Kaloleni is a small market town 50k north of Mombasa in the coastal region of Kenya where the main crops are coconuts, rice and sisal. There is very little industry, high unemployment and, until recently, very poor communication by road. The construction of good roads is underway and this will make a huge difference to the development of the area.
Hunajeza means ‘we can make it’, and the women’s group which started feeding local orphan children is determined both they and the children they cook for, will indeed ‘make it’.
All the children attend local primary schools and at lunchtime each day they are allowed to walk to the small church and hall where the programme is based. Karibuni helped them to build the very good permanent hall which is used as a dining room and also by the church for their events.
The women’s group has been very active; raising money by letting out chairs, huge sufurias (pans) and plates, and by selling water from a massive water storage tank in times of water shortage. They also made banana fibre mats and roof tiles and sell them in the markets. However these women are getting very old and several have died in the last couple of years, so the project is struggling.
There were no paid staff in this programme – the cooks were mothers and grandmothers whose children are beneficiaries, but they now have to employ a paid cook.
They have started a nursery, but have problems paying the teachers.
Several years ago they were given money to start a tailoring project to enable primary school leavers, who could not afford secondary school fees, to learn a skill and earn some money. They have three sewing machines, including an interlocking one and are making school uniforms for sale.
During her 2016 visit, our Trustee Joy took dresses and bracelets to the project, made by students at Princes Risborough School, Buckinghamshire.
The children were shown how to make simple bracelets from loom bands which they loved, never having seen them before. Every child went home with at least one bracelet.