Between November 15th and December 22nd, ADDHU’s team went back to Kenya where, besides the long-awaited visit to the children in Wanalea Children’s Home, other initiatives were also taken, amongst which the new partnerships formed and the launch of the Gifts of Hope Programme are of particular note.

Once again, we had the chance to spend some time with the children at the Wanalea Centre and we were delighted to find them all fine and in good health.

Gakii, who was brought to us about two months ago by the Department of Children Services of the Kenyan government, is already fully integrated in the Wanalea family and is very happy at the center. Despite a difficult past, marked by violence, exploitation and abuse, Gakii is a strong child and a fighter, very sweet, sociable and cheerful. When she grows up she wants to be a teacher and with our help this dream will surely come true.

Attending a school outside the centre has had a very positive impact and the children are now more outgoing, communicative and sociable. They have made a lot of new friends and they are all enrolled in extra-curricular activities, which they choose themselves, such as the scouts or sportsteams. Their school results have been very good, taking into consideration the significant change going to a new school represents in these children’s lives and the process of adaptation they had to go through. They all passed their final exams and have proved their dedication to be good students. The teachers have congratulated ADDHU and its team for the Wanalea centre children’s excellent behaviour, which has surprised all the school employees and made us really proud!

The children are still receiving school support at the Centre, from a teacher who has been working with ADDHU since the beginning of the project in 2008. At the moment, 23 of the 26 children living in the Centre are enrolled at Thorn Tree School. Three of them are going to stay at the Centre until the second term starting in May in order to catch up and get better prepared for attending a school outside the centre.

The children started their holidays on November 25th and several activities were organised to keep them occupied over Christmas. The holidays were spent cheerfully and they had fun doing manual works, artistic activities, games in the garden, sports, dance and drama sessions.

On November 26th, we invited colleagues and new friends from the school to a small party we organized at the Centre with a lot of fun and games, music and, above all, cakes and candies!

We also went to the cinema and to Mamba Village, a crocodile ‘farm’ where the children were able to interact with the animals and hold the baby crocodiles. We found out that the children are very brave and all of them wanted to hold the crocodile! In the cinema, they filled up on popcorn and sweets while they watching the magic of the cinema in amazement. Thanks to Ana, a volunteer and a foster mother of one of the kids, we also had lunch in a restaurant with all the children from Centre. Thanks Ana!

The International Day for Human Rights (December 10th) was also celebrated by the children at the Wanalea Centre with a series of activities and roundatbles about Human Rights, including a presentation prepared by the children about our rights and duties, as well as a reflexion about the song “Imagine” by John Lennon, which the children also learnt to sing!

On December 17th we had our traditional Christmas Party and everybody was so happy and excited! During the afternoon, some decorated the house and the Christmas tree while others helped to prepare Christmas dinner in the kitchen, which this year included sweet rice pudding and “mandazi”, a traditional Kenyan cake, very popular at Christmas. After dinner, we sang Christmas carols in English and Swahili and the children received the presents sent by the foster parents. This was undoubtedly the moment everyone was waiting for that night… ADDHU would like to thank all the foster parents, without whom it would not be possible to give this Christmas to the children of the Wanalea Centre. Thank you for the joy and happiness that you brought to our children and for the love and affection that you give them everyday!

With the help of the volunteers who were in the centre until the end of 2010, we were able to complete some important renovations and improvements at the centre. We brought a new refrigerator, a adequate to the needs of the 26 children. We covered the area outside the house with gravel so that there would not be huge puddles there whenever it rained. We planted flowers in the garden, did repairs on the roof, created a laundry area by the water tank, with a proper cement floor and drainage, we repaired and painted some of the furniture and some walls, we installed outdoor nightlights around the house, etc. All these works were paid for with donations generously given by the volunteers who travel do Kenya to work in The Centre and who play a fundamental role in the development of this project.

One of ADDHU’s aims for 2011 is to make the Wanalea Centre partly self-sufficient, by implementing several income generating activities, the profits of which will benefit and support the Centre. Thus, in February – March 2011, we are going to start making pots of pumpkin jam, as the costs of production are very low and it is an original product, which is new to the Kenyan market.

