Every February our trustees visit our projects in Kenya to see how progress is being made and how money is being spent.
The Trustees visiting Kenya this year are Joy Murphy, Nigel Roberts and John Cotton. Here they are pictured with Mercy Kendi who heads the Meru Township project.
Here’s what they were doing on their trip:
Today we visited the project in the Embakasi slum. Karibuni sponsors six children per year into the Nursery school. We took a pile of clothing, crayons and pencils, plus used tennis balls supplied by Bierton Tennis Club. We’ll be distributing more to other projects in the coming days. The children were delighted!
Here are some of the children sponsored into the Nursery school this year at Embakasi. They are pictured with Johnson, the project’s social worker.
Today we visited Kawangware Nursery School. Most of the children at the nursery are fee-paying and Karibuni sponsors three new children there every year who then progress into the Primary School. There’s a total of 33 sponsored children in the Academy.
Here are some of the children having their post lunch nap while the sun is at its hottest.
We spent today visiting homes in Nairobi’s Kibra slum.
Natalie and Natasha are twins living with their widowed mother Alice and their four brothers and sisters in a small mud walled hut deep in the slum. Alice’s only source of income is what she earns as a hairdresser, charging the equivalent of £2 a time. On the day we visited she had her first customer for five days.
The twins have recently been sponsored by Karibuni to join the Tusaidie Watoto Nursery School. When, with Makena Anampiu, the project’s senior social worker, we visited Alice in her home, we were able to present her with a knitted blanket made by one of our supporters. She said the blanket will be used to cover the twins at night.
Here are the twins eating their lunch in the Nursery School. They are wearing school uniforms supplied by Karibuni Children.
After leaving the Tusaidie Watoto Nursery School sponsored children go to a local Government Primary School where class sizes often exceed 100. These children come to the project for a meal after school and, when there are no school commitments, they come on Saturday mornings. They sang, recited and acted for visiting trustees and also met Rev Maureen Jones, who was instrumental in starting the project.
Here, trustees also met a group of Karibuni Alumni, young people who have completed their studies or who are in tertiary education.
The Meru Township Project started off as a feeding programme for children from the adjacent slum and has progressed to become a fully developed project, taking children into sponsorship at Nursery school age. Today, we joined children having their lunch.
We also met Martin who has graduated from the project, having studied for a nursing diploma. He was proud to tell us that he has been appointed to a job at a local hospital. He “gives back” by volunteering in the project and mentoring children who face challenges similar to those he had to overcome.
We also caught up with Mercy Kendi, who leads the project.
At Mwithumwiru Primary School in Meru, Karibuni Children provides a regular grant so that children from the poorest of homes can be fed at lunchtime. We also support a Special Needs class.
On arrival we were met by the school’s Deputy Head Teacher and the Chairman of the School Board. Joy Murphy was invited to plant a tree to mark the long running partnership between Karibuni and this school.
We met the children and teachers in the Special Needs Class and also visited the kitchen where we met the cook who has been working there for many years.
All over Kenya, people are hoping that the “big rains” will start soon. In the meantime the soil has dried out and dust rises in clouds at the slightest disturbance. There was certainly plenty of dust to see in the playground of the Wesley Empowerment Centre, Njoro when we visited. Some of it found its way onto the children’s clothes, as this picture demonstrates!
We’ve arrived in Tharaka, a very arid rural area. Every year Karibuni sponsors nine children into the Nursery class of Kamatungu Primary school.
We visited the home of Ann, a five year old who lives with her younger brother, mother and grandmother in a small mud walled hut. Ann has been selected by the project to be sponsored by Karibuni. T
he sole source of income is a small shamba (farm) where they keep chickens and grow crops of beans as and when there is sufficient rain. Ann’s mother had prepared a cup of tea and boiled eggs and then appeared from her hen house with a squawking hen which she presented to Joy Murphy. Some quick thinking followed and Joy asked that the hen should be kept on the shamba until she returned to collect it. It is really humbling when we are offered gifts from the very little such families have.
Among the other children taken into sponsorship this year at the Tharaka project is 5 year old Tony. He lives with his mother, brothers and sisters in a tin roofed mud hut. The family is very poor yet Joy Murphy was presented with yet another chicken – which we asked Ann’s mother to keep until we return some time.
As we left we spotted a toy which Tony had made out of plastic milk bottle tops. He was evidently very proud of it and was happy to be photographed together with his sister who was wearing her Sunday best dress in honour of our visit.
With help from Wingrave Ladies Sewing Group, Karibuni has been supporting the Special Needs class at Kamatungu Primary School for some years. We provide an annual grant to enable the teachers to purchase materials such as beads which the children and young adults use to make craft products such as table mats.
The class are always delighted to see us when we visit.
This time their parents and guardians, who are very poor, were keen to show their appreciation and we were presented with a goat! The idea was that it would provide us with a good meal before we leave Kenya. In accepting the generous gift we asked if the goat could be kept at the school until we have need of it. We all agreed it should be named “Karibuni”.
“Karibuni” was last seen making his escape across the school playground!
The Tharaka project is led by George Mwabu, an inspirational young man with a very strong commitment to the development of children from the poorest of backgrounds.
The project operates from an office which was constructed without any external funding, with the cost being met from within the local community, including George and members of his Board. The land was donated by a local school which also donated a tree for roof timbers. Some of the building work was undertaken by Eric, a young man who was sponsored through the project and trained as a mason.
A much larger building is now planned. This will be a Community Resource Centre with a library and computer room. It will also be used for training. Although parents of sponsored children are very poor, they have shown their support in clubbing together to buy chairs for the project. Over 60 have been bought so far.
Here are the visiting Karibuni trustees with members of the Project Board:
As well as sponsoring the education of children from the poorest of backgrounds, the Tharaka project aims to help their families to improve their situation. Many are subsistence farmers with small shambas (plots of land). Next to the project office is a relatively small area of land which is intensively farmed. The project has planted several varieties of commonly grown trees, sugar cane and vegetables with a view to showing local farmers which varieties grow best in the particularly dry climate of Tharaka.
Irrigation is via a relatively simple and cheap to construct water storage tank. Chickens are immunised at birth and surplus serum is shared with local families.
This “Demo farm” is popular with families, who see for themselves what works best. It is also valued by the wider community.
Limuru is located in the hills to the north of Nairobi. The climate is ideal for growing tea and many of the inhabitants are employed as tea pickers. The area in which the school is located backs onto the Misri slum. Many of the children sponsored by Karibuni Children at this project come from that slum area.
Although with the help of two generous donations from Karibuni supporters some of the corrugated iron school buildings have been replaced, others are in a very poor state of repair. The thin walls offer little protection from the cold mornings, wind and rain.
Don’t forget you can find out more about our projects here.