Between March 22nd and April 28th, ADDHU’s team went back to Kenya, accompanied and helped by volunteers and foster parents Patrícia Soares, Carlos Dias and Cecília during the first two weeks of the mission, as well as “regular” volunteers Susana e Gonçalo.


Besides the awaited reunion with the children of the Wanalea Centre, other initiatives were developed, among which the distribution of food in the Nairobi slums and the delivery of Gifs of Hope to their beneficiaries.
 

Wanalea Children’s Home – Foster Home for orphan and abandoned children

Once again, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the children of the Wanalea Centre and were very happy to verify that all the children are well and healthy, that they had good grades on their school exams and, all in all, are very happy with their life at the Centre.

Gakii, the newly arrived little girl who came to us at the end of October 2010, is already perfectly integrated : she already speaks a fair amount of English, she can now read and write and she has managed to enroll in her first year of primary school.

Enrolling the children in a school outside the Centre has had a very positive impact on their lives: they have become more open, communicative and outgoing and this has boosted their confidence. All of them are also doing better in school since their last exams, in November 2010. During a meeting with their teachers, we were extremely proud to hear their evaluation and feedback. They all emphasize the children’s exemplary behavior, as well as their solidarity, help and family values.

The children started their holidays on March 31st. On the last day of school, we attended the school’s end of term celebrations, which included traditional African dances and sports events such as football and athletics tournaments. We discovered that the Wanalea children love to play football, and that Edwin and Dorcas actually won the prize of best football players in an interschool tournament! It was extremely gratifying to see the children so happy, playing with their friends.

Since the children were on holidays for the whole month of April, volunteers and the ADDHU team organized several activities to keep the children happy and occupied: the children divided their time between manual work and artistic activities, games and sports in the garden, dance sessions and acting activities, with a lot of joy and fun.

On April 24th, Easter Sunday, we were able to take the children out to lunch at a restaurant thanks to the generosity of volunteers Susana and Gonçalo, who offered the lunch to the Wanalea Centre. Back at the Centre, during the afternoon, it was with a sense of euphoria and excitement that the children searched for the Easter eggs and other treats hidden in the garden by the Easter Bunny, a tradition unknown in Kenya that the children loved and quickly embraced. We spent the rest of the afternoon singing and dancing, and eating sweets and chocolates!

We now have 7 rabbits at the Centre, 2 adults and their 5 babies. The little rabbits’ birth caused great joy at the Wanalea Centre, since the children love to take care of them. They treat them with a lot of tenderness, and take great care in feeding them and cleaning the place where the rabbits sleep. Besides the rabbits, the Centre also has some chickens and a rooster: a small chicken coop was built in order to increase the number of chickens and produce eggs for consumption and, in the future, for sale too.

The construction of the chicken coop is part of our sustainability project for the Centre, which we consider a priority. The general goal of the project is to partly ensure the Centre’s sustainability through the implementation of profitable activities destined to finance the daily functioning of the Wanalea Centre.

Besides the eggs and chicken coop, we expect to start the sale of homemade pumpkin jam and chocolate crepes soon.

With the help and support of the volunteers and foster parents, important renovation and improvement works were undertaken at the Centre, namely the complete refurbishing of the kitchen and the bathrooms, where new ceramic tiles were placed, the reconstruction of the exterior latrines and the installation of a hot water boiler. The volunteers also undertook some painting.

 

Kitui Nodgo slum

On April 6th 2011, the ADDHU team went to the Kitui Ndogo slum where the Kenyan association FOC - Foundation for Orphaned Children – works, supporting approximately 70 children, 7 of which are supported by ADDHU through the Wanalea Foster Parent Program.

More than 50 liters of milk were handed out to the Kitui Village Nursery School children. Clothes donated to ADDHU were also distributed. Samuel Muuo Mutinda, student of the Kitui Village Nursery School, received a School Kit through the Gifts of Hope Program.

During this visit, the ADDHU team verified that the sponsored children are happy, well fed and in good health. Francisca, Adam and Victorine, the children presenting the most serious health problems, have grown considerably and their diseases are under control. Adam and Victorine can now receive all the necessary treatments to control and manage HIV. They have also been regularly checked in order to oversee the progress of the illness. Access to adequate healthcare and an improved diet have been crucial to Adam and Victorine’s healthy development.For these children with a fragile health, the Foster Parent Program has not merely contributed to significantly improve their quality of life, it has literally saved their lives During this visit, the ADDHU team verified that the sponsored children are happy, well fed and in good health. Francisca, Adam and Victorine, the children presenting the most serious health problems, have grown considerably and their diseases are under control. Adam and Victorine can now receive all the necessary treatments to control and manage HIV. They have also been regularly checked in order to oversee the progress of the illness. Access to adequate healthcare and an improved diet have been crucial to Adam and Victorine’s healthy development.For these children with a fragile health, the Foster Parent Program has not merely contributed to significantly improve their quality of life, it has literally saved their lives.

For these children with a fragile health, the Foster Parent Program has not merely contributed to significantly improve their quality of life, it has literally saved their lives.

 

Soweto slum in Nairobi

On March 28th 2011, the ADDHU team undertook its first visit to the Soweto slum, where it met with Calvin Matsita, founder and director of God’s Vision for Africa, a Kenyan NGO partner of ADDHU. More than 200 liters of milk and around 300 packs of cookies were then distributed to approximately 200 children of the Cityshine Primary School.

