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New Life Nyambene Autumn 2019

"Coming back was like coming home....."

This summer we have recruited a new manager for our work in Kenya, Benard Njeru. With management experience from the private sector and a compassion for children shown in how he has raised his deceased sister's two orphaned children, we are excited about how Benard can support our street children and put the charity on the path to self-sustainability. This isn't the first time Benard has worked for us - we employed him as a Projects Manager a few years back, but at that time only had funding for a one year contract. So it's great to now be able to welcome Benard back with us.

We asked Benard a few questions about himself so you can get to know him.....

But first - could we ask for your help? Six of the street children in our care have recently completed school. This has given them a good start, but as with teenagers in the U.K., to have a chance of getting a decent job in the current economic climate, they need to gain qualifications at college. Can you help us reach our goal of 11,775 total, which will fund all of the six college places for the next year for the street children we are sponsoring?


Benard having one of his regular virtual meetings with our U.K. Chair Miriam Westendarp to discuss the children's progress

Benard, what made you want to work for our charity again?

When I was working with NLN 3 years ago I developed a very strong bond with all the children. Working with children who are less privileged is not a new experience to me. I care for two orphans who were left behind by my late sister, so I understand children who have lost their parents and have grown a passion to help them. When my last contract with NLN was over it was like leaving home never to come back - it was a very touching moment to me and I think our team and children as well. Coming back after 3 years was like coming home to the family, everyone was excited.

Tell us a little about yourself

I have a degree in textile design and fashion merchandising and an MBA in strategic management. I have worked in companies like PUMA, AllTex and EPZ in management roles as a consultant, production coordinator, planning manager and work study officer. I also previously worked for New Life Nyambene as a Projects Manager on a one year contract. In my spare time I like to go to the gym and swimming. My personal interest is to start a cottage industry in textiles.

What are your hopes for our charity?

When I left NLN there were several projects to give the street children work skills and help the charity become sustainable - like vocational training, farming and keeping pigs and chickens. My hope is to revive and develop these projects so that the charity can start to become self-sufficient. For example vocational training could have added value if young people learnt how to make practical items which can be sold at a profit.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for charities in Kenya?

In Kenya, many organisations - fueled by greed, corruption and selfishness - have been turned into moneymaking machines. The funds, instead of being used to do the intended work, are diverted to enrich individuals. This leads to unaccountability. The challenge for charities is to reverse this damaging culture.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Having come from a poor family, my mother was always concerned with my school performance. She used to tell me "always be true to yourself and give the best of your ability. That way you will never have regrets in life". I have always applied that advice in all I do.


Benard with some of the older street children in our care, on their day off from school last Sunday

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