How VISPA began...
VISPA was founded in 1991 by George and Hellen Ochieng, a newly married Christian couple,who moved to an area near Rabuor, a market center in Nyanza Province in southwestern Kenya.
George was a teacher and Hellen was employed at a bank. Women would often come to their home to ask if they could work for food. The couple later realized that these beggars were often women left behind with their children after their husbands’ deaths. The couple began serving meals to these women, their children and to the community’s orphaned children once a day in their home. As death rates from AIDS dramatically increased, the burden for the Ochiengs increased as well.
With the help of family and others, they began fundraising to buy food and school materials. In 1996, they registered their work with the government and became an official organization. In February 1998, Helen quit her bank job, used her extra benefits to invest in buying land and facilities, and began working full time with the poor.
Much of the funding for the existing work and infrastructure of VISPA, which now includes an orphanage with living quarters, a kitchen and dining hall, a school and a church, was the result of a visit by an Irish couple in July 1998. After the Rev. Peter Brazier and his wife visited the area where the orphanage is now located, they committed themselves to fundraising to assist the Ochiengs in their mission.