Milele means ‘forever‘ in Swahili and is a very small charity which Rich and I set up in 2008.
We are a sponsorship programme, so we sponsor the education of children from the townships just north of Mombasa, Kenya.
Although education is at our heart, we have grown and learned a lot along the way and now Milele is really much more than that. We have a food programme and a healthcare programme for our children as part of a really holistic approach. We also provide access to counselling and psychological therapy, as well as social and emotional educational input. All of our children come from very vulnerable backgrounds and many were at very high risk of issues such as child marriage, early pregnancy, HIV or just simple malnutrition before we sponsored them.
Our children are all different, and as such have different needs and require different support. We have built personalised plans of care for every child, tailored around them and their family to help keep them safe, healthy and happy.
I always think of Milele as a way to give children a choice. So many babies in this area are born with their lives mapped out for them – I truly feel this is outrageous and it makes me angry when I think of the injustice of it. Children have their whole lives ahead of them, they have a basic human right to an education, a right to decide for themselves what they want to do and who they want to be.
All 18 of our children are at different stages in their personal journey, from their first baby steps in Kindergarten to heading towards university graduation. Most importantly, all our children are in school and learning, progressing and able to make choices about their future.
This success is thanks to YOU! Milele sponsors, volunteers and supporters. You are changing lives, you are making a difference – so be SUPER PROUD OF YOURSELVES!
We thought you might be chomping at the bit for more information about the first four sponsored boys on the programme, so we thought we would give you a bit of background to them and why they are sponsored now.
When we first met Charo, Safari, Kaingu and Emmanuel they were four brothers in a family of 11 children, all staying in a dilapidated mud hut in a rural village called Takaungu; about 40 minutes north along the coastline from Mtwapa. The family consisted of 7 girls and 4 boys, their (estimated) ages ranging between the eldest at 15 years and the youngest at 2 years. The ages are all estimates since the children don’t know their dates of birth and because they were not born in hospitals but in the village they do not have formal birth notification cards!
The boy’s father had recently passed away, and his three wives, the mothers of the children, had all abandoned them. They had one uncle who was attempting to help them with food and clothing, but who was also struggling to feed his own family. Consequently, they were living alone. The boys were working in a local quarry making bricks to earn a small amount of money for food, but the family were struggling to make ends meet. The house they were sleeping in was impossibly small, with almost no furniture and all four walls were in a state of severe disrepair; it was clear they could not remain in this situation any longer.
We began to look for alternative accomodation for all the children, hoping to find them stable places to live where they would recieve food, water and access to education. The chief of the village and the district childrens officer along with some relatives of the children we traced in Takaungu all suggested children’s homes to be the best option and the search began!
After finding many homes full to the rafters we came across Riziki Children’s Home, and New Light Boys Home. The guardians at these homes were happy to accept the 8 youngest children and so four of the girls are now staying in Riziki and attending school there. The eldest 3 girls are now living in the village with their uncle, but without the babies to look after, are able to go to school and feed themselves more easily.
1 year on, Charo, Safari, Kaingu and Emmanuel are now fully settled into the New Light Children’s Home in Mtwapa and are firm friends with many of the other boys living there. They are also now attending Mtwapa Academy, one of the best schools in the area, and are newly sponsored as part of Milele.
We are intending to help New Light and Riziki Childrens Homes in their respective endeavours to begin a regular connection and link the boys and girls together again. We also hope to instigate visits between the boys hometown of Takaungu where the eldest sisters are staying and the two homes so the connection between them does not weaken.
Over the next few days we are hoping to post some individual profiles of the boys so you will get to know them with us!
Fun On The Run kindly gave Milele more than £60 which has been generously donated over the past 3 months by the customers to pay for tea, coffee and biscuits…(I hear the chocolate ones are particularly popular!) Thank-you Tracey for your thoughtfulness!!
A Very Big Day for us! The RAG society at Sussex University in Brighton were kind enough to vote Milele in as one of their 3 chosen charities for the whole year! An extra special thank-you to Lizzy who is the president of this society and has supported us endlessly ever since!