Looking back, 2011 has been a great year for the St Andrews Baby Unit it Kenya and as the year draws to a close, it is ending on a high note. Since the unit opened its doors at the end of 2007, the aim has always been to provide shelter for babies and infants who have been orphaned, abandoned, neglected or are in need of care for some other reason. For those who don't have families, or whose families are unable or unwilling to look after them, it was hoped that foster families could be found with the prospect of fostering leading to adoption. 2011 has been the year where we have seen systems put in place and our first two foster placements going ahead. Reports have been received this week that the first boy to be fostered has successfully completed three months of fostering and the family is seeking to apply for adoption. This is fantastic news and we hope that 2012 will see more children enjoying life as part of a family. Another achievement this year has been the enrolment of six children from the St Andrews Baby Unit at the Kandara Children's Home ECD (Early Childhood Development) Unit. Located within the same compound as the baby unit, the ECD Unit prepares young children for school and also caters for their first three years of primary education. The advantage of this particular unit, another project supported by Vision Africa, is that the class sizes are very small so students get plenty of attention. In recent months, the language skills of the toddlers from St Andrews Baby Unit have developed immensely as they have started conversing in Kiswahili as well as their mother tongue Kikuyu. Learning at such a young age will stand them in great stead as they progress to primary school. 2011 has seen two new arrivals at the St Andrews Baby Unit. Priscilla's mother was unable to take care of her when she was born so after a few weeks in hospital it was decided that she would be better place at the unit in Kandara. The hospital continues to provide formula milk for her and she is a healthy young baby. Just last month, the latest arrival was brought in at less than a week old. His mother had abandoned him at a clinic and couldn't be traced so the authorities decided to place him under the care of matron, Lucy, and her team. Mwaura is a healthy little boy and becoming more alert as each week passes. Another success story his year has been baby Emmanuel. Born on Christmas Eve last year, Emmanuel was just a few weeks old when he was brought in to the St Andrews Baby Unit. For several months, he remained very underweight despite the care and attention he was being given. Things slowly started to change and now Emmanuel is a bright little boy who is very alert and seems to enjoy being in the company of the other children while he sits watching them. Without your support, children like Emmanuel, Priscilla, Mwaura and the boys who have been fostered wouldn't have the care and support of the St Andrews Baby Unit. Everyone who contributes something really does help ensure that these children have brighter futures. On behalf of the staff and babies we would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported the unit in 2011 and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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