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Feb 15, 2019

Reunited - Natasha, Blessus and Pendo.

Natasha and Blessus
Natasha and Blessus

Every child deserves to grow up in a family, loved and cared for to thrive in life. This was not the case for Natasha and her two siblings, Blessus and Pendo. The three children come from a single parent family, their mother suffered with mental health issues as a result of growing up in an orphanage herself.  It is unfortunate that her condition led to people taking advantage of her and she was abused sexually resulting in an unwanted pregnancy.

Natasha was born and brought to Kandara children’s home by an uncle 3 weeks after she was born since the uncle was young at the time and had no idea of how take care of an infant. Coincidentally, Blessus who is Natasha’s older sister was also being cared for at the baby unit and it is believed that the same uncle had brought her some years back, also as an infant. The two little girls grew up together knowing they were siblings as the house mothers took the liberty to build bond between them hence they loved being in each other’s company. In the four years that Natasha lived at the baby unit, she grew up as a beautiful, healthy and cheerful girl who was loved by all. She started schooling in the early childhood development centre constructed by Raising Futures Kenya within the children’s home.

We came to learn about the detrimental negative effects of institulization of children and embarked on a journey to reintegrate these two siblings, among other children, back to their families so they would have the opportunity to grow in family and community. There was anxiety from the orphanage care givers and the uncle who had brought the children, but what was certain is that the girls needed a place to call home and a family that will love, care and protect them.

The vulnerable child support programme led by my colleague Winfred began intentional engagements with the family of Natasha and Blessus and worked in collaboration with the children’s officers, care givers, the orphanage social worker and matron to reach out to the uncle who had now settled with his own family. There were numerous meetings, counselling and psychosocial support children as part of preparation for reintegration. These sessions led the team to a new discovery of another sibling related to the two girls who was placed in a different orphanage. Pendo is their older brother and it is believed that he was born during the time his mother lived at orphanage.

A decision was made to reunite the boy with his sisters and these involved visits to the orphanage where the brother had been placed and through working with the administration and social workers, they children were allowed to visit each other and spending holidays together which eventually led to moving out of the orphanages permanently to their uncle’s home. This was one of the best moments for Winfred who was in charge of reintegration of children and this is what she said, “it was a beautiful journey that took more than three years but had a happy ending”.

Our staff have continued to be in close communication and monitoring of the children through regular visits to the home, bringing all the reintegrated children together over the holidays and conducting visits occasionally to ensure the children welfare is not compromised. Natasha and her siblings now enjoy living in a home with their uncle, his wife and a cousin same age as Natasha. The uncle is so proud of them and that he enjoys teaching them, nurturing and providing for them something he missed as he also grew up in an orphanage.

We would like to thank you for continued support of the children who are placed back to the families because it is through your generous giving that we are able to provide them with education and other needs so that they feel loved and cared for. Our future plan is to empower and strengthen these families economically so that they can be self-sustainable to take full responsibilities in raising the children.

Natasha and family
Natasha and family
Dec 20, 2018

Thank you for your support in 2018!

Livingstone
Livingstone

Jambo from Kenya! 

As the year comes to a close, we're reflecting on what has been another exciting year for our small charity. With your support we have continued to support both Percy Davies and Kirunguru Specialist schools with funds for learning materials, a feeding programme and therapy costs.

We have also been able to complete the construction and furnishing of a specialist therapy room at both schools. Therapy is provided by a local Paediatric Occupational Therapist and a Physiotherapist. They visit the schools twice a month from the local hospital. The two specialists also demonstrate techniques to teachers and parents so they can deliver therapies throughout the rest of the month.

Some BIG news - we've changed our name!

Almost two decades since our charity was founded in 2001 we have recently made the exciting decision to update the name and branding of the charity with something we reflects the ethos and intentions of our work going forward into the future. When we asked one of our Founders, Vera, for the one word she would use to describe our work, she said ‘futures’. From this, Raising Futures Kenya was born! We've included a link to a blog explaining this change in more detail if you'd like to learn more. 

Back to the project...Livingstone's Story

Livingstone was abandoned at the roadside due to his disabilities and taken to a children’s home before he was enrolled at Percy Davies special school. He was malnourished and was diagnosed at a local hospital as having multiple complex disabilities. It has taken more than five years for Livingstone to stand, walk, follow instructions and use simple gestures to communicate.

Sherry, one of our Kenyan team recalls the time Livingstone stood up and took his first step,

“Everything went to a standstill as nobody could believe their eyes. The whole school celebrated this milestone, as Livingstone has always been the baby of the school. It was an amazing thing to witness”

Although he was recently diagnosed with epilepsy, Livingstone is full of energy, cheerful and he can now feed himself. Teacher Ann who has been like a mother to him is so proud of what Livingstone has achieved and said,

“I will stop at nothing for this child. He has made me the happiest teacher since I started my career. Although I have seen progress in many other children, Livingstone is so special to me and my hope is to see him grow to be independent young man.”

We have exciting plans to work with both schools next year to increase their sustainability and self-reliance. Since initially building the schools, we have gradually handed ownership to the local communities and we are thrilled to be continuing down this path to total community ownership.

We could not have continued this work this year without your kind and generous support, we are extremely grateful. 

If you are celebrating, all of us at Raising Futures Kenya wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2019. 

Links:

Dec 3, 2018

Your update from Vision Africa's Seed of Hope

Seed of Hope Kariti graduation procession
Seed of Hope Kariti graduation procession

As of 2017, approximately 1,300 girls have graduated from our Seed of Hope programme with not only a certificate in their course of studies, but with the confidence to compete in the job market and make positive impact wherever they go. 

As the year comes to an end, there is always splendor and excitement at our Seed of Hope centres across Kenya as the second year students graduate from their courses. Kariti Seed of Hope centre held their celebration on Wednesday last week with 42 graduates, while 51 Seed of Hope Kitui students graduated on Friday. Our Nairobi centre will graduate in January. These annual events bring together families, friends, former graduates and the whole community to witness the achievements of the students at the end of their training. According to teacher Faith from Kariti centre, the number of people who came to witness the graduation had doubled that of 2017! This is due to greater impact the programme has made in the lives of many young people who are now making a positive impact in the community they come from.

A young woman called Rachel attended the Kariti graduation - she graduated from Kariti Seed of Hope in 2009 and is now running her own dressmaking, fashion design business in a town close to her village. She was invited to give a speech during the graduation ceremony and was full of praise of how the Seed of Hope programme took her from feeling hopeless to a great businesswoman. Rachel who is now married with two children had this to say “my heart is overwhelmed with happiness seeing the number of graduates who have worked hard to complete their courses. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Seed of Hope gave me because am living a good life because the seed that was planted 10 years ago has bore good fruits that my family and I enjoy.”

She encouraged the 2018 graduating class to be proactive in looking for internship and job opportunities this festive season so that they can start to earn a living. Rachel was among the 15 former graduates from Kariti Seed of Hope centre who attended the ceremony. We wish all the 2018 graduates all the best as they go out to utilize their skills and make a living!

The impact that this programme has had in the lives of young women like Rachel would not have been possible without your generous giving! Thank you for supporting our Seed of Hope programme and helping us to give young women opportunity to fulfill their potential.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

 
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