By Vivian Ambasa Alubai
On May 20th, 2023, STCP organized a fundraising event to support orphanages in Kenya. On August 22nd, I traveled to Kenya to purchase essential items for the children using the funds raised. Two days later, on August 24th, 2023, I had scheduled visits to two orphanages in Nairobi.
My first stop was at Christ Chapel Children’s Home in Huruma, a low-income residential area in the northeast of Nairobi, adjacent to Kariobangi, Dandora, Moi Air base, Mathare, and Eastleigh. Huruma, also known as ‘Mji wa Huruma’ (translated as ‘Home of Mercy’), was established in 1978 as a settlement for Africans forcibly evicted from Cheleta coffee plantation due to a change in ownership. The slum faces numerous challenges, including a lack of basic infrastructure, overcrowding, and poor living conditions.
Upon my arrival at the orphanage, I found the children having lunch. I had a conversation with the home’s manager about its progress. The orphanage houses approximately 86 children, ranging from infants to college students. I was able to purchase food items and hygiene products for them and had a brief interaction with some of the children before heading to my second appointment at Mama Elizabeth Home in Korogocho slums of Nairobi.
Korogocho is the fourth largest informal settlement in Kenya and is located near one of Nairobi’s major rubbish dumps, known as Dandora. The orphanage, now run by one of the foster kids, provides a home for 61 children, including orphans, neglected children, and vulnerable kids aged 3-17 years. It was founded by the late Elizabeth Njeri Kamau, who passed away from cancer in 2019. Two weeks before her death, she entrusted the responsibility of running the home to one of her foster kids, who had been under Mama Elizabeth’s care for 29 years. The home also serves the local community by providing meals to 300-400 needy children daily, distributing sanitary towels to girls in need, and supporting local teen mothers aged 14-17.
Mama Elizabeth Home relies on the generosity of well-wishers to care for its 61 school-going children, run the feeding program, provide sanitary towels, and cover school fees and other educational needs. I was able to purchase enough foodstuffs to potentially last them for three weeks. When I arrived, the children had just finished their lunch.
The orphanage is currently housed in a temporary, unfinished structure on land donated by the county government. The space is limited and includes a kitchen area, a small room for watching TV, another room for studying, a toilet and bathroom, and two separate bedrooms for boys and girls with bunk beds. In the evening, I had the opportunity to meet some of the children who were patiently waiting in line for their evening meal. The queue included children as young as 2 years old and teen mothers carrying their babies. Many of these children were not residents of the home but were beneficiaries of the daily feeding program provided by this orphanage. They brought their bowls and plates from home and eagerly awaited a meal.
Due to the challenging living conditions in the slum, which include alcoholism and other difficulties, this orphanage serves as a refuge for many young children in the community, offering them hope amidst their daily struggles. The children were overjoyed and grateful to receive the supplies that we purchased with the funds donated by STCP. This experience was incredibly humbling yet deeply satisfying, as it fulfilled one of my dreams – to make a positive impact in my community.
I am immensely thankful to STCP for their support, as well as to every participant who contributed to this noble initiative. I look forward to more opportunities to serve my community and others, continuing to bring positive change to those in need.