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 Children  Kenya Project #4104

Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families

by Raising Futures Kenya
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Hannah with her four children who we support
Hannah with her four children who we support

Hello,

This is such a strange time for all of us. Many of us are separated from our loved ones and dealing with the uncertainty and daily news updates about the COVID-19 outbreak can take its toll on our mental health, we hope you are coping ok. 

Vic and I, and our team in Kenya, want you to know that we're thinking about you. Your support during this challenging time has brought light at a time of darkness and we thank you for continuing to stand by us and these children.

As I’m sure you may expect, the schools in Kenya are closed meaning the children we support are at home with their families and not getting the free school meal they would have been getting. Many of the families we work with have also lost their only source of income due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus. 

Thanks to your on-going support, and to our emergency response fund, this week we have been able to provide emergency support to 23 families supporting 104 family members. We transferred emergency funds to them via mPesa transfer (a mobile phone currency) to adhere to social distancing rules. This enabled the families to buy a month’s supply of food, soap, hygiene products and cooking fuel. Four families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.

Winnie, our Project Manager in Kenya, speaks to the families on a weekly basis to provide specialised counselling support to help through this worrying time. She is also providing essential public health information to prevent the spread of misinformation which can be common in rural areas where the families live. We anticipate needing to provide this level of support for at least another two months as it has been confirmed that the schools will remain shut for at least another month, and restrictions on movement show no signs of being lifted at the moment meaning many will still have no means of earning an income to support their family.

It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them now more than ever, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge - Deputy Director
kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

 

  

The food Hannah was able to buy for her family
The food Hannah was able to buy for her family
Josephine with her mum and sister & their supplies
Josephine with her mum and sister & their supplies
Judy and her baby daughter
Judy and her baby daughter

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Raymond, his little sister, and his mom Linda
Raymond, his little sister, and his mom Linda

Linda is 36 years old and a mother of 4 adorable children. Things haven’t been easy for Linda, she had to drop out of school at the age of 16 due to pregnancy and got married at an early age, having a further 2 children.  Sadly, as a result of domestic violence and an alcoholic husband, Linda was forced to run away for her own safety. Her three children, the youngest being Raymond who was just 7 months, were taken in by Linda’s mother but since Raymond was just a baby and needed a lot of care and attention, the children’s officer placed him at the baby unit in Kandara children’s home. 

For two and a half years Raymond didn’t see his mother again until she was traced during the reintegration process.  In 2017, Raymond was finally reunited with his mother and siblings after months of counselling and psychosocial support for the whole family.  Happily Linda has now remarried, to a nice man called Peter, they have a daughter together and are now raising all four children together.  You can see Raymond next to his baby sister in the photo with Linda.

We are providing finance and business training and a start-up grant for families like Linda, to enable them to start a small business and increase their income to provide for their children.  Linda, who is a hairdresser, requested start-up capital to open a salon as she was previously engaged in small scale farming to support her family which didn’t generate much for them.  The group of families formed and registered as a self-help group which enabled them to open a group and individual bank accounts which they are using to save monthly.  Linda was among the first families that received the start-up capital in January so she has opened her salon (pictured).  Being an industrious lady, Linda has combined her salon business with selling second hand baby clothes, making full use of the space she rents.  She says that through this business she will be able to provide for her family’s needs as well as save for the future.  We wish her all the best as she works hard towards a sustainable future.

Over the last 3 years the family strengthening project has seen 63 children move from institutional care to family care though a vulnerable child support programme and continues to work and walk closely with these families.  All the reintegrated children continue to be supported to access education by fully paying their school fees and provision of other educational needs.  In 2019, 4 students finished high school and 1 completed vocational training while the rest are continuing their primary, secondary and vocational education.

Sustainability

The project is working with the families of the 63 children (40 households), 10 families have completed their training and were given their business start-up grant in January - they are all doing well and supporting each other to make their businesses a success.  The other families are continuing their training and will receive their grants in the next 2 months.

The purpose of the businesses are to enable the families to be financially independent, we realise it is disempowering to rely on external support so we’re working alongside the families to enable them to support themselves eventually.  We anticipate that by the end of 2021 the first group of families will be earning enough to provide for all of the needs of their family.  They’ll be empowered, not reliant on anyone else, and most importantly no child will be at risk of growing up in a children’s home because poverty forced their family apart. 

All this would not have been possible without your immense support so, on behalf of the children and families, we would like to sincerely thank you for your generous giving towards this project Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families (4104) because it is through your continuous giving that Raising Futures Kenya was able to reunite children to their parents and relatives but also bring transformation in their lives through sustainable livelihoods.

