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
The girls wanting to go to Linet's school!