Karibuni Children started with Corinne Murphy opening a bank account with £2.56. She had been inspired to do something about the children she had seen living in the slums and on the streets of Kenya.Since then Karibuni Children has given practical hope to hundreds of needy children, supporting projects which operate where the need is greatest.Corinne was restless to make a difference – and we remain restless to do more, to give more children the chance to fulfil their potential.We may be a relatively small charity, but that gives us advantages. We can be nimble, making quick decisions when the need arises, lines of communication are short and we are close to the projects we partner.Within the UK Karibuni is run by a group of volunteers, who combine their different skills and experience in running the charity, publicising the needs in Kenya and raising funds.
What do we do?
In the UK, we raise awareness and funds to support partner-projects in Kenya. As a result Karibuni has grown year by year and we now have a base of loyal supporters spread throughout the UK and further afield. But the support we provide in Kenya is not confined to money, critical though that is.
Most years, Karibuni volunteers are to be seen working alongside our Kenyan partners, building, renovating and decorating classrooms. Practical help is greatly valued by our partners and it gives our volunteers an invaluable insight into the challenges which the schools face day-to-day
Put simply, our objective is to help the poorest of the poor to fulfil their potential. And the great thing is that each year we are taken aback by the excellent results achieved by children living in the most challenging of circumstances.We believe that, with the support we and our partner projects provide, those children can go on to become independent, productive citizens who will make a positive contribution to their country.
When we stand and look over the massive slums of Nairobi we know that the scale of the need is huge and this could make us question what difference we can make. But we also know that for each and every child we support we can and do make a difference. And, like Corinne, we are restless to do so for more children.
That’s what drives us on. If that strikes a chord with you then please consider how you could lend us a hand.
Meet some of our Trustees and Volunteers
John Cotton – Chair
I first came across Karibuni’s work through my local Methodist church. Subsequently my wife, Sheila, and I got to know Bill, Joy and Corinne Murphy, who happened to live nearby.
Soon after my retirement from full-time employment in 2005 I helped to run a strategy workshop for the charity’s Trustees and subsequently joined a work party trip to Kenya in 2007. Later that year I became a Trustee and in September 2009 I took over from Bill Murphy as Chairman of Trustees. Karibuni related work occupies much of my time, including annual trips to Kenya to visit our partner projects. Amongst other things these trips provide fresh material for various speaking engagements in the UK, which are a great way to share the Karibuni story and to recruit new supporters. I do so enjoy talking about the way in which Karibuni has transformed so many young Kenyan lives. As Chairman I am supported by a pro-active group of fellow Trustees and a growing team of volunteers who are equally committed and support our work in many different ways.
Most of my working life was spent with Barclays Bank where I undertook a mixture of roles ranging from Regional Director for West London, Group Human Resources Director and Group Property Director. I am married with three grown-up children and five grandchildren. Apart from enjoying the role of Grandpa, my hobbies include gardening and walking. In 2009 with another Trustee, David Welsh, I completed the 500 mile pilgrim trail across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
Joy Murphy – Trustee
I was born in Hessle, Yorkshire and brought up in Blackpool. I then trained as a Paediatric and General Nurse in Manchester and was a Staff Nurse for a year before spending a year nursing in the children’s hospital in Sydney, Australia, before returning to the UK to marry Bill, a Methodist Minister in 1963. I retired from the NHS in 1999.
I have four children, thirteen grandchildren and two great grandsons of whom I am very proud and love to spend time with.
During our shared ministry Bill and I served in Basingstoke, South Lambeth, Dorking, Northwood and Amersham, before retiring to Aylesbury. In 1990 we took part in a ministerial exchange for 7 months with a Kenyan Methodist Minister to Nairobi, Kenya, and with our daughter, Corinne, had many life-changing experiences.
When Corinne founded Karibuni Children in 1995 we both became Trustees and Bill the chairman until 2009. As Trustees we continued to travel around the country raising awareness about the needs of vulnerable, poor children and money to support the projects caring for them in Kenya.
With others we visited Kenya each year to meet and share with the people involved there, plan future support and funding.
Since Bill’s death in November 2012, I continue to be committed to Karibuni and the work in Kenya, and am inspired and encouraged by the children and staff there to keep on telling the story and raising funds.
One of the great joys of visiting Kenya each year is to meet up again with all the children and staff in the projects and to see for ourselves the results of 22 years of support – confident young men and women in responsible jobs, contributing to their families, the local community and especially to the projects which nurtured them. Asante sana Bwana Mungu! (Thank you Lord God!)
Corinne Murphy – Founder
In 1990 I saw two young children lying, almost curled up at the bottom of a lamppost on the streets of Nairobi.
They were dressed in very little. The clothes they did have on were torn, fraying and filthy.
They didn’t move.
They were starving.