Linda in her new family salon business
Linda in her new family salon business
Elijah, a guardian, showing the bags he has made
Elijah, a guardian, showing the bags he has made
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The family meet up in November
The family meet up in November

My colleague Winfred, who is in charge of family strengthening and economic sustainability of our projects, has been working closely with the reintegrated children and their parents/guardians over the past three years to ensure that their essential needs are met and that the children can continue living in happy, secure family homes.  

As you know, we are currently supporting the children's school fees, medical and food costs to ensure the children can stay with their families.  We realise it is disempowering for the families to rely on external support so we have been working closely with them on a finance and business skills training project.  Once the training is complete each family will be given a grant to help them to set up their own business, enabling them to independently earn their own money and support their family's needs.

Two weeks ago there was a monthly meeting, this month they were discussing the self-help group which the parents and guardians had registered as part of their business training.  Formalising the group enables them to support each other once they establish their businesses, access entrepreneur development funds from the county government and have the opportunity to get loans from microfinance institutions.  They've also started a group savings programme together.  One of the parents told me that these meetings are so important to them as they provide a support network of other parents and guardians to share tips and experience.  They're really excited to be able to support each other with setting up their own businesses and helping each other to suceed. 14 of the families have now had their training and are ready to start their business! 

As it is the holiday season, all of the children were able to come along to the monthly meeting and had the opportunity to play with their friends whilst their parents and guardians were discussing their business plans.  It's always exciting to watch the joy in their faces when they get to play and chat together.  This meeting was so special to me because I haven't seen all of the children together this year, so it was lovely catching up and finding out how they are doing in school. 

I was happy to see how healthy and grown-up they all are, especially the twins Linet and Sharon.  Linet started high school a year ago while Sharon and their older sister Maureen sat the end of primary school exams and will be joining their sister in high school next year.  Among the children who were reintegrated from Kandara Children’s home, 3 girls and a boy sat for the Kenya certificate of primary education and will be joining high school while two boys have just completed their high school education hopefully to join colleges of their choice.  As I caught up with the girls, I learnt that they all want to go to the same school that Linet joined so they could be together!

Salome is one of the girls who is starting high school in January after completing her primary education.  She and her brother Daniel are living with their grandmother and an uncle in a village called Kaguthi in Murang’a county.  Salome and her brother were brought to Kandara Children’s Home after their mother passed away and nobody was able to take care of them. Salome was six years old and Daniel was just 8 months old.  Sadly their grandmother was too sick to take care of the two young children at the time, but she often visited them and took them home over the holidays whenever she could. Daniel was taken to the baby unit so he could be cared for as he was weak and sickly when he first arrived.  Both children lived under institutional care for almost 7 years.

During the tracing of parents and relatives of the children, the children’s grandmother was among the first to be informed about the programme to reintegrate the children into family homes.  Their grandmother was very excited to be able to have the children living with her since they were a bit older and she would be supported in caring for them. Initially Salome was sad to be leaving her friends behind from the children's home as they were raised as sisters and brothers but that’s one of the reasons why we ensure that the children come get together over the school holidays and spend time to share stories of their schools, family and the community they live in.  Salome and Daniel are very settled living with their grandmother and Salome has even been helping her grandmother with household chores and assisting her younger brother with his homework. We're looking forward to finding out which high school she will join and have every confidence that she will be a huge success.

On behalf of the families and children, I would like to sincerely thank you for your continuous support towards this programme. We are in an exciting phase of training and empowering the parents and guardians of the children to set up their businesses and become financially independent and increase their family living standards.  We are looking forward to sharing more news about the families and their businesses next year.

In the meantime, we would like to send you best wishes for the holiday season and a happy healthy New Year. Thank you again for your generous support, we are very grateful to you.

Salome is looking forward to starting high school
Salome is looking forward to starting high school
The girls wanting to go to Linet's school!
The girls wanting to go to Linet's school!
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Esther
Esther

A visit to families of reintegrated children was quite a new experience for me and our volunteers from the UK who had come to Climb Mount Kenya in support of Raising Futures Kenya this month.  This is because I have seen these children growing up since they were toddlers while living in the institutional care at Karanda Children’s Home and it warms my heart when I saw them again happy and contented living with their families.  

The two families we visited are living not far from each other in one of Nairobi’s slums called Korogocho.  Maggy is a single parent of two children called Emmanuel and Peter.  Maggy was also raised in a children’s home after her mother passed away.  Emmanuel, who is the older child, is now 8 years old though he lived the better part of his childhood at the children’s home because Maggy was just a teenager when she gave birth to him.  Maggy got a second chance to go back to school but unfortunately dropped out again before completing her secondary education when she became pregnant the second time with Peter.  During our visit, we learned that Maggy does casual jobs like washing clothes and selling coffee and cakes in order to cater for the basic needs of her children.  When Emmanuel was reintegrated back to his family from the children’s home, Raising Futures Kenya decided to support Maggy to meet the educational costs for her children by paying school fees, buying uniforms and other related costs for the two children to enable her cater for other necessities.  

