Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathi once said: “I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”
When New Life opened its doors, we were just a small team of committed people who hoped and believed we could make an impact in the lives of Kenyan infants who were affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS. As New Life Founders, Clive and Mary Beckenham, describe it: “We did everything together, simultaneously looking after our own biological children as well as the abandoned infants in our care. The first 3 babies we rescued were 1 week old, 1 month old, and 5 months old. At that time, the staff was very small and everyone did everything. All the staff came in untrained, but we trained them [on] how to care for the infants and the facility. We were blessed with team members who were committed to our vision.”
Now 24 years later, because of that small group of committed individuals, nearly 2,000 infants have been rescued and the lives of staff, volunteers, adoptive parents, and these children have been impacted in remarkable ways! Of the total infants rescued, 75% have been adopted locally or internationally, 10% have been reunited with biological family members, and the remaining 15% were either transferred to another children’s home or passed away due to medical complications, often as a result of the extreme environmental conditions of abandonment.
This month we celebrated 24 years as an organization serving and saving abandoned infants and giving priority to infants affected by HIV/AIDS. With the help of numerous donors and well-wishers along the way, New Life Home Trust has been a standard bearer in Kenya for the quality care of rescued infants. Additionally, we have helped shift the stigmas around HIV/AIDS, adoption, and children with physical and mental disabilities. We continue to be incredibly grateful for the impact that we have been able to have because of your support and the entire New Life staff (nearly 200 Kenyan employees across 4 cities!).
As Wangari Maathai put it: “The little grassroots people can change this world.”
In the early 1990s, Clive and Mary Beckenham were living in Kenya with their daughter, who was volunteering at a local hospital. HIV was becoming an epidemic in the country and the effects of the epidemic, coupled with deep poverty, created a sharp increase in the rate of abandoned infants.
At the time, many people didn’t believe that infants who were infected and/or affected by HIV could survive and, as a result, very few resources were dedicated to their care. It was during this time, that one little boy came home with the Beckenhams. Mary Beckenham was a registered nurse and the family believed they were simply bringing this baby boy home to die surrounded by love.
Instead, the unexpected happened. This little one kept growing and growing and holding on. Eventually, it became clear that he was not dying, but thriving with the love and care he was receiving! After witnessing the miracle of life through this small, vulnerable child, the Beckenhams knew that it was time to fulfill Mary’s childhood dream of creating a children’s home. With the help of a small group of committed people and the support of several donors, New Life Home Trust became the first children's home in Kenya to give priority to infants affected by or infected with HIV.
That small, committed group of people expanded over the years as the babies grew and their needs increased. Today, New Life is comprised of a staff of nearly 200 people in 4 Homes across Kenya, caring for an average of 150 children per day!
Two years ago, our water tanks in Nairobi sprung yet another leak and we opted to finally move toward purchasing new tanks rather than pouring money into constant repairs. With your help, we've reached our goal on GlobalGiving. While $10,000 is only a portion of the total need to replace the new tanks, we've been fundraising in the UK and Kenya over the past two years to match the funding we've received on GlobalGiving. With your geneous support we'll be able to replace our water tanks and secure sustainable access to a clean water supply for our Nairobi home - which means lower overhead, self-sustainability, keeping infants safe from preventable diseases from unclean water, and overall better health and quality of life for the infants currently in our Nairobi home and the many thousands we will rescue in the future.
THANK YOU for making this project a reality!
We've been raising money for our Clean Water initiative for over a year and with the generous donations we received during International Youth Week at the beginning of August, we’re nearly at our goal! We have less than $3K to raise and we’d love your help raising it by the end of the year.
In our last report we discussed the growing need for a clean water supply at our Home in Nairobi due to the unprecedented amount of construction going on all over the capital city. As the construction around us progresses, access to the water table below us continues to dwindle.
It probably comes as no surprise that having access to our own water source is both more economical and more sustainable. As the need for clean water access grows more urgent, we’re asking for your help to keep our stream of access flowing as safe drinking water and clean water for medical procedures are the difference between life and preventable disease in our Kilimani Home. Your support helps care for babies like Elizabeth --
Elizabeth was brought to a local police station by her stepmother who reported that she already had a 2 month old son and was not able to look after her stepdaughter as well. Baby Elizabeth's birth father had abandoned her with the stepmother, after his previous partner had left the little girl with him.
Elizabeth is a very healthy, baby girl and is doing well in our home. We are looking after her temporarily while the police sort out the domestic problems of the family and decide the next best course of action for her continued care.
Because of your generosity, we are able to provide not only temporary safe spaces for infants like Elizabeth, but also for infants that come into our Homes for a variety of reasons. If every person who has already given to our Clean Water project would commit to giving $10 per month until the end of the year or inviting one friend to contribute to our project, we would meet out goal! Would you join us in either committing a small monthly amount through the end of the year or sharing our project with a friend or family member?