We are very pleased that we can post a word from the trustees:
When we first heard that Apache ix had offered us corporate sponsorship we thought it was too good to be true. Having met Andrew in Kenya during August 2016 I never doubted that it was a genuine offer but as we are such a small charity we couldn’t believe the level of support we were being offered.
Our charity was set up by 3 young volunteers in Nakuru Kenya during 2009. They saw a children’s home that they were volunteering in being closed down. They felt the idea of the children returning to unsafe poverty stricken environments was awful so set about fundraising to re-open the home. One thing led to the next and as we now have come to expect from Kenya the plans changed greatly. The 3 volunteers (our chairperson Gemma, treasurer Becky and trustee Ben) ended up building their own children’s home - The St Jerome’s Centre. Two other trustees, myself (Beth) and David, were volunteering in Nakuru in 2011 and heard about the project through Gemma and we’ve never looked back since. The home was opened in 2012 with 8 children, 4 from the original orphanage and 4 from a street children’s rehabilitation centre. The last trustee Hazel joined in summer 2012 after meeting me at university. So as 6 students we set about running this charity.
Safe to say there have been many ups and downs along the way but we are all so proud of what we have achieved. To date we fully support 33 children of all ages, providing them with food, shelter and education. They come from a variety of backgrounds. Whether they lived on the streets, had families affected by the HIV epidemic, suffered abuse at home or simply were too poor to be able to have basic needs provided for them. We also employ 9 full time staff paying them a fair wage to support so they may support their families.
One of the largest hurdles we have faced is deciding how to deal with our children growing up. The centre has children from 6 years of age to over 18 years and once they finish full time secondary education we needed to decide how to support them best. This is where the idea for the halfway house came about…..
This February we purchased more land in the same village as our current home. On this land we intend to build one bedroom self-contained units/ apartments in a secure compound. We hope that as our children grow older we can use this to help encourage independence. The eldest children at boarding secondary school can stay here free of charge in their school holidays and learn to cook, clean, wash clothes etc. for themselves. All under the watchful eye of our social workers who will be just around the corner at St Jerome's children's home. Then when the children leave secondary school and continue either into employment or further full time education they can rent these apartments from us for a reasonable price so that they can 'get their feet on the ground' before moving onto full independence from the charity. Kindly, some final year architects at Cardiff University have designed the halfway house for us and we have since successfully obtained planning permission. We are thrilled to say work on the project has now begun under the guidance of Mark, a carpenter from the UK who has volunteered for us in the past.
The day to day running of our home is supported by our wonderful sponsors and we are so grateful for their continued support, without them we would not be where we are today. However projects such as the half-way house require fundraising over and above this which can often prove problematic. Without Apache ix and the support they have provided we would not be where we are today with the project. The progression on the halfway house is rapid so keep an eye on this blog for updates and photos of the build.