Between July 27th and August 27th, ADDHU’s team, composed by the president of the NGO Laura Vasconcellos and the project manager Carolina Vasconcellos, went back to Kenya for a one-month field mission.

 

Besides the awaited reunion with the children of the Wanalea Centre, other initiatives were developed, among which the distribution of food in Nairobi’s slums, where the UN has already recognized that the situation is getting worst everyday for the slum dwellers with the current humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. The main objective of this mission was to evaluate the impacts of the food crisisand the drought on the population of Nairobi’s slums. The results have left us all heartbroken.

During this mission, ADDHU’s team had the company, support and help of several volunteers (Pedro Amaro, Mariana Duarte, Marta Ribeiro and Luisa Santos). We also welcomed our first long-term volunteer, Maria João Henriques, who is staying in Kenya for one year to teach Portuguese language and culture to the children of the Wanalea Centre and the Soweto slums.


 

Wanalea Children’s Home – Centre for Orphan and Vulnerable Children

Once again, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the children of the Wanalea Centre and were very happy to verify that all the children are well and healthy. Their school performance was very good, which left us all quite proud, and you can really feel the happiness and love that now fills their lives. There is a great spirit of gratitude and appreciation among the children, and most of them are aware of the unique opportunity that has been given to them. It is also very moving to see how the family values have grown in the lives of these children, and how they treat each other as brothers and sisters, helping one another and protecting each other.

Going to a school outside the Centre has definitely had a very positive impact on the lives of the children: they have become more open, communicative and outgoing and this has boosted their confidence. They all have many new friends, which come to the Centre to visit them quite often. During our stay in Kenya, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the children’s school friends, namely Susan’s best friend, Faith, who stayed with us for a whole weekend. During the parents-teachers meeting, we were once again extremely proud to hear the teachers’ evaluation and feedback. They all emphasize the children’s exemplary behavior, as well as their solidarity and family values. The teachers admitted that they were not expecting such good behavior from children coming from an “institution”, as it is not common in Kenya where orphan and street children are so often discriminated and labeled as rebels and delinquents.

The teachers’ comments and observations that make us feel so proud also show us that we are making the right choices in terms of the education of these children!




The children started their holidays on the 29 of July 2011. On the last day of school, once again we attended the school’s end of term regular celebrations, which included traditional African dances and sports events such as football and athletics tournaments. It is always very rewarding to see these children who, 3 years ago, were literally fighting for their lives in the dangerous streets of an urban slum, so happy, playing with their friends, perfectly integrated in their community. The strength, courage and resilience of these 26 boys and girls never cease to amaze us...


   

Since the children were on holidays for the whole month of August, the volunteers and ADDHU’s team organized several activities to keep the children entertained and occupied: the children divided their time between manual work and artistic activities, games and sports in the garden, dance competitions and acting activities. The holidays were filled with play and fun, and a lot of parties as we celebrated 4 birthdays during the month of August. The first one was Cristiano, who turned 10 years on the 29th of July. We had a big party for him on the 30th of July! Cristiano was followed by Susan, who turned 12 on the 5th of August, Soila, who turned 9 on the 9th of August and Winnie, who turned 7 on the 26th of August. For all these special occasions, we had big parties with cakes, candy and sweets, popcorn and chips, candles, balloons, music, friends and family… Everything that makes a fantastic birthday party!


   

On the 17 of August, we took the children to Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi to see a football game from the Kenya Premier League between 2 teams from Nairobi: AFC Leopards and Sofakapa. Football is the children’s favorite sport, boys and girls! This was a unique experience both for the children and for ADDHU’s team. It was touching to see how the children were fascinated by this big stadium, filled with bright lights and music… Some of the children confessed that they had never believed that some day, they could be in that place watching a football game...


   

We have also been developing some small business and entrepreneurship initiatives in the Wanalea Centre, and we decided to give a microcredit to our local staff which they used to open a small shop. The Wanalea Shop is already having some profit, and we hope that this will not only improve the lives of our local staff members by boosting their monthly income, but also motivate them and promote leadership and entrepreneurship. We also rebuilt and expanded our poultry pen. We now have 12 hens, 2 roosters and about 10 chicks that were born on the last week of August. It is our objective to continue expanding this project, in order to produce al least 60 eggs per week, which we intend to use for the Centre’s consumption as well as for selling in the local market.


   

During this mission, we welcomed the most recent member of the Wanalea Family: her name is Simba, and she is a 3-month old puppy! Simba came to us very hungry and weak… She could barely stand on her legs or walk… The children quickly became Simba’s best friends and promised to take very good care of her! Welcome to the family Simba!


