With Mother's Day coming up this Sunday, 11th May, we thought we would share some wonderful news!
Yesterday, Matron Lucy from the St Andrews Baby Unit in Kandara travelled to Nairobi to collect an award. Local company Bidco Oil Refineries ran a competition on Facebook to find Kenya's "Mother of the Year". Lucy was nominated and received lots of votes from people in Kenya as well as people in the UK and the USA who have seen Lucy in action when they have visited the St Andrews Baby Unit. There were some lovely comments posted on her nomination including one from a member of the local community in Kandara who described Lucy as “the tireless, ever-loving mum”.
Lucy is a mother of 8 children of her own but that wasn't enough of a challenge for her. In November 2007 she took on the role of matron at the unit and since then she and her team have cared for over thirty infants. The unit is currently at full capacity with 15 children receiving total care from Lucy and her team.
When we went to collect Lucy's award, the representative from Bidco explained that they had chosen seven of the nominees to be rewarded. Three of these were based on the number of likes their nomination received on Facebook and four were chosen in recognition of their amazing work in the role of a mother. Lucy fell into the second category and couldn't quite believe that she had been chosen as a winner. She was absolutely delighted and received a certificate and hamper of Bidco products. Lucy was nominated to represent all of the mothers at the St Andrews Baby Unit so we hope you'll join us in congratulating them on their achievement for the wonderful work they do.
Without your support through GlobalGiving the St Andrews Baby Unit wouldn't be able to provide the services it offers orphaned, abandoned and neglected infants. Thank you for making this possible and for giving Lucy and her team the opportunity to make a difference.
As a Mother's Day gift to Lucy and her little ones, please tell your friends about this project and ask them to consider supporting the St Andrews Baby Unit.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters through GlobalGiving since our last update in December. At that time we told you of three new babies that had been brought in to the St Andrews Baby Unit and have a safe, loving home thanks to your donations.
Since then, the unit has welcomed another two little ones in. Angel was just days old when she was found abandoned. She is making good progress and growing fast under the care of the dedicated staff at the St Andrews Baby Unit.
The other new arrival was rescued from a situation of neglect after his mother was forced to flee the family home. At just four months old, John had been fed solids as his caregivers didn’t have any baby formula to feed him after his mother left. Neighbours alerted the authorities to conditions in which John and his older brother were being raised and they were brought to Kandara Children’s Home with John being placed in the baby unit. Matron Lucy and her team have been working hard to ensure that John is receiving the nourishment that he needs to get him back on track and we’re sure in no time he will be catching up with his age mates.
Without your support, there wouldn’t be this safe haven for children like Angel and John. Words are not enough to thank you but we hope that the pictures of these children whose lives you have changed will show you the lives that have been changed thanks to you.
The St Andrews Baby Unit was launched by Vision Africa’s Founders, Rev and Mrs Packard, in November 2007. They sourced the funding for the unit, Mr Packard oversaw the renovation of a building to create the structure and Mrs Packard designed the interior and equipped the unit. Now in their eighties, the couple made a return visit last week and were delighted to see how well Lucy and her team are doing and how great the unit looks having had a makeover last year. Mrs Packard had her hands full meeting Angel and some of the other children. She has asked us to pass on her appreciation to everyone who has made the St Andrews Baby Unit the success that it is.
So THANK YOU from Mrs Packard, Lucy and her team and all the babies and little children that you have given hope to! Let's work together to give hope and a loving home to more little ones in the future.
It has been another great year for the St Andrews Baby Unit in Kandara. The unit has had a makeover and looks much brighter with new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. This has lifted the spirits of the staff and the children who love the new environment.
Three of the older children from the unit have been attending the nursery school that Vision Africa set up in the grounds of Kandara Children’s Home. Patrick, James and Anne are coming on in leaps and bounds since they started in the baby class. They have learned new songs and rhymes and enjoy singing them and teaching the other children back at the baby unit. In fact, as soon as they saw the Santa hat Patrick started a chorus of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and was quickly joined by Anne and James.
