“In October of 2008, we travelled to Kibera in Nairobi to visit one of the worst slums in Africa.The object of this visit was to meet with a truly remarkable lady by the name of Mama Tunza, who has the mammoth task of looking after 80 orphan children in what can only be described as Dickensian Conditions.
“These children are housed in a tin shack which consists of 2 bedrooms, with no sanitary facilities, electricity or running water…This is poverty and hardship at its worst and if we as a community can’t come out here and do something about this, well, it won’t be for the lack of trying”
Finding the Site
Through GVN (Global Volunteer Network) a New Zealand Charity, we have managed to acquire a one acre site in the Ngong Hills which is approximately seven miles outside of Kibera. The contrast between the two places is staggering. As you leave the stench of the open sewers of Kibera and head to the open beauty of the Ngong hills, you realise that this is where we can really make a difference to the lives of 80 African orphans by building a new orphanage for them in the Ngong hills.
In June 2009, we travelled, 31 volunteers in all, to Ngong to build a new orphanage with proper living conditions, sanitary facilities , electricity and running water. It was a phenomenonal task. Contending with the heat, local materials and dirt track roads the workers raced against the clock to build the 5,000 square foot building in just two weeks. €68,000 was raised and spent on the orphanage. As well as working on the building, some of the volunteers also brought the children out on day trips to animal sanctuaries and parks around Nairobi. For many it was their first time setting foot outside the slums.
In August, 2009 100 children moved into the orphanage. In the end it was 5,000 square feet with an extra building onsite to house the orphanage kitchen and 2 extra bedrooms which we hope to rent to overseas volunteers. 100 new beds, mattresses and blankets were bought as well as new ovens and a mini-bus. A new playground and football posts were provided also. Free from the threat of violence the children will have green fields in which to play. They will also now receive their right to an education as the local village school is within walking distance from the proposed site.
More work is to be done, Mama Tunza will need help to manage and develop the new location. It is everyone’s hope that more adjacent land can be bought so that Mama Tunza can plant her own crops with a view to becoming self-sufficient. In the Shelter Children’s Rehabilitation Centre a few miles down the road, they keep cows, sheep and chickens, even selling some surplus at the market. A well established funding structure means they can afford to send some of the children to university to study agriculture, teaching or medicine. They even have rooms where volunteers from abroad pay a small fee to stay there and help out.
The Shelter Model is the vision for Mama Tunza’s and it is this hope for the future that enthuses the volunteers to come out again to continue the work that they have started. In November we hope to have a donor fund a 300 chicken/laying programme and milk cow. Together, we can play some part in “touching and rebuilding Africa” and giving these children a brighter future and a chance of an education.