Spring 2010 Newsletter

Dear supporters,

Thanks to your continuing generosity, New Life Nyambene continues its vital work supporting the 36 children living at the Maua Children's Home in Kenya. These children have left behind them a life of destitution, abuse and starvation. They are thriving in the loving, nurturing environment of the Home, and are doing well at the local schools and vocational colleges they attend. Below is an update on some of the charity's most recent achievements.

Kenya famine appeal

Last year we reported that Kenya had been very badly hit by rising food prices, drought and crop failure, prompting the Kenyan government to declare a national disaster. Ambrose Gichunge, who leads the Street and Destitute Children’s Project in Kenya, raised the alarm when he reported that they were having to reduce the children's daily ration of food and that the local situation was in crisis:

"The drought and the famine situation here is becoming more worse and severe. I am sorry to say that three people have died of hunger just around here (at Mutuati). Rivers are drying up. It is very serious here and most of the people (about 80% of the families) are affected by hunger. Many children are dropping out of school. Everyone here is now talking of hunger. This is very hard now and we need a lot of prayers."

Photos from Kenya

New Life Nyambene responded by launching a famine appeal through JustGiving. Thanks to your help £1,605 has been raised, plus just over £200 in gift aid. Another particularly moving fundraising venture saw some of the charity's trustees doing a sponsored fast, in solidarity with our Kenyan friends. With this money the Kenya team were able to buy 35 bags of maize and 5 bags of beans, which they distributed at food stations set up at various local churches in the area. In total, 931 men, women and children - both Christians and non-Christians - benefitted from this food. Ambrose said: "We told them that they are getting this food from our friends in UK who are in great love of them as brothers and sister. The people were very happy and cheered a lot. They asked me to tell you that they say a “big thank you” to you all and your friends who donated to save these people lives."

New website for New Life Nyambene - photos, short film and moving stories from the children

After four months of hard work by the trustees and our volunteer web developers, the charity now has a new website! Find out about our history and mission, read new stories from the children about their life before coming to live at the Home, view lots of new photos and watch a short film about the charity, complete with the heart-warming music of the Kenya Boys Choir. Our thanks to Jon and Klervi at Priory Web Services for all their help.


Challenging Political Corruption - Birth certificate issues for the children at the Home in Kenya

The manager of the Kenyan team Ambrose recently reported problems acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards for the children at the Home. As in the UK, these official documents are vital for life in Kenya - for example children require them in order to register for their school exams. But for our children, who arrived at the Home with only the clothes on their back and who have no contact with their parents (many of whom died through illness, deprivation and HIV), acquiring these certificates has been something of a challenge. Up til now Ambrose has got around this problem by registering the children at the Home under his name, as their legal guardian in the absence of their parents. However, he recently faced a very challenging situation in which the local official who issues the documentation tried to extract a bribe from Ambrose for the certificates. Understandably Ambrose was extremely worried about this situation, and considered appealing to the national government for help resolving the matter. With prayers and perseverance, and through sticking to his principles never to accept a bribe, Ambrose has however managed to obtain the agreement of the local official to continue issuing the children with the documents.

Chocolate fountains, home-baking and staff vs pupil netball - Schools fundraise for Kenya:

Fernhill Primary and Secondary Schoolin Glasgow has made New Life Nyambene one of their chosen charities to focus fund raising efforts on this school year. This Catholic school has an impressive track record of teaching about Christian principles of social justice and active contribution to society. So far, the pupils have raised money through a special collection at their Christmas concert, a staff vs pupil netball match and a non-uniform day at school. The senior school have also donated the profits from their school dance. We are looking forward to visiting again in the summer term to see how much they've raised for the children in Kenya.

Dr Challoner's High School in Buckinghamshire continues its support for the Maua street children's home. This Spring term, two girls in year 8 organised their whole class to make cakes which they then sold door to door in their street, raising over £100. At the end of term another form rose to the challenge and put in a huge effort to produce an Easter Extravaganza in the School Hall one lunch time. There were raffles and games and a chocolate fountain. Not surprisingly, the other pupils flocked to the event. In total they raised £240. There has also been a very generous donation spontaneously given by the family of another girl in Year 8.

Kenya team member visit to the UK

We are delighted to welcome Henry Imunya, one of the Kenya support team and son of Ambrose Gichunge, to the UK for the first time. This is Henry's first time abroad and as you can imagine quite a culture shock! Henry's visit has been independently funded at no expense to the charity. He will be helping out at at Gold Hill Church and is looking forward to meeting some of our supporters in the coming months.

Current pressing needs - How you can help

Two UK sponsors for children at the Kenya Home have recently dropped out because they could no longer afford to continue with their monthly donations. This brings the total number of children who currently have no sponsors to three and we urgently need to plug this serious gap. Emphasising the urgency of the situation, Miriam Westendarp from the UK support team comments:

"These three were taken off the streets years ago and have grown up in our orphanage, trusting us to complete their education so that they can become independent adults with a viable future. To abandon them now would be unthinkable as we are so near to fulfilling their goals and they have become happy and successful at school. None of them realises that their futures are once again in jeopardy: we are protecting them from that anxiety because, having spent years on the streets, the fear of returning would be too traumatic for them, and we are trusting that cover will be provided swiftly so that they only need know when the address to which they send their letters and cards changes. Their sponsors have dropped out because a change in life circumstances has meant that they are no longer able to provide regular funding for the children."

Photos of children from the project

Beatrice Kendi / Florence Mukami / Joseph Kimani

Can you help provide these children a lifeline? Contact us on info@newlifenyambene.org. Or if you know someone else who might be able to help, please forward this information to them.

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