The late Reverend Patrick Chege dedicated his entire life to helping others. He was a man of great compassion, committed to easing the pain and suffering of Africa's children.
Since colonial times, much of Africa has been a land of great conflict. Rev. Chege was born and raised in Kenya but traveled all over Africa with a mission of hope. He was a minister, teacher, counselor, and friend to those in need. He built schools and homes and distributed food, clothing, and other necessities to the poor.
During his ministry Rev. Chege was to be found anywhere disaster struck. Whether it was drought, famine, flood, political unrest, or tribal clash, he would organize his fellow ministers and do anything in his power to restore and rebuild.
Rev. Chege and fellow ministers traveled to Uganda after the Brutal reign of Idi Amin came to an end in 1980. Over 300,000 Ugandans were tortured and murdered during Amin's presidency. Following his exile in 1980 the country was left in economic ruin, facing one of the worst famines in world history. With a noted absence of foreign aid, Rev. Chege organized a team and went to Uganda, bringing with him food and clothing for the poor.
In 1995, he actively participated in the rehabilitation programs of Rwandese refugees after the genocide. On February 16th, 2002 Rev. Chege died, leaving behind a legacy of hope. It is in his honor that his daughter Siamanda Chege dedicates this orphanage. Following in her father's footsteps she hopes to alleviate the pain and suffering of Africa's children by offering a home to those in need.
Siamanda Chege is the eldest child of the Rev. Patrick Chege. She was born and raised Nakuru, Kenya, with eight younger siblings. Siamanda grew up taking care of those around her. She says, "I don't remember being a little girl; I remember being a little mommy." Education was very important to her family, and the children ran six miles to and from school each day. "Sometimes my younger sisters would fall behind; I would run back and carry them. We could not be late."
After finishing high school, Siamanda's father, Rev. Chege, encouraged her to pursue higher education in the United States. Before completing her medical studies,her father suffered congestive heart failure. "The responsibility of my entire family was on my shoulders," she says. "I had to find a way to provide." So she left school to find a job that could help support her family in Kenya. She made her way to New York, where she was quickly "discovered" as a model. Soon she had established a successful career. Throughout her modeling career, Siamanda saved the money she earned to support her family back home. She paid for her father's medical care and sent her eight brothers and sisters to school. She built rental properties for her parents to provide them with an income.
Several years after falling ill, Simanda's father passed away. She has sought to continue his legacy of helping others by starting the Chege Orphanage. She also founded Bebe Ravi Collections, a children's knit-wear company that employs the women of Nakuru, Kenya, providing them with much-needed jobs and good wages. A portion of Bebe Ravi's profits go to support the Orphanage.