Posts in Kenya Trip Summer 2012
Bring a Book Distribution

Books donations at Royal Academy One of the biggest achievements of the trip so far was the books distribution. Some of the books collected from each participating school in England were carried to Kenya and handed out to schools with very limited resources in Kenya. Each school received between 90 and 100 books, which were age appropriate for the children there.

super excited

The kids were so excited even to be holding the books for the photographs, and just kept staring at them! One of the teachers at a kindergarten school was telling me that since receiving the books they have begun a daily reading session and at the end of the hour they have to practically wrench the books out of the children's hands. It is so lovely to see them using the books and enjoying them so much.

As time goes by I am hopeful that reading will become an important part of the school day for children at these schools, we will be doing lots of follow up work to keep you up to date with what is going on.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thanks for our books!

New Sponsored Child - Saidi

The most recent new child to be sponsored is called Saidi. He is a three year old little boy who lives with his mum, 6 month old baby brother Simon and three elder sisters Aisha, Pili and Riziki in a mud hut in Mtomondoni. Saidi's case is by far the most extreme I have ever seen. I am not exaggerating when I say that just witnessing the hell this family were forced to live on a daily basis was incredibly difficult and emotional.

Saidi's mum with Saidi and his baby brother outside their house. The mat they are sitting on was used as a bed for mum and the five children.

Saidi's House

She currently lives in an extremely run down one room mud shack which is in serious disrepair, but she is currently not being charged any rent by the owner of the land (a distant relative of her step mother). The lady who runs the food programme for our children at school at lunchtime helps her and gives her leftover food when she can. Without her help I suspect the family would not have been able to survive this long. Regularly they do not eat and the first time I visited them I discovered they had not been able to eat a single thing for two and a half days. When they do eat they often can only afford sima or ugali (which is flour mixed with water) and they drink only salt water. The three older girls have been admitted for free to a local school run by an English sponsor, and receive free school lunches there during term time monday to friday, however food at home is a severe problem and Saidi is severely malnourished as a result. With the mother unable to eat on a regular basis her breast milk was drying up, leaving her unable to feed her six-month old baby.

Saidi's whole family inside his house

The first priority when I met this family was to get them an emergency food parcel within hours. I soon realised how desperate this family really was when I discovered that although they now had food, they had no plates to eat it off. It was like starting from scratch completely; they had absolutely nothing. Nowhere to store water, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat from or to prepare food in, no clothes - nothing.


I was also seriously concerned about Saidi's health. Although he was almost 3 and a half years old, we fitted him for some new clothes and he needed age 12-18 months. He weighed next to nothing and had no energy at all, falling asleep every couple of hours and unable to support his own head or to sit up because of a lack of energy. I carried him everywhere because he just simply did not have the energy to walk, and his muscles were all floppy and weak. I was extremely scared, knowing that death from malnutrition is common in this area of Kenya. Before we met her, one of our sponsored children lost a sister at a similar age to Saidi due to lack of appropriate food.

We were lucky to have an expert on hand since one of the staff members on a school exchange trip taking place at the same time as our trip had been a midwife for more than 20 years. She shared my concern and was kind enough to accompany me to the supermarket to help me find the best possible way of getting as many nutrients and vitamins into Saidi as quickly as possible. She  and one of the other staff members were also kind enough to pay for the powdered toddler follow on milk we bought. This milk is designed for children from 1 year old and is rich in iron, vitamins and minerals to increase his weight and strength. That alongside an enriched diet im sure will have him running around fit and healthy in no time.

From there it was a simple matter of getting him into school. The transformation in such a short period of time was quite incredible. Within days the formula milk was beginning to show some effects and seeing him all smart in his uniform was very emotional. Even though I have only known Saidi for a couple of weeks, I already feel extemely protective towards him and can't wait to see him grow and go from strength to strength. His class teacher at school is a close friend of mine, and with her supervision and lots of love and care from our sponsorship co-ordinator Rieder, i'm certain he will come on in leaps and bounds!

