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Newsletter - Maua Street and Destitute Children's Home

Winter 2011 Newsletter from New Life Nyambene

Two more children rescued from the streets

We have recently had two new arrivals at the Children’s Home – a boy called Franklin Mwebia and a girl called Damaris Kangai. As with all the children at the Home, our mission is now to give them the long-term, consistent loving care that is necessary if they are to heal from the terrible trauma they have faced. Damaris’ story helps illustrate the kind of experiences our children are recovering from. Damaris was made an orphan when both her parents died of HIV Aids, and was taken into the care of her uncle. While still coming to terms with the loss of her parents, she faced the horror of witnessing her uncle being shot by robbers. With no one else to turn to, Damaris was forced out onto the streets to scavenge for food.

Buy a Christmas gift that will make a difference

For a feel-good gift this Christmas, our charity cards are just the ticket! Starting from as little as £5 for a card, this is your chance to buy a Christmas gift that will pay for food, shoes, school equipment and essential medicines for the street children we care for. Cheques can be made payable to 'New Life Nyambene' and sent to 11 Market Place, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1HS. For more info visit

Famine relief programme

A big thank you to all of those who gave to our recent famine appeal. We raised a grand total of £850 towards the costs of providing emergency food rations to the families in the region who have been worst hit by the drought and food shortages.

Sophy reports on her recent trip to Kenya to film a documentary about our Children's Home

“Although I have visited the home a few times before, I had never been out to Kenya with the resources (or even the prospect of resources!) with which to make a film. Having never filmed in a developing country, it was important to go out to test the practicalities of production - especially how the equipment would stand up to the environment and which characters would shine when put in front of the camera. As the children have been through so much trauma and Kenyans have a typically private culture, they sometimes found it difficult to express themselves clearly or in detail. I imagine it is almost impossible for the children to talk about their experiences on the streets without having to numb themselves to the difficult emotions that those memories bring up. The language barrier was also a challenge at times, but my translator Jane was generally very good at helping with this and many of the key staff members speak very good English and were a pleasure to interview.

I also had the good fortune to be there only a week after our newest addition to the home had been rescued – Damaris Kangai. Damaris and I quickly became firm friends, and her story was fresh in the minds of the pastors who had worked with her leading up to her rescue, which gave a natural hinge to the storyboard. I also saw the children in their school, spoke to their school principal and went to the streets with Ambrose and his team to visit some of the remaining street children who have yet to be rescued. Meeting these children I found myself humbled by the weight of the task we have ahead of us, but together I know we are making strong strides to rescuing more and more. Overall, the trip was very productive and I hope you will enjoy watching the film as much as I have enjoyed making it.”

PLEASE NOTE: Sophy hopes to have the film ready early next year. We will let you know once it is online.

“From small beginnings come great things” – an update on the vocational training centre

In the previous newsletter we reported on our funding successes, which now enable us to extend our reach to the many other young people still living on the streets in the region where we work. We plan to establish a vocational training centre where destitute young people will learn the transferable skills they need to find work and build a life away from the cycle of poverty. Our long-term goal is that the centre will not only offer a vital training opportunity to disadvantaged young people, but will also successfully contribute financially to ensure the sustainability of our charitable work.

The ball is already rolling, with the team in Kenya having completed the purchase of the land on which the centre is to be built. In the last few months we have been working hard on the architectural designs for the centre, which are being drawn up by our chairperson Charles Westendarp (whose other role is as a qualified architect with Hawkins Eades Associates). Our goal is to build not just the standard 'tin shack' common in the region, but something innovative, durable and eco-friendly. What follows are some of the key features we have been researching. The challenge will be whether we can afford these features with the funding we have been allocated, and whether materials can be sourced locally.

To help us carry out these ambitious plans, we are working to identify people in Kenya who can offer support and guidance to our team in Maua. Whether or not we can involve external consultants will however depend on how far our funding stretches. With regards to project managing the building work, we are exploring using the services of Frin Consult, a company that manages construction projects for Safaricom (Kenya's biggest mobile phone provider, with whom we have made useful links). We are also researching sources of advice on social enterprise, and have made contact with Social Enterprise Development (SED) Consultants in Nairobi.

To conclude, next year promises to be an exciting, challenging one for New Life Nyambene and we are so grateful for your ongoing support. In the meantime… the children in Kenya wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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