"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." (Helen Keller)
Amani Cottage currently serves as home to 15 children with physical and/or mental disabilities. New Life Home Trust is committed to providing quality care for rescued infants until adoption. However, many of the infants we rescue with disabilities are less likely to be adopted, as they require more intensive and expensive care. As New Life began to encounter abandoned infants with special needs, we recognized the necessity of a long-term provision for these infants as they grew up. In early 2008, seven children with special needs, ages 2 to 3 years old, were transferred to our Kisumu home to grow and thrive outside the bustle of Nairobi, thus creating the Amani Cottage unit. The housing unit was appropriately named the Amani Cottage because 'amani' means peace.
Over time, as the children grew, so did the need for a larger facility. In early 2013, we had a groundbreaking ceremony in Kisumu for a facility to meet the varying needs of our Amani children, including specially adapted bathrooms, classrooms and bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, and a sensory therapy room. Through many generous donations, the building was completed in 2014. Our staff helped to build excitement for the children, giving them construction updates and countdowns, and allowing them to tour the rooms that would become their bedrooms. Slowly, cautious about all of the change, the children became excited about, and then accustomed to, their new bedrooms and common spaces (which they now love, of course).
In 2015, after committing 5 years to the general care and oversight not only of the children, but also to the construction process, funding needs, and standard of care at the Amani Cottage, a UK couple with expertise in special needs returned home. They were an incredible blessing to the Amani children and to New Life Home Trust during their time with us. In their absence, the Amani staff are daily rising to the challenge of learning and growing alongside the growth of these children. One of the greatest assets along the journey of New Life's Amani Cottage is the many specialized volunteers who have shared their time, knowledge, skills, and experience with our staff and have helped secure donations of need-specific equipment.
As the children age, the needs of our Amani children shift: outgrowing wheelchairs, reaching puberty, and just getting bigger. It is for this reason that we continue to seek funding for them and for this project to keep the as mobile as possible as they grow up. We continue to strive to offer these incredible kids the best care because they deserve it! Help us fund this bus project and enable transit to school, physical therapy, and other fun and beneficial activities by sharing why you care about our project and inviting your friends and family to lend their support!
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!