Spring 2016 News from the children in Kenya
The same life-giving vision, but a new approach
Our vision never changes - to rescue children from the streets and enable them to recover from the trauma by giving them long-term care, guidance and a sense of belonging; and the education and vocational skills they need to escape poverty and find employment.
This year, we have adopted a new approach to achieving this life-changing vision. Rather than maintaining our own private accommodation for former street children, we have instead partnered with the best schools in the region to enable them to board there. These schools - Victorian Academy, Ruiga Girls High School, and Mbero Memorial Boys School - are accountable to boards of governors, monitored by the Kenyan Government and by local District Education Officers, and have well-established systems in place to ensure the well being of the children and a high standard of education. Another advantage of the boarding schools is that they are more cost-effective for our charity, as we no longer have to pay to maintain our own accommodation. This means we can make the money that you give work harder to bring about a bright future for these precious children.
‘As if they were their own children’ - the parental roles of our team in Kenya
Our social workers - Patrick, Frederick and Purity – are continuing in their parental roles to promote the children’s physical, emotional, spiritual and educational development. They are regularly visiting the children in their new boarding schools and are also attending meetings with the teachers to hear how the children are progressing and to plan any extra support they need. Purity reports that "our children are now trying to catch up with the rest at the new schools. I talked with the teachers to give them extra tuitions and they agreed to help our children."
The staff are also involved in helping the children obtain birth certificates, as their experiences of being homeless, orphaned and abandoned mean that most have never had any official documents. The District Children's Officer has had to write letters affirming that our team are the children's sole guardians, and the birth certificates are currently being processed.
The team has also recently had to respond to several children being ill – Brenda has had pneumonia, Samuel malaria and Stephen serious chest pains. In a country where many diseases are endemic, your support makes a life-saving difference - the charity have been able to pay for the children to be admitted to hospital, and all have since recovered, thank God.
Joy Waithera is going blind. She is only 15 and a simple operation could save her. Can you help?
At a recent eye clinic held for all our children, we heard that Joy has an eye condition that needs treatment from specialists in Nairobi, or else she will go blind. Joy has been given spectacles for now, but is distressed and frightened. Please help us to give her sight? Watch this short film about Joy, by the eye specialist from the charity See Kenya who diagnosed her. Please consider making an online donation. http://www.newlifenyambene.org/make_donation.html
A big thank you to See Kenya for organising the eye clinic for our children. In a country where most people have no access to eye care and where thousands go blind every year from preventable causes, their work is vital.
It's a long road to recover from their trauma, but we are walking with them
Samuel, one of our older boys, has has had a rough time of late, and his story is a good example of how we work. Samuel's father and brother died when he was young, and his mother fell victim to persecution and ran away, fearful for her life. Having been through so much, it's not surprising that Samuel sometimes loses his way. He recently got in with the wrong crowd at school and, stressed about his exams, he ran away.
Immediately, we were notified, and conversations flew between the UK and Kenya. As Samuel's story unfolded, the Kenyan team found him, brought him home and began a counselling process initiated by our excellent children's pastor Patrick. Another team member Frederick, himself a former street boy, has befriended Samuel, as the experiences of destitution remain raw in his memory too, so his empathy is high. Another key element in Samuel's progress has been an exchange of letters between him and his UK sponsor, in which loving acceptance, encouragement, belief and the chance of a new start have been offered in exchange for regret and apology. In his letter, Samuel said: "After I had stayed outside for almost a week, like the prodigal son I came into my senses and noted I had made a wrong decision. Am very sorry to do so and I won't repeat again. I would like to make my future bright."
A fond farewell to Bernard, and a big thank you to Joel
And finally, we wish to say farewell to Bernard, whose one year contract with us in Kenya ended last month. We are so grateful to Bernard for all his hard work and loving commitment to the children. He has overseen some big changes in the children's lives over the last year with grace, wisdom and care, and we are sorry to see him go. We wish you all the best in your future career, Bernard.
We are indebted to Joel Mutuma of MK Advocates, our lawyer in Maua, who is playing an increasingly vital role in providing oversight and strategic direction to our project. Joel has a background of partnership work with churches and the charity sector in Kenya, coming from a family who run the Kenyan branch of the New Frontiers church and its various community schemes.
Get involved - Can you help raise money for the children?
Planning to run a marathon? Keen to do a sponsored bike trip or parachute jump? Able to run a fundraiser event like a ceilidh or concert? If you can help us to raise money, we would love to hear from you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
With your help, we can make sure children don't face the terrible destitution and hopelessness you see in this picture our team recently took of children still on the streets sniffing glue.