1995 was the year the DVD was introduced to the world, Windows95 was launched and Amazon began its online shopping take over. In the 20 years since then, the mobile phone has become smaller and internet has transformed the way we work. In that time, the Karibuni Children has also grown to become an integral part of many projects supporting children in Kenya.
2015 has seen the Karibuni Children celebrating its 20th anniversary and its impressive achievements over the past two decades. The £2.56 that founder Corinne Murphy deposited in a bank account in 1995, has been transformed into an income for the charity of nearly £200,000 a year with the unwavering support of her parents Bill and Joy Murphy and a dedicated group of volunteers.
Focusing on improving the lives of street children in Kenya, the charity now supports 14 major projects across the country and works with countless numbers of children and their families, through schools, hospitals and community projects. Karibuni has seen many children all the way through nursery and school, with some now completing further education and vocational training and giving back to their communities. It is this that makes the 20th anniversary so apt and important to celebrate.
Karibuni’s 20th birthday has seen celebrations throughout the year, helping the charity to have one of its most active years yet. Anniversary events so far have included a 1920s themed concert at Aylesbury Methodist Church in April, quizzes, and races such as a 10 kilometre run done by volunteers including Rev. Helen Kirk.
One of the highlights of the year was the Karibuni Fun Day held at Stoke Mandeville Community Centre in July. In what is hoped will become an annual event, families around Aylesbury were invited to join in with circus workshops, face painting and entertainment provided by local schools.
Over the summer, Aylesbury was visited by two of Karibuni’s workers on the ground in Kenya. One of whom, Joshua, liases with the projects on behalf of Karibuni and reports back to the trustees on a regular basis. He has been involved with Karibuni for many years and whilst visiting for the anniversary celebrations, he met and talked for volunteers, supporters and friends of the charity. The other visitor was Eric, a former project manager at Meru, now studying for an EU sponsored masters degree course in places across Europe. Both explored the delights of Buckinghamshire, London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Joshua said that to see the passion of Karibuni supporters in the UK was life changing, giving him the energy to go back and help make sure funds were being well used. He was particularly taken by a man he met who makes marmalade and jam to raise funds for the charity. Both took part in the celebratory service in July which saw trustees, volunteers and supporters come together in worship to celebrate their ongoing work and achievements.
It is not just the different events, but the variety of different people that the celebrations are aimed at and successfully engaging this year. As well as the church and beyond, the charity has forged stronger links with local school Aylesbury High, becoming their adopted charity. Some of their pupils have been volunteering in the charity’s office and helping with fundraising.
One of the key missions of the year has been the launching of a scheme to encourage individuals or groups to support young people beyond school, to university, college or vocational training. This illustrates the charity’s evolution over the past 20 years from supporting children into nursery school to enabling them to continue into further education.
The Karibuni trustees are setting themselves challenging targets to work towards. Chairman John Cotton said how they are restless to do more as they know there is so much need. He described the genuine sense of excitement and feeling of generating good will with so many people willing to get involved.
The charity has matured, alongside the children they initially supported through nursery. The gratification of seeing what can be achieved is clear, but so is how long that has taken. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to seeing the current generation of young children being supported through nursery, travel the same journey of the past 20 years when Karibuni’s 40th birthday celebrations take place.