We are looking for sponsors for all three of our new sponsored children, Linet, Peris and Saidi. Sponsorship costs just £75 per year and you can become a sponsor at any time. Get in touch now to start helping them along on their exciting new journey.


New Sponsored children - Linet and Peris

Hello everyone! Thank-you for your patience waiting for all the photos and news from the trip to Kenya! The internet was pretty sluggish so we struggled to make updates as regularly as we wanted to!

First and foremost let me tell you about one of the most important things we did on the trip - sponsoring three new children.

The first two are 8 year old girls Linet and Peris.

Peris (Left) and Linet (right) in their home

They live together with their two younger sisters Janet and Naomi, elder brother and the girls' guardian who is Linet's mother and Peris's grandmother in a mud built house in Mtomondoni.

(Left to right) Linet, Ferndinand (their older brother), Janet, Peris, Naomi and their mum (back) in their house

She works in a local Shamba (farm) as a farm worker to try to raise money to feed her family; but unfortunately she has never had the money to send the girls to school at all. By 8 years old, it is crucial that they begin as soon as possible so that they do not feel too out of place in the lower kindergarten classes. Whilst starting school late is common in this area, at their age we wanted to be careful not to make the girls feel too conspicuous whilst still ensuring they begin in the appropriate class for them academically. Both girls have begun in Kindergarten 3 with a view to moving them up into Standard one as soon as possible. Whilst we were not able to sponsor all four children, the director of the school we send the sponsored children to has agreed to take on the two younger girls as 'complementary' students, allowing them to study there for free without paying fees.

They are both such lively and happy girls, despite having a very difficult home life. Their positive attitude and energy is quite incredible. Linet is clearly the 'big sister' of the other three girls, always making sure she is looking after them and that they are ok. Peris is the quietest of the four, but is super excited about being able to go to school, full of smiles and happiness. All four girls were understandably nervous on their first day - Just the experience of being in a concrete building is enough of a shock for them, and I found them following me around like little lost sheep! Everywhere we turned there they were, grinning at us! But very quickly they have adapted and begun to make friends and feel more comfortable in their classes.

When we collected them for their first day at school they were clearly wearing their sunday best clothes, but despite this none of them even had any underwear. Kindly, the JCC school group who were also in Kenya at the same time as us donated some clothes to them, and their faces absolutely lit up. They were twirling around feeling like a million dollars. Seeing Peris's reaction when I pulled even the most bare essentials out of the bag of donations was one of the most wonderful moments of the trip for me. She immediately jumped up and down with excitement pointing and shouting 'For me! For me!'

The girls taking breakfast before their first day at school

To see them all so smart in their new uniform for the first time on the last day was extremely emotional, and they were so so happy and pleased, they couldnt stop saying thank-you and kept asking us to take photos so they could see themselves in their posh clothes.

Linet in her smart new uniform with her hygiene kit

Peris in her new uniform with her hygiene kit

They are all incredibly excited and cant seem to stop smiling. I can't wait to watch them grow and progress in school, to begin to feel like they belong there and to do well. This opportunity truely has changed their lives, I cannot thank all our donors on their behalf enough for what they have done for them.

Enjoy the photos - as always they say far more than I ever could!

Mosquito nets from Old Mill and christmas packages

6month old twins snoozing under your net We were lucky to be able to visit most of the families who received mosquito net donations thanks to the christmas packages and the donation from Old Mill PTA.

Many of the families we visited were in truely desperate situations. Tiny houses with just one room and very many children and adults staying together. No electricity or running water made daily life difficult for the vast majority.

Mosquito net in use with a 3month old baby

All the mosquito nets were clearly being used, although many people did not have a bed to hang them over! Instead babies and children were sleeping on the floor under the nets. All the mothers were extremely grateful for the nets to protect their little ones, one mum told us she had been really worried due to the heavy rain Mombasa has had this year resulting in lots and lots of mosquitos. Malaria is rife in these kinds of conditions with stagnant water everywhere. However thanks to your mosquito nets not one of her children has suffered from Malaria so far this year. An incredible achievement - well done everyone!

Enjoy the pictures, they say more than I ever could!