“It is 6am in the morning. There’s a familiar noise of singing in the background. It’s the kids and their upbeat prayer songs – a ritual practiced every day before they get ready for school. School they may not have ordinarily attended…
My name is Melissa and I’m a volunteer at New Hope Children’s Centre in Uplands, Kenya; a place I discovered through Intrepid whilst planning a safari in Kenya.
According to UNICEF there are over 2 million orphans in Kenya, making places like New Hope nothing short of a miracle. What started as a home for girls housing 25 kids is now a ‘loving home’ for over 140 children from the age of one year to 18 years old. This is due to founders Anne and her husband, whose love for these kids and passion for creating a future for them, is evident from the moment you meet them.
I’ve learnt of many stories of how the children came to be a part of New Hope. Sadly they are not uncommon stories in Kenya, or Africa as a whole. Most of the kids are not necessarily orphans. They may come from a single parent family whose main guardian has either passed away, abandoned them or simply is not in a fit state to take care of them. Some were left on the streets to beg for food and money, on occasions being forced into acts of crime just to get by. The youngest child was four weeks old when she arrived. I’ve also witnessed the intake of 3 new children since we’ve been here. Positive changes in these kids are quite noticeable after just a few weeks!
Take a look around New Hope today and what you see is one big family. Smiling and happy kids who have been given a second chance. The Centre makes sure every child is educated, well fed and in good health and this is all made possible by the generosity of volunteers and donors. This support extends into the local community, where Anne allocated funds for the building of homes to cater for elderly grandparents of some of the children. These homes can then remain in their families for generations.
Each child is encouraged to follow their dream, with former New Hope children studying medicine and law at university as we speak! This generosity breeds generosity as I have even heard some of the older kids talk of how they too want to assist in changing the life of future children coming to the home, to say thanks for what has been done for them.
I finish up at New Hope shortly, after 10 immensely enjoyable weeks. My days have been filled with numerous ways to get involved. The kids relish attention and companionship from an elder. I’ve helped with cooking and cleaning (although this was not expected), picking vegetables from the garden, feeding the resident animals, homework assistance, outdoor activities, visiting local schools and the list goes on. I’ve heard people here say that they are lucky to have us at the Centre, but I am the lucky one. I feel extremely privileged to have been welcomed so warmly into this family and their lives. It has opened my eyes up to many things and for that I am forever grateful.”
The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support New Hope Children’s Centre and other great organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!
* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.
Photos: © Melissa Biki