On April 19th 2011, the ADDHU team went back to the Soweto slum to hand out the following Gifts of Hope : 3 School Kits containing one backpack with notebooks, a pencil case and school books, 3 Oral Hygiene Kit which include 2 toothbrushes and toothpaste, 4 Women Dignity Kits with 12 packages of sanitary pads each.

During our visits to the Soweto slum, we had the opportunity to meet and socialize with the two children supported through the Wanalea Program: Abedneco Wanza and Sylvia Meli. We were very happy to see that both are well and healthy, and that they have been doing really well in school. The improvement of their quality of life brought on by the Foster Parent Program is clear. They now have new school uniforms, the books and notebooks they need to study, their diet has improved (instead of 1 meal a day they are now able to have 3 meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner) and they can go to school without fearing to be sent home because the school fees have not been paid.

A school uniform, complete with shoes, backpack, notebooks and school books, was also handed out to a child of the Cityshine Primary School, offered by volunteers and Foster Parents Patrícia and Carlos.

One of the biggest challenge and problem faced by these children is food insecurity and hunger. It is urgent to create a School Food Program to provide these children with at least one meal a day.

Thanks to a generous donor, whom we thank, the School Food Program will start in May 2011. Approximately 700 children will thus start getting one meal at school (lunch), which will considerably contribute to the decrease of food insecurity, malnutrition and undernutrition that greatly affect these children. The Food Program will also encourage children to attend school on a more regular basis, allowing a significant improvement of their performance and results.

Gifts of Hope received between December 2010 and April 2011 were duly delivered to their beneficiaries and were received with a lot of joy. Once more, we verified that these small gestures make a huge difference and do bring hope to those who receive them. The program has been very successful and donations have been coming in steadily, mainly thanks to the Gift of the Month campaign to which people have responded in a very positive way.

 

Trip to Kisii

Between March 1st and 3rd 2011, the ADDHU team went to the Kisii region to deliver Gifts of Hope to the beneficiary families. 2 cows, 2 goats, 3 roosters and 9 chickens were delivered, as well as 20 mosquito nets, 10 Women Dignity Kits (120 packages of sanitary pads) and 20 blankets. The gifts were, once again, met with a lot of excitement and joy, as well as the ADDHU team who seems to have really earned the respect and the affection of the community. The community appeared, once again, extremely motivated and committed to managing the gifts in the best way possible, so that everyone can benefit from them, showing a true spirit of solidarity and mutual help.

Through the Gifts of Hope Program, the construction of a house for Linet Moraa, more commonly known as Mama Sagini, a widow with 5 children (one of them a newborn), was started. This woman, who is around 30 years old, lives in extreme poverty and food insecurity, and is homeless. Her house was destroyed in a fire and she has been living on the streets with her children for the past 6 months. She is unemployed and her children, namely 3-year-old Edwin, suffer from serious malnutrition. They do not attend school and are sometimes forced to steal food from the neighbors’ garden to eat... Fortunately, they will soon have a safe home where they can restart their lives!

 

Message from Laura Vasconcellos, president and founder of ADDHU and the Wanalea Children’s Home:

How to measure poverty? Hunger? Having nothing? After all, what does “having nothing” means? For us, the problem is often choosing between Being and Having and, in the world we live in, the latter almost always wins, because Having is deeply mistaken for Being. I am what I have! And in what terms do we measure what we have and thus what we are? To what can we compare? To what we feel we want or what we have to have? Who can measure such things?

But for many, most of the world population actually, these issues do not even exist, because it is about something much more basic, more pressing and more urgent: survival. Where can I find shelter? Will I have something to eat or will I have to suck on rocks to trigger saliva and stave off hunger? Will I be safe? The saddest part is, this happens mostly to children who, faced with this basic and instinctive issue of survival, don’t even know they can dream, that there is something out there called future and that if, if only things were slightly different, they could... they could even Be, for Having would no longer exist above all, Being would! I say it and affirm it knowingly. I know what I am talking about. My experience with the children of the Wanalea Centre in Kenya revealed to me something that should, in the end, serve as an example for many of us, including me : what I can Be, not what I can Have.

And here we are, back to the beginning of this issue: in order for these children to Be, someone must Have, so they can build their dream and achieve their future. So let’s put solidarity in the limelight and let’s give up on some of our Having so that these children and others might Be.

It is in difficult times, like the ones we are living today, that we see our Having so threatened and almost confused with survival, with the essential, that we owe Solidarity to those who truly “Have nothing”, not even the dream of Being.

And, above all, let us be altruistic and let us not abandon those who cannot be abandoned, and let us refuse this tendency of sheer and selfish individualism that has led us to the mess of a world we live in.

I deeply thank all foster parents of children of the Wanalea Centre and Kenya’s slums, all volunteers and all those who support us with their Gifts of Hope in all forms and shapes, that so often represent a word of appreciation and incentive, for you place the Being of these children above your Having.

The ADDHU team thanks all who support the children of the Wanalea Centre and the Nairobi slums, and who contribute to our projects in Kenya, particularly the volunteers and foster parents, without whom none of this would be possible...

Thank you for your support!
Asante sana!