There have been a few graduations this year with children moving up to the main home. This has left space for new babies who have been brought in to the unit. Just in the last few weeks, there have been three early Christmas gifts for Matron Lucy and her team. Natasha was brought in at two days old as her mother is unable to care for her. She already has an older sister who spent a few years in the baby unit before moving up to the main home. The staff have introduced the older sister to Natasha and she is already very protective of her.
Anne was brought in at three months old. She has had a troubled start in life as her mother is unable to look after her and she was rescued from a difficult situation. She is now doing well under the care of Lucy and the mothers at the unit. Before there was time to adjust to having two small babies again, a third one was brought in. This little girl was abandoned and handed in to a pastor’s wife. Her mother obviously cared greatly for her as she had left a note with the details of her vaccinations. When the staff saw the little two month old baby, they were amazed at how much she looked like the very first baby that was brought in to the unit back in January 2008. Grace has since been successfully adopted by a family in Kenya and is doing well so the staff decided to give the new arrival her name.
Thanks to your support through Global Giving, the local community knew exactly where to take Natasha, Anne and Grace. The St Andrews Baby Unit is able to exist and provide a safe haven because of your generosity.
We look forward to bringing you updates on the progress of the little ones in the year to come.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
Things are going well at the St Andrews Baby Unit with twelve infants currently under the care of Mother Lucy and her time.
The children are all making good progress. Ann has started attending the Baby Class in the nursery school set up by Vision Africa in the grounds of Kandara Children's Home where the Baby Unit is also located. When I went to look for a photo of Ann to attach to this report, I came across the picture we posted here when she had just arrived - malnourished and underdeveloped. See for yourself the difference between that and the most recent picture I found of Ann.....and you will know your donations have been part of something great!
Little Cecilia has started walking on her own and will soon be followed by Moses and John who have started crawling. One of the biggest achievements of the last few weeks is that John Bosco is now standing up.
John joined the unit when he was just a few weeks old. His mother felt unable to take care of him so she went to a clinic near her home which was run by sisters. She walked in to the waiting room and asked a lady to hold her baby and said she would be back in a few minutes....but she never came back. Doing what she thought was best for her child, she left him in a safe place where she knew they would take care of him. The clinic took John to the local authorities who placed him at the St Andrews Baby Unit.
John's development has been very delayed and when we had a group of physiotherapists visiting from the UK last year, they spent time working with him and developing a programme of exercises to strengthen his legs. After months of extensive therapy, the team is delighted that John is now bearing weight and hope that he will be encouraged by Cecilia taking her first steps and will soon be walking about by himself.
Thanks to all our friends at GlobalGiving who have supported John, Cecilia and all the other little ones at the St Andrews Baby Unit.
This year, we have been running a campaign called Be The Spark. This asks everyone to find a way to support our work....using their time money or skills. We are looking for staff to improve their projects, local communities to assist and all of our friends to do one thing to help.
Wednesday the 9th October is GlobalGiving's Bonus Day for Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Donations made that day will be matched with 30% until the matching fund of $25,000 is exhausted.
Can you Be The Spark? Tell a friend about the GlobalGiving Bonus Day and ask them to donate on 9th October to make a BIG difference to the lives of our little ones.
As we mentioned in our last report, the St Andrews Baby Unit was ready for the final stages of a makeover and the installation of a biogas system.
We are happy to report that both of these have been successfully completed. The unit looks fantasic after a fresh coat of paint. One of the former residents, Newton, decided he had to be part of the transformation and came in to help (as you will see from our pictures). The matron is delighted with the results of the work over the past few months and the children seem to be enjoying themselves in the fresh environment.
The biogas system has been installed and within a week had started producing gas which powers a stove in the unit. The system is fed with manure from the cows and reduces the amount of firewood the staff have to use for cooking. It also means some of the food can be prepared in the main kitchen of the unit.
As far as the babies themselves go, there is more great progress. Bedan is taking his first steps now and Pricilla is potty training having mastered walking. Cecilia and Peter are standing on their own and starting to talk while John has been started on weaning food.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the St Andrews Baby Unit through GlobalGiving. We really do appreciate your valuable contribution!
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