immigrant kids to help them overcome social, emotional, and academic challenges as they pursue their life dreams. Over one hundred kids are actively involved in the program. This program also help parents to connect and discuss issues affecting parenting as immigrant parents. read more

PAST EVENTS

To promote healthy relationship among immigrant families, V4A has lined up various activities that bring parents and children together.  Strong family relationships can go a long way towards helping your child grow into a well-rounded, considerate and caring adult. In early October over 60 immigrant mothers and sons enjoyed a memorable dinner date. This came after a very colorful and historic father and daughter dinner date.

There has been a big gap between immigrants youth and their parents, mainly brought by conflicts between African and American culture when it comes to parenting. When this issue is not addressed in the right way, it not only affects the self esteem of the child, but also their school performance. To address this problem we must educate both the parent and the child. The most effective way is to start early when the child is still young and before it is too late.  V4A creates opportunities for parents to bond with their kids and to discuss their individual goals. These forums also creates opportunities for parents to exchange notes and learn from other people’s experience. 83% of those who participate in these activities reported back that their parent/child relationship has improved and the family is more connected.