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Newsletter - Maua Street and Destitute Children's Home

Three more children rescued from the streets

We have cause to rejoice this summer because as a result of new sponsors offering life-changing support to our Children's Home, we are now in a position to rescue three more precious children who until now have been facing the terrible trauma of life on the streets. Mary Kinya, Paulina Kananu and Kevin Mugendi will now have not just a loving home and the sustained care they need to heal, but also the chance to go to school and develop into self-supporting individuals with positive and fulfilling lives.

Here are their stories told in their own words. You may find the content very upsetting.

“My names are Mary Kinya I don’t know my age. I am in the street now for 1.5 years. My father died in 2009 leaving me and my older brother with my mother. My father died because of HIV Aids. After the death of my father my mother turned to be a drunkard. She could come at night and being so drunkard she did not bother to care for us. My mother was also an HIV Aids positive and she became very sick. In 2010 she also died and left me with my older brother. We decided to go to stay with our Aunt. At the beginning our Aunt was kind to us but after 6 months she changed and became hostile to us and started beating us every day. My brother ran away from my Aunt’s home in December 2010 because of the beatings and from that time I have never seen him again. I was left with my cruel aunt who was always quarrelling and beating me. One day in 2011 she beat me and sent me away from her home saying that I am eating her food for nothing because I am doing no work for her. Without knowing anywhere to go I decided to go to the streets.The life in the streets was the worst and very difficult but without anywhere to turn back I was to stay in this difficulty condition. I am now relying on my street boy friends to get food and for their protection at night from the big boys who force us girls to have sex with them.I and other street children eat leftovers from the dust-bins. Some nights I spend night without food when we have scarcity of it and again because we compete to get them – the stronger you are the more you can get from the dustbin. I always sleep in the streets and when it is cold we sleep in groups in the compost pits.”

 

“My names are Kevin Mugendi. I think I am ten years old. I have never seen my father. I and my mother were staying alone in a small rented house. My mother was employed as a bar maid and during the day she could leave me with our neighbour children to play. The neighbour was giving me food during the day together with her children. Unfortunately my mother was very sick and after the time went on she became very weak and unable to work. After all, my mother died. That was early 2011. After her death I stayed with our neighbour for a short time but she started quarrelling and beating me. Most of the times she would give me hard work which I am not able to do because of my age, but despite my age she beat me for not completing the work. Surprisingly she was not beating her children for the same. In April 2012 one day she came home very drunkard. She took a rope and tied my hands in a pole and started beating me, she beat me and left me there for the whole night my hands tied in a pole and with no food. In the morning she untied me and left me free. From that time I ran away from her home. I struggled to get a job but in vain. I then decided to join street children’s life. I thought it could be easier but the big boys does not let us get food from the dustbins and I sleep with empty stomach. I was now to teach myself to get up early in the morning before the big boys so that I can go to the dustbins when they are still asleep. Life here is very difficulty. The big boys are beat me when they are annoyed or even where they have their own problem.”

 

“My name is Paulina (Poly) Kananu I am 8 years. My mother died when I was a small child as I am told. After her death my father married another wife. My step mother had two children with my father. Unfortunately my father became sick and after a short time he died. He left me with my stepmother who was always unkind to me she sometimes denied me food and I was to sleep hungry. After staying a while in my father’s home she took her two children and went to be married. She left me with a neighbour where I stayed for a month. After one month she started to be cruel to me she was telling me to go and find where my mother went. One evening when I was washing the utensils one of the glasses fell down and was broken. She was furious, she beat me and chased me away at night. I pleaded with her but she could not hear. I had to ran away and spent the night in a nearby bush crying. In the morning I went back to her to plead more for forgiveness but she refused. She told me to accompany her she would show me where my mother works. After reaching Maua she told me to sit in a shade she will go to call my mother. She had told me my mother did not die as people say, she knows where she works. I waited for the whole afternoon without seeing anybody. From that day I have never seen her again. When the evening came I had nowhere to go and I don’t know anybody. After all I had nothing else to do at night I had to join the children in the streets. I am now 9 months here in the street but I would very much like to go back home. This is not a place to stay because I always rely to one of the big girls who I call “mother” who protects me at night and who can give me some food when big children do not let me collect from the dustbin. The worst thing I see is that when girls go with boys I am very worried and fear of it. Sometimes the big boys beat me so that I can leave them with big girls.”

 

Social Enterprise Training – A vital fishing rod for our team in Kenya

We are now able to move forward in our plans to engage the help of the East Africa Social Enterprise Network (EASEN), thanks to the great generosity of three of our UK supporters who recently each gave donations of £1000 and over, and thanks to our funders,Artemis,who raised over £600 through selling our new gift cards. EASEN will be working with our team in Kenya over the summer to advise themhow to create a business plan for transforming our Vocational Training Centre into a social enterprise that in the long run can cover its own running costs. We have decided to prioritise funding this training as our efforts to secure another major corporate sponsor for the centre have so far not bornefruit. We will, of course, continue our support for the team as they learn skills new to the traditions and thinking patterns of their community. It is a period of challenge, which they are facing with determination and admirable open-mindedness.

Providing this training for us is David Kairo who manages the Centrefor Entrepreneurship and Leadership at KCA university (the Kenya College of Accountancy).

David and the other trainers have extensive links with social enterprises throughout East Africa, and with their local knowledge will be well placed to offer guidance on what kind of business model has the best chance of success in Kenya. As well as carrying out a one week intensive training with our teamand helping them create a business plan that defines the way forward,they will also offer crucial ongoing mentoring over the weeks that follow.

We are deliberately timing the training with the start of the summer holidays for local schools and polytechnics so that the older orphansat our Children's home can take part. These young people might well be the future of theVocational Training Centre, which seems the perfect chance for them to fulfil their dreams of 'giving back' and making a positive impact in their communities. In a country where women and girls are still treated as second class citizens, we are making it a priority for the women and girls involved with our charity to participate in the training. One of the other trainers Mary Kamore should offer great inspiration, with her impressive background in business and extensive education both in Kenya and abroad.

Kenyan community rallies around

As part of his response to the new challenge of sustaining the Maua Vocational Training Centre (MVTC) themselves,Ambrose Gichunge, our manager in Kenya,is doing a brilliant job of inspiring people in his community to donate towards our work with street and destitute children. As well as championing New Life Nyambene, Ambrose also leads a network of over 35 churches that make up the New Life Church of Kenya. Ambrose tells us that he and the other pastors are asking church members to give a small amount for the children each month: "We decided to continue to preach to both our Christian and non-Christians the essence of love to our neighbours especially the poor and the needy who we want to help to be self-reliant in their future lives". The sacrificial nature of this giving is amazing, given how little this community have themselves. Ambrose has set up a group called ‘Friends of the MVTC’ to which several of the trainers have agreed to belong, donating small amounts of their salary. This creates a sense of commitment to the venture, as well as ownership; and already the mindset of the community is focusing more on solving its own problems rather than looking to us to do so.

And finally....how you can help

As a small charity with an ever increasing number of mouths to feed, our funds are continually stretched to their limit. You can now make one off and monthly donations to support our work with vulnerable children using our charity checkout account. As ever, every penny that we raise goes directly to the children in Kenya as we have no paid staff in the UK, only volunteer fundraisers.

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