Autumn Newsletter 2015 – New Life Nyambene
SUMMER TRIP FOR THE CHILDREN AND A NEW HOME
We hope you enjoy these delightful pictures from the recent summer holiday outing our children made to the Meru National Park the day before their new school term began. Their beaming smiles and confident poses are such a welcome sight, not least because this summer has involved some key changes for them - what with our new manager Bernard Njeru, whom we introduced in our previous newsletter, taking up his post (and proving a big success with the children!), and also with their move to new accommodation at the home of a nearby pastor.
This move to a new residence has been because of a difficult revelation which we have had recently, that there have been apparent discrepancies between the way our former manager has been reporting his work to us and what has actually been taking place.
FIGHTING ON FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
Our response has been swift:
- We sought, and have followed, advice from the Senior Case Officer at the Charity Commission, (who is, sadly, all too familiar with such matters).
- We reported the allegations to the police and the Children's Rights Officer in Meru.
- We have revisited and strengthened our child protection policy, financial systems and reporting structures; and fine-tuned our staff job descriptions.
- We have employed an excellent local Kenyan lawyer to investigate the allegations, and prosecute any individuals suspected of corruption or missing the mark in their duty of care to the children.
As a result of these steps we are now able to report that Ambrose Gichunge was arraigned last month and is awaiting trial.
A STRONGER PARTNERSHIP
Of course the children's well-being has always been our number one priority; so as a precautionary measure we have re-housed the children as mentioned above, where they have told us they are happy and well looked after and have access to all that they need.
Another new development is that we are now finalising negotiations to link our charity to a much more westernised social action programme in Kenya called Edfri International, which already has extensive links to the UK. It is supervised by the well-respected New Frontiers International group of churches. Two of its Kenyan leaders, Edward Buria and his wife Fridah, have travelled regularly to the UK several times a year since the 1980s. Edward oversees an extensive network of churches and charitable activities in Africa, so we are delighted that he will be leading our trustee board in Kenya.
We conclude with excitement for the future and a word from our UK co-founder, Miriam Westendarp:
"This has been a roller-coaster summer. Out of the ashes of our initial dismay, we are building a future that is far stronger. On the way, we have learned more than ever before about Kenyan culture and how it is struggling to lift itself out of its history of poverty and poor leadership. As we join in with this struggle, we are meeting great men and women who are filled with hope for their country, who are wise and experienced in overcoming set-backs, and with whose help we can realise the vision we have had from the first. For a brief while we had to pause to see where barriers to our progress had arisen, and that has been (as difficulties in life so often are) the crucible out of which our new future can be formed. As Edward Buria has said: 'The best is yet to come!'"