It was rush hour and noisy but, standing not far from the children, I could hear them.
Their crying was weak.
They looked so fragile.
They had no energy.
I clutched my Mum’s hand.
I desperately wanted to gently pick them up and take them away.
“No” we were told. They ‘belong’ to someone. They are ‘owned’.
Tears came to my eyes.
I wanted to reach out… but was told I couldn’t.
I wanted to love… but felt my love was forbidden.
I had to walk away.
I had to leave them.
Three years later I was involved in a car accident. My injuries were severe. I was paralysed and had a major operation on my throat. The treatment I was given saved my life.
Six months later the memory of those two young children came back to me.
Where are they now?
Still on the streets? Sniffing glue? Still crying weakly, praying for a little food to be given to them that evening? At least enough to enable them to cry the following day.
God forgive me.
Where are they now?
God be with them… wherever they are.
Those children became a vision.
A vision that became Karibuni Children.
A vision to stop that happening to any other child.
Peter Wells – Trustee
I first joined Karibuni whilst working in Nairobi throughout 2011, acting as a “courier” each time I travelled between the UK and Kenya. Visiting the projects and the townships whilst there made me realise that I couldn’t just turn my back on the plight of millions of Kenyans and so, upon returning to the UK, I joined the happy band of volunteers working out of Stoke Mandeville who keep things ticking over on the home front.
After a career spent almost entirely in management in the IT industry, I find myself helping out in the administration of our database and various other tasks as required and I’ve enjoyed joining a working party in Kenya. A member at South Harrow Methodist Church, in the Harrow and Hillingdon circuit, I had also been involved in youth work for several years but was pleased to hand over the baton to daughter Catherine a few years ago.
I was flattered and pleased to be asked to become a Karibuni trustee and I hope to be able to serve this wonderful organisation for many years to come.
Michael Carr – Trustee
I first came across Karibuni’s work through a visit by Bill and Joy to Oakley Methodist church for a mission’s weekend. For many years I was active in running an MAYC youth club so hearing that Karibuni arose from an experience Corinne had at a London MAYC event spurred me into taking a closer look at the work of Karibuni Children. Subsequently we have enjoyed the company of Bill and Joy at a number of fund raising events at Oakley Methodist Church.
Most of my working life has been spent in Central Government and in particular the Foreign Office. My work at the Foreign Office necessitated a number of visits to Kenya and other African countries so I gained first hand experience of some of the difficulties facing children in impoverished parts of Africa. I am now working part-time as a director of Malcolm Reading Consultants in central London.
I have been married for many years and have 2 grown up sons. I am a Methodist Local Preacher, and local church property steward. To relax I just disappear into my garden which gives me a great deal of joy.
Nigel Roberts – Head of Fundraising
Having spent 30 happy years in banking in and around Windsor, north London, the City and West End I managed to make my escape in 1999 initially on secondment to WheelPower, British Wheelchair Sport. The first few years were spent in re-developing the Stoke Mandeville Stadium and focussing the charity for the future. I continue to be involved as a trustee and chair of the Finance and Management Committee.
Awareness of the struggle faced by those from poor backgrounds who had often missed continuous education was raised through some time spent with Business in the Community in projects in inner London and in prisons. Travel to many less developed countries revealed the enormity of the challenge faced by the disempowered. It was also possible to see that well managed small scale and enduring programmes can make a profound difference to communities.
I became a trustee of Karibuni Children in 2014. In 2015 I visited many of the projects Karibuni supports and witnessed children from the most unpromising family circumstances transformed through education into confident young adults capable of making their way in the world and improving the lives of their families and communities.
Away from involvement with physical disability and children’s education I was chair of trustees of South Bucks Counselling for 6 years. Travel, walking, gardening and watching performance of music & dance renew my energy.
David Welsh – Trustee
My first meaningful participation in charity work was as a member of Round Table but that was very localized. I became aware of Karibuni Children through the Chairman, John Cotton, a friend of over thirty years. In 2009 I raised some money for Karibuni by trekking across Spain and that led to my joining a visit to Kenya to see the projects. That visit convinced me that this is a charity to which I should contribute more time and effort.
Working life finished in 2003 and was all spent in banking in a variety of businesses within the UK. Whilst over sixty, I still enjoy squash and hill walking although the theatre is increasingly becoming a more comfortable hobby.
I am married with three children. My wife sponsors a student at university and my three children are all supporters too. So it is something of a family cause.
Pat Wignall – Head of Finance
I met Bill, Joy and Corinne in 1998, through the Methodist Church in Aylesbury. Bill invited me to join the Trustees as treasurer for Karibuni Children. I have dealt with the finances since then and watched the income grow through the work of the Murphy family.
I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, involved in training and consultancy rather than the preparation of accounts or tax matters. I work for myself in a business with my husband.
