Umoja ready to help three more kids
GIVING children a second chance, Cathy Booth and her organisation Umojia Orphanage Kenya are looking to make 2017 a year of sustainability.
"2016 was big but 2017 will be bigger,” Ms Booth, the founder and director of Umoja, said.
Having officially opened in July and already taken in five children, the organisation is starting the new year by housing an additional three children some time this month.
"A lot of time goes into ensuring the child is actually an orphan and there is no one else to look after them,” Ms Booth said.
"Thankfully I don't have to make the decision as to which child is the neediest, because they are all in need.
"We tread carefully so that we can supply and care for each child.
"I've seen other Kenya orphanages take on 28 kids and then within a month they've closed down, which only causes more trauma for the children.”
While Cathy said the reality of the orphanage hadn't really sunk in yet, seeing the difference in the children once they had a home was incredibly rewarding.
"One thing that was really special was the abandoned twins,” she said.
"They had development delays and were malnourished.
"I left for eight weeks and when I returned the difference was amazing.”
Last year was a huge success for the orphanage with a four-level water tower being along with the two chicken pens, increasing the farm land to 1.4ha and two cows becoming pregnant.
Ms Booth said in 2016 they also had an opportunity to give young girls menstruating kits to allow them to continue going to school.
"It was also our first Christmas and a local mining company donated Christmas presents for all of the kids,” Ms Booth said.
"The mining company is an Australian one, so it was really special to have an Australian company donating to an Australian orphanage for the kids.
"They have never had a different Christmas dinner before and they didn't know how to unwrap (the presents).”
This year Umoja is raising funds for another home, solar panels and more livestock.
There will be several major fundraisers this year including a trivia night on February 17 and the annual gala ball on May 13.
Keep up to date on their Facebook or website umojahome.com/kenya.