We also met with Aunty Esther, as we call her, as she is the guardian to a young girl called Esther.  Aunty Esther lives in a single room with her four boys and she took Esther in, she became their little sister.  Esther was the lastborn in a family of four siblings.  Unfortunately her mother passed away when she had just turned one, she was then left in the care of her elderly grandparents.  Esther became malnourished and sickly as her grandparents could not afford to provide balanced meals for her and her siblings.  It was then that Esther was taken to Kandara Children’s Home and placed at the baby unit to be cared for.  She lived in the institution for 11 years, separated from her siblings at a tender age thus she did not know any of her family members while growing up.  It was during family tracing that one of her paternal aunties learned that Esther has been living at the children’s home and she willingly agreed to take her in.  Although she is now raising all the children as a single parent Aunty Esther does not regret her decision and this is what she told me during our conversation; “I am happy to have Esther as my daughter because I was blessed with only boys and she is a ray of sunshine in my house.  I will continue to work hard to provide for all my children despite the challenges of life.” Esther is in class seven and has significantly improved in her school performance.

The good news is that Raising Futures Kenya is in the process of implementing the economic empowerment programme that will benefit all vulnerable children who have been reintegrated with their families.  The organization is committed to ensuring these families have access to sustainable and dignified livelihoods by enabling them to start their own small businesses so they can become financially independent enabling them to pay for the educational costs for the children.  Maggy and Aunty Esther are among the first group of families that will benefit from the programme.  It is exciting to know that they will soon be able to earn a sustainable income and be able to provide all the necessities for the children in the families and most importantly raise their standards of living.  Raising Futures Kenya’s core belief is that by growing up with the love, care and safety of a family, children who once lived under institutional care will be able to achieve their full potential, to lead healthy, fulfilled, socially and economically engaged lives.

We wish to thank you so much for your generous donations to 'Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families'.  We feel privileged that you selected our project to support out of so many wonderful causes.  We are thrilled that you've become a part of our loyal community of supporters and we look forward to continue sharing exciting news about our project. 

Thank you!

Sherry Waweru
Senior Programmes Officer

Aunty Esther at home with the children
Aunty Esther at home with the children
Maggy and her children Emmanuel and Peter
Maggy and her children Emmanuel and Peter
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Abijah
Abijah

Meet Abijah, a grade six student in one of the public schools in Embu County. She is the last born in a family of three. Abijah was placed in an orphanage at a tender age after both her parents died. Life took a different turn and she had to grow up without her siblings and relatives around but with other children in Mbeere Children’s home.

In partnership with other key players in care reform, we worked gradually on the reintegration process and successfully Abijah was reintegrated back to her aunty and uncle and home community by the end of December 2017. She stays with her aunty and her family and attends a nearby public school.

Her aunty confesses that after the reintegration it was not easy for Abijah to cope. She was so used to living in an institution that she found family life challenging. Her aunty committed herself to support and train Abijah since she was not able to do even basic household chores; she didn’t know how to cook or wash utensils and mostly waited to be asked to do something. Her aunty says she is proud that she has successfully taught her most of daily operations and now Abijah is able to take care of her hygiene, cook well, organise her school work and basically carry out tasks without much supervision. Abijah was not affiliated to any religious activities but since she came to live in a family set up, she got interested in participating in church activities. She proudly informs us that she is an active member in her teen’s group and that she even attends classes and trainings to be baptised later this year. The cousins are all grown up and very supportive towards Abijah through socialization, mentorship and tutoring.

Abijah was a quiet and reserved girl before the reintegration but she is now very lively and able to interact more freely and speak with confidence.

Raising futures Kenya has continued to follow up and support all reintegrated children and their families. The organization partners with parents and guardians, teachers and local leaders to monitor the children’s general welfare, payments of school fees and any other related needs that come to our attention. The office also organises and facilitates holiday meetings for all reintegrated children to meet, bond and share stories about their new lives after leaving the orphanage.

Without your support we would not have been able to keep these children with their families, thank you so much for your support.

Reintegrated children get together
Reintegrated children get together
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Organization Information

Raising Futures Kenya

Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @raisingfutures
Project Leader:
Vic Hancock Fell
Nairobi, Kenya
$34,677 raised of $45,000 goal
 
1,054 donations
$10,323 to go
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Pay Bill: 891300
Account: GG4104

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