During this ADDHU’s mission to Kenya, the Gifts of Hope Programme was officially launched, with the first ‘gifts’ being distributed in the slums of Nairobi and Kisii. Important, new partnerships were also formed with local organisations, therefore achieving one of the main objectives of ADDHU: working closely with the communities that we support to make our support more efficient and relevant, and to teach communities how to walk for themselves.

The ADDHU team visited the Kitui Ndogo slum several times, where one of our partner organisations, the Foundation for Orphaned Children, works. At the moment ADDHU has 8 children in this slum sponsored under the Wanalea Foster Parents Programme. They are all doing well, in good health and had good results at school. They received Christmas presents and letters from their foster parents and were delighted.

We took the opportunity to distribute some food during our visits to the Kitui Ndogo slum area. In total, around 100 litres of milk, 100 kg of flour for chapati , a type of bread that is very popular in Kenya especially at Christmas time, and over 50kg of beans were distributed. This benefited over 50 families who could enjoy Christmas with at least a nutritious and warm meal. Several Gifts of Hope were also given to more than 10 children from this slum, including school materials and school fees, vitamins and typhoid vaccines.

On several occasions, ADDHU’s team met with the Project Director and Coordinator of a small Kenyan NGO – God’s Vision for Africa – which helps vulnerable and extremely poor children in Soweto slum in Nairobi.

The situation these children is indeed worrying, as we could observe during our visits to Soweto. Food insecurity and hunger are the major problems the community and the children’s families have to face. The majority of children living in this slum do not even have one meal per day. There are numerous cases of malnutrition and undernourishment, as well as a high prevalence rate of HIV / AIDS, which affects mostly women and children. There are also many orphaned children living on the streets...

The school the children attend in this area, run by GVA with the help of volunteer teachers and hardly any financial resources, operates in small shacks made of torn, rusty, old aluminum sheets, which are a danger for the children having classes there.

A partnership agreement was signed with the GVA, with whom we will join forces to try to alleviate the suffering of these children and help them break the cycle of poverty. The agreement was signed after the distribution of food supplies, which would not have been possible without the help of those who participated in the Gifts of Hope programme, and donated over 180 litres of milk to the children of Soweto. We also distributed more than 100kg of highly nutritious children’s cereals to around 150 children. About 20 children were enrolled in the Wanalea Foster Parents Programme, so that they can be sponsored in the future.

ADDHU wants to continue to give these children the support they so badly need, but this is only possible with your help and we hope we can count on you so that, together, we can give these children their dreams back and hope in a better life.

ADDHU’s team travelled back to the Kisii region to visit the rural community of Kitutu and to distribute the Gifts of Hope. Two cows were given to 2 families in this community, as well as around 10 mosquito nets and 74 packs of sanitary towels for adolescents and single mothers. The Gifts were received in the middle of a big party, with traditional songs and dances from the region.

The community was very happy and above all motivated to profit fully from these Gifts and to use them for the benefit of all the members of the community, particularly the young mothers and children. The cow’s milk will be used to feed the poorest children in the community, its calves will be given to other families in the community, so they can also benefit from the food and the extra income a cow provides, and the community leaders are already taking the necessary measures to form a small milk and cow breading cooperative that will enable this community to break the cycle of poverty.

The mosquito nets were also very welcome as this part of the country is one which is seriously affected by malaria, one of the main causes of maternal and child mortality in Kenya. These nets are treated with insecticide and are highly effective in the protection and prevention of malaria: they can literally save lives!

During our stay in Kisii, we also had the opportunity to collect some important data for our projects, namely the enrollment of around 21 children in the Wanalea Foster Parents Programme. It was also possible to verify that the number of girls undergoing female genital mutilation had reduced considerably this year, a sign that our interventions in this region are beginning to have some impact in the eradication of this cruel practice. There is a clear tendency to abandon the ritual in this community and although it remains a common practice, we believe that this is just the beginning of a change in the mentalities and that if we help this community to develop, to have access to important tools such as training and education, we can definitely put a stop to female genital mutilation.

The Gifts of Hope Programme has been successfully launched and ADDHU would like to thank all those who took part in this initiative and who have contributed to changing the lives of many children and families in need. The Programme will continue to function and we hope it will continue to be a success, as it is in fact small gestures that change lives

Thank you for your support!
Asante sana!

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  • ADDHU in Kenya Nov - Dec 2010ADDHU in Kenya Nov - Dec 2010