I have a teenage daughter who is a keen musician, so we spend a lot of time at concerts, listening to her play in various bands and orchestras. This is no chore for her parents as we both enjoy music, and as she has developed her talents, the concerts have got even better! I enjoy singing and take part in concerts with the choirs I am a member of.
As a family we also enjoy walking, theatre and a recent addition to the family, a Golden Retriever puppy.
Paul Ingram – Trustee
A retired architect living in Buckinghamshire and a member at Aylesbury Methodist Church where I first met Bill and Joy Murphy when they ‘retired’ into the Circuit. I became very interested in Karibuni from its inception in 1995 and was pleased to be able to help grow the work from Corinne’s initial vision and her opening bank account with £2.56.
I was privileged to be invited in 2003 to join the very first Karibuni work party and it proved to be a very humbling, enlightening and rewarding experience. I was driven to visit again in 2005, when we were able to construct new classrooms (Kenyan style) at one of the projects.
Following the death of my wife I visited a third time in 2010 and on my return was pleased to respond positively to an invitation to become a Trustee. I have just (Feb 2017) returned from my fourth visit where again I was able to observe further development and considerable progress in many of our projects, as well as the joy of working alongside an energetic work party and locals, who together were able to make substantial improvements to the classrooms erected in 2005.
David Farmer – Trustee
I was first introduced to Karibuni’s work in 2019 by Nigel Roberts, one of the existing Trustee team. Nigel and I had worked together in 1986 and, having kept in touch, Nigel was aware that, after 39 years, I had decided to retire from Barclays and that I was keen to support charities in the fields of Education and Mental Health. Further discussion with Nigel and John Cotton, where they explained that they were looking to bring in some “younger blood” [Ed. younger blood at 59, seriously?] to the Trustee team, led me to join the 2020 Trustee visit to Kenya, as a volunteer, chief minute taker, and spreadsheet guru!
During our visit, I had the opportunity to visit the major Karibuni projects and meet a group of great people who our key partners in Kenya. At each project, I was also able to visit a couple of homes within the local slum and hear the story of each family, first-hand. A number of these stories were quite difficult to digest, and I was left in no doubt that Karibuni was truly supporting the “poorest of the poor”.
However, at the end of the trip, I also had the opportunity to meet several alumni, whom Karibuni had supported from Nursery, through Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education. I have enormous admiration for these young people and how they have managed to achieve so much already, notwithstanding an unbelievably tough start in life. It was also great seeing their desire to ‘repay’ the support and sponsorship they had received by helping the current Karibuni children still battling their way through similar challenges. My own family benefitted from the transformational power of education and, having met these great young people, I was in no doubt about wanting to through my time, energy and experience behind Karibuni Children as it starts its 2ndquarter century.
I am married with two grown up children and enjoy watching F1 motor sport and rugby, gardening, walking, and pint or two of real ale with great company. I have been a Trustee at South Bucks Counselling, a local mental health charity, since 2013.
Mike Johnston – Trustee
I have spent a lifetime involved in farming and the countryside and, following my posting as a Volunteer with VSO in Kenya in the 1980’s on an agricultural development project, enjoyed a career in Agricultural Education. Through it I’ve been able to travel around the UK, Europe and Australia looking at some of the experiences and challenges people living on the land face.
I met my wife whilst on VSO in Kenya and we’ve been fortunate enough to have had 4 children who have now become independent young adults who are establishing themselves around the world. We’ve always enjoyed the outdoor life and our spare time has been taken up with camping, sporting and other adventurous activities.
I have recently retired from my job as Director of Shuttleworth Agricultural College and Vice Principal of Bedford College Group, a position which enabled me to have a much wider insight and experience of education. I have seen, so often, what a difference a good education, acquiring good skills and good qualifications can make to a young person’s life.
I came across Karibuni when I was approaching retirement and wanting to contribute to an organisation that reflected the values of what has, so far, made my life so fulfilling. I hope that I am able to add to the inspirational group of Trustees and Volunteers that I have met and who do so much for the Charity and for the poorest of the poor young people in Kenya.
Jamie Currey – Graphic Design
I’ve travelled several times in the Indian subcontinent and SE Asia. During my time there I witnessed the poverty and abject conditions that many children are subject to the world over. I met many children who had no access to education and also students in education who faced having to pull out through lack of finance. I started voluntering for karibuni Children in 2008, offering my design skills for their marketing material and website and help communicate the enthusiasm and passion of the Karibuni volunteers in making a difference for those far less fortunate than ourselves.
I’ve worked as a graphic designer for over 20 years. Started my career at the BBC working in the marketing and publicity team for 12 years and now work mainly in TV, Theatre and dance marketing other clients include BAFTA, The Royal British Legion and Tiger aspect.