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Newsletter - Maua Street and Destitute Children's Home

NLN newsletter autumn 2014

School hols in Kenya and the children have been busy gardening and writing letters

The children at our Street Children’s Home in Kenya have been doing a spot of gardening over the summer, helping to develop our new keyhole gardens. These are a type of kitchen garden designed by experts in the international development field. They look like a keyhole from above and are especially useful on land lacking in good soil because the central 'basket' is perfect for compostable waste and grey water.

It has been quite a steep learning curve to understand how these gardens are to be properly done, but our hope is that in the future they will provide a cheap source of nutritious fruit and veg for the children.

The children have also been busy writing letters to all you UK sponsors who have given so generously over the last year. We will get these to you asap – the Kenyan postal system isn’t always the fastest!

Spotlight on more of our amazing team in Kenya

In one of our recent newsletters we introduced you to some of the inspirational Kenyans who run our project – the children’s matron, their pastoral care worker and our office secretary. This edition it’s time to shine the spotlight on three more team members.

Firstly, Paul M’itubu. Paul has been working at the Children’s Home for the last two years as the security guard– a crucial role in a country where crime and security risks must be taken very seriously. Before he worked with us, Paul did security work in Laare at two Catholic organisations and a supermarket. Paul says that the most rewarding part of his job is "when he sees that the children are safe under his protection and all the property is safe".

Next, our cook Antony Murungi Ntongai. Antony has been with us almost two years now. Trained in hospitality, Antony previously worked as a chef at Cottolengo Boarding school and Akirangondu Boys school. Providing three nourishing meals a day to all the children at our home and the staff as well is no small feat – there are over 40 hungry mouths to feed. In a country where food provisions are scarce and costs are rising, Antony has to be very skilled at making the food stretch to so many.

Finally, Jane Kendi M’Inyingi. Jane joined our team as the grounds cleaner in February 2013 when the Training Centre was opened. With our large compound made up of the workshops, the children’s dormitories, dining hall, toilets and office spaces, Jane has her work cut out for her, especially without cleaning aids we take for granted in the West like a vacuum cleaner and plentiful water.

Update on the New Life Training Centre

Our hairdressing and tailoring trainers– seen here with the children’s pastoral care worker and one of manager Ambrose Gichunge’s sons.

Hairdressing and tailoring courses at the centre continue to help disadvantaged young people move one step closer to becoming work-ready adults able to earn their own way out of poverty. The trainers are showing incredible dedication, as while they initially received a small wage they are now working on a voluntary basis while we look for further funding.

These trainers’ salaries and the essential running costs for the centre are among our key fundraising targets. Our other target is to be able to continue and intensify the business skills training for the staff and former street children who are keen to help run the centre. Our goal is to be able to appoint an MBa qualified manager in Kenya who can train and mentor these young people and staff day by day, until they are empowered and confident enough to run the centre as a social enterprise themselves.

To understand how pressing this skills development need is, it helps to remember that our existing staff team have been primarily motivated into this line of work by their compassion for street children rather than their business acumen. Also, as is common among all but the very fortunate in Kenya, they haven’t been able to afford the expensive fees needed to gain business degrees and so are now having to learn ‘on the job’.

Our UK team have been working hard towards reaching these fundraising targets, and we have several successes to report. Firstly, we are delighted to announce that we have received further financial backing from the charitable foundation PKCF - one of the funders whose previous generosity enabled us to build the centre. Secondly, we recently made a successful application to the 10 Per Cent Fund at Saint Paul's and Saint George's Church in Edinburgh, which is committed to giving ten per cent of its income to support relief and development work. We are also grateful to one of our individual donors, whose immense generosity in recent times has helped us greatly. And finally, our Co-Founder Miriam Westendarp spent an enjoyable Sunday attempting to keep up with the hundred-strong Zumba dance crowd who gathered for a marathon dance session in aid of our charity. A big thank you to Chesham Zumba for organising the event.

The money raised from all these successes will help us move slowly but steadily forward towards achieving our goals for the New Life Training Centre. However we do need to keep on working hard to locate other sources of funding. So if you are able to follow in the footsteps of the Zumba dancers and organise a fundraising event, or if you think your company could offer us some support, then we will be tremendously appreciative! Contact us with your bright ideas at

The New Life Training Centre with the Nyambene Hills in the background

How you can help – raise money for the children AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOURSELF!!

If you regularly shop online at stores like Amazon, Argos, Tesco and other leading brands, you can use Give as you Live to raise money for the street children we support in Kenya without it costing you a penny extra.

Give as you Live works with thousands of well-known stores that have agreed to donate to charity every time an online purchase is made. All you have to do is sign up to shop through Give as you Live and select New Life Nyambene as your chosen charity, which takes seconds. Then, whenever you shop online, some of the price of your purchase will go towards our work - all without any extra cost to yourself whatsoever!

Find out more and sign up with Give as you live here. We recommend the one minute film on their website if you want to understand more about how this works.

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