This past month our Nairobi home experienced the full force of a virulent and aggressive outbreak of Rotavirus. Despite the fact that our babies have received immunisations against the virus, the merciless effects of this ubiquitous ‘bug’ hit us hard.
A common and often life-threating form of diarrhoea and vomiting, Rotavirus is responsible for thousands of infant fatalities across the globe. The replacement of lost fluids is of vital importance, either in the form of oral rehydration salts or, in serious cases, through the administration of intravenous fluids.
The outbreak affected nearly 75% of our babies, spreading like wildfire through the home despite our best efforts to isolate the affected children. At its peak, we had ten children on intravenous fluids with the ICU room transformed into a medical ward. We had to seek out extra nurses, volunteers and a doctor in our time of crisis. We also had one previously healthy boy rushed to the ICU in the middle of the night, accompanied by our National Director and one of our nurses.
Having spent a few days in hospital, he is now backing with us in rude health. We are rejoicing because we’re so grateful that the sick children have all made complete and full recoveries! But all of this could not have been accomplished without uninterrupted access to a clean water supply.
This month reminded us of the dire need for clean water in our Nairobi home and precisely why we are raising funds to install a durable water system. While we couldn’t have predicted this outbreak, we can do everything in our power to keep our infants healthy when problems arise.
If we didn’t have access to clean water last month, we wouldn’t have been able to provide vital medical treatment, to offer clean diapers, clothes, and sheets to keep the babies healthy, or to be consistently nourishing our sick infants so that they didn’t become dehydrated. In short, we could not have provided the life-saving care that these infants needed to survive this simple illness.
Please consider helping us reach our fundraising goal – whether through giving to our project, sharing our story, becoming a fundraiser for our GlobalGiving project, or inviting family and friends to give to our initiative. Your efforts help us offer rescued infants’ new life and keep them well.
Baby Riah was born prematurely in a county hospital and her mother absconded from the hospital soon after delivery. Riah’s mother was caught by police and put on probation, but repeatedly abandoned Riah, making it clear that she was unable to care for her.
Baby Riah was subsequently admitted to New Life Home Trust from the county hospital. Upon admission, Riah was severely malnourished, still underweight, and very unhealthy. Once in our care, she was treated with intravenous fluids, bathed, fed, and given a safe space to get well without further exposure to preventable diseases.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, infant abandonment in Kenya is still very common. Often when we receive new intakes they are in need of intense medical treatment. Part of caring for these babies includes daily bathing, feeding, and medical care, which necessarily require clean, safe water.
The Water Project estimates that “in developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.” Additionally, “Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.” It would, therefore, be potentially devastating to administer medical care with untreated water.
As a registered Medical Care Centre, we are able to provide the life-saving treatments that abandoned infants often require. Using clean water means that our infants become healthy today and have fewer long-term medical costs from preventable diseases.
This means that we must have a reliable water source. This project ensures our ability to treat rescued infants with the quality care they deserve. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, “Every $1 invested in clean water can yield $4–$12 in economic returns.” Having a reliable source keeps our water supply flowing uninterrupted and prevents us from accruing further expenses because of dependence on an outside source.
By supporting our efforts to install these new water tanks in our Nairobi home, you are helping make this possible! With a capacity of 50 infants, our home is constantly in need of clean water. This project immediately impacts the children currently in our care, and the infants that we rescue in the future. That potentially impacts thousands of infants and the families they will one day become a part of; infants like Riah who would otherwise remain without a home, without the treatment they need, and without a future. Your support brings new life to once abandoned infants and allows them to thrive.
New Life Home Trust began the work of rescuing abandoned infants in Kenya over 21 years ago. At that time, in the early 1990s, a crisis of abandoned babies began as the result of HIV and poverty. It was out of this need that New Life Home Trust grew. New Life was one of the first and only homes in Nairobi willing to take in HIV infected and affected infants.
As a government-registered medical facility caring for newborn abandoned babies, an uninterrupted water supply is a life-saving necessity. When we moved the New Life Nairobi home to our current site 16 years ago, we met this need by purchasing a water tank. We chose, with much help and insight, the best available option – a pressed steel water tank with a capacity of 25,000 litres.
That steel tank served us well for a long time but, in more recent years, it has required expensive repairs and time-consuming annual maintenance. In addition, during its annual maintenance, we are required to source water elsewhere, which is costly, inconvenient, and not entirely dependable. Our current tank is now beyond economically viable repair and we are yet again looking for a solution to our water needs.
Therefore, New Life leadership, again with professional help and advice, has decided on a long-term solution. The cost of replacing our pressed steel tank with a fibreglass counterpart is more expensive on the front end, but with a useful life of around 40 years, the fibreglass tank is an investment – in our future, in the future of this organization, and in the lives of the infants we will continue to care for over the next several generations.
Part of that investment is asking others to come alongside us. We could not accomplish the work of rescuing abandoned infants without the many people who are a part of the New Life family. We’ve raised a small portion of our total need, but we still have a ways to go! Until we raise the total $20,000, we’d love for you to become a monthly supporter at any amount that seems reasonable to you and to invite at least two friends to join you.
Not one of the babies rescued would have received the care and support that we were able to offer if not for the greater number of people supporting our work. Thank you for investing in these infants, and future generations, by providing a reliable, sustainable source of safe, clean water.