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Newsletter - Maua Street and Destitute Children's Home

Autumn 2011 Newsletter

New Life Nyambene - rescuing abandoned street children in Kenya and giving them a future.

The best possible news! Funding success for street children's vocational training centre

We are delighted to report that New Life Nyambene has been awarded funding for our new vocational training project by not one, but two charitable foundations! Following a meeting at Caf' Africa in Buckinghamshire with a trustee for the Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation, we succeeded in impressing on their board the profound impact they could make by funding this project. And in Edinburgh and London, we fought off tough competition from other top charities to be selected in a vote by over 140 employees as Staff Charity of the Year for Artemis Investment Management LLP

With these vital funds, we can take forward our plans to establish a training centre where the young people at our Children's Home, and destitute young people still living on the streets, will have a life-changing opportunity to escape destitution by learning the skills they need to support themselves.

The centre will:

1. Train 80 young people every 2 years, developing their confidence and skills so that they can move successfully into employment and build a life away from the cycle of poverty;

2.Support young trainees to provide services in in carpentry, shoe making, tailoring and hairdressing to locals, allowing them to learn about business and integrate into the community;

3. Generate profits to reinvest into the charity, ensuring our sustainability and enabling us to rescue some of the other street children who regularly come knocking on the door of the Home.

The ball is already rolling for our vocational training project. We have put down a deposit for the land on which the centre will be built, and are in the process of finalising its purchase. One of our supporters, Benjamin Cavaghan, who runs his own carpentry business in the UK, and who previously supervised the construction of a school in Sierra Leone, is visiting Kenya for us to help the team out there to prepare building plans. Ben will be joined by Sophy Westendarp, who will be putting her expertise in the TV and film industry to use in order to create a documentary about the Children's Home and training centre. We have also been liaising with the charitable arm at Safaricom, Kenya's biggest mobile phone provider, who are based in Nairobi and thus are well placed to help oversee the development of the centre.

This funding comes at a critical time in Kenya, where the current unemployment rate is as high as 40%. This includes over 10 million Kenyans aged 18-30 who have no means to gain an income. Just as in the UK, most young adults in Kenya facing unemployment will rely on their family for food and a place to stay. But the young people we support are orphans. Unless we equip them with a way to make a living, they will be unable to break free from a life-threatening cycle of poverty as adults.

To make matters worse, Kenya is in the grip of a devastating food crisis, affecting millions of families, after the worst drought in 60 years. Following the rain failure in late 2010, livestock and crops have been wiped out and food prices have risen steeply in Kenya. The manager of the Children's Home, Ambrose Gichunge, has this report:

'The news of the famine in Kenya and particularly in Meru are very distressing as it becomes more severe as days goes on. People around us are very much affected by famine. I am sad to say that last week two children from Lukununu village died when they ate wild toxic beans because of hunger. The Igembe North District Commissioner last week sent an appeal for help to save the famine stricken families. Many people here are sleeping with empty stomachs, and if they manage to get one meal in a day they thank God.'

As a local councillor and overseer of over 35 rural churches in the Nyambene Hill region, Ambrose is well placed to mobilise his team to set up food distribution stations throughout the region, as he did in 2009 to relieve the previous food crisis. At the moment however, New Life Nyambene simply doesn't have the funds to pay for food for the local communities, as well as the children living at the Children's Home.

Can you help? Give to our famine appeal now. to make your online donation.

And finally, news about the children you help us to support:

Our little ones at the Children's Home have just started their last term of 2011 at Kilalai primary school and are getting ready for the end of year exams. 10 of our children will be sitting exams for the Kenya Certificate of primary education in November, to see if they are ready to progress on to secondary school and join the seven of our other children who are already attending different high schools in the region. Considering the crucial early years of education the children missed out on during their former lives on the streets, we feel very proud of the progress they are all making, slowly but surely.

As for the teenagers at the Children's Home, the generosity of UK sponsors has enabled the charity to continue our work preparing them for the transition to adult life. We are delighted to report that the first of our young people has found employment - Patrick Kirianki, having graduated from his studies in mechanics at Kanyakine polytechnic last December, has recently got a job as a driver. This is fantastic news - after 10 years of nurturing care at the Children's Home, Patrick will be able to stand on his own two feet and make a living for himself. Gerald Muriira, whom we reported on in the last newsletter, continues to do well in his studies at Mount Kenya University, where he is studying for a Bachelor of Education Degree in Science. And another boy, Peter Kubai, is now at the Meru University College of Science and Technology on an Electrical Installation course.

The team in Kenya report that the children are feeling 'very happy and excited' about the plans to build the vocational training centre. One child said that it has been 'the best news of the year'. It is welcome news especially for the children who have expressed fears about what the future holds for them, given their current struggles with school studies. Let us all hope that the children will feel more positive and secure in their future prospects, now that they are to be given the opportunity to learn the skills they need to make a living.

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