 

ADDHU in the KituiNdogo – Majengo slums

On the 11 of August 2011, ADDHU’s team went to the KituiNdogo – Majengo slums where the Kenyan association FOC - Foundation for Orphaned Children – works, supporting approximately 70 children, 7 of which are supported by ADDHU through the Wanalea Foster Parent Program.

More than 70 liters of milk were handed out to the Kitui Village Nursery School children. Some Gifts of Hope were also distributed, namely school kits and mosquito nets.




During this visit, we spent some time with the sponsored children and verified that they are all happy, well fed and in good health. Francisca, Adam and Victorine, the children presenting the most serious health problems, have grown considerably and their diseases are under control. Adam and Victorine can now receive all the necessary treatments to control and manage HIV. They have also been regularly checked in order to oversee the progress of the illness. Access to adequate healthcare and an improved diet have been crucial to Adam and Victorine’s healthy development. For these children with a fragile health, the Foster Parent Program has not merely contributed to significantly improve their quality of life, it has literally saved their lives...

During our meeting with the local community, we realized that food insecurity is a major problem for these children, and the situation is getting worse with the current food crisis in the Horn of Africa. The families have a lot of difficulties to cope with the constant rise of food and fuel prices and living conditions in the slums are deteriorating even more… The population of the slums is also growing as a lot of people are fleeing from Somalia and the northern part of Kenya searching for a way to survive in Nairobi.




Confronted to this heartbreaking situation, we had to act! On the 23 of August, we returned to the KituiNdogo – Majengo slum to distribute one ton of food to the most affected families.

 

ADDHU in the Soweto slums

On the 15 of August 2010, ADDHU’s team undertook its first visit to the Soweto slum, where it met with Calvin Matsita, founder and director of God’s Vision for Africa, the Kenyan NGO partner of ADDHU. The Soweto slums have been receiving a lot of refugees from Somalia since the beginning of the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. ADDHU’s team distributed another ton of food in this slum, alleviating the suffering of more than 600 families severely affected by the crisis. During the distribution, we had the help and support of the St Johns Community Ambulance Team, which was fundamental for the success of this intervention. Thank you.




We also distributed 84 liters of milk to the children of the Cityshine Primary School, thanks to the Gifts of Hope Program, and 60 packs of sanitary pads to the young ladies of the Cityshine Secondary School.


   

During our visits to the Soweto slum, we had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with the two children supported through the Wanalea Program: AbednecoWanza and Sylvia Meli. We were very happy to see that both are well and healthy, and that they have been doing really well in school. They were the first students of their classes in the last exams.

The school feeding program has been implemented and developed with a lot of success, and is now benefiting around 685 children in 4 different schools. These children receive a meal in school everyday through the school feeding program, a meal that is mainly composed of beans, vegetables, rice and ugali. For the majority of these kids, this is the only meal they can count on… In this moment of food crisis, we consider this program a priority...


   

The Portuguese Language and Culture Learning Program, launched in July 2011, by the volunteers and teachers Mariana Pereira and Romana Santos, is also a success and we have more than 150 students enrolled! The classes will be administered by the volunteer Maria João during the next year.




The program’s objective is to teach primary and secondary students Portuguese language, as well as the History and Culture of Portugal. We believe that the knowledge of Portuguese can become an important tool for these young Kenyans, increasing their employment opportunities and allowing them to break free from poverty. With the emergence of countries in Africa and Latin America where Portuguese is the 1st language, such as Angola or Brazil, learning Portuguese can open a lot of doors and can mean a brighter future for the youths of Kenya’s urban slums.

This mission to Kenya was not easy for ADDHU’s team and volunteers... It was exhausting, specially in emotional and psychological terms. We could clearly see the serious consequences of the current food crisis on the populations of the slums, especially the children, young single mothers and the elderly. Nothing had prepared us to see so much pain and suffering... And so many people requiring urgent assistance... The UN has alerted the world to the situation of Kenya’s urban slums, that is getting worse every day. While the major humanitarian agencies and the media focus their attention on the refugees camps in the North of Kenya, the people in the slums of Nairobi are starving... But they are not alone, and this is where we can all make a difference!




More than ever, we need your support to ensure the survival of families and children affected by the worst humanitarian crisis of this century. More than ever, your solidarity and generosity is making all the difference in the lives of so many people that are now facing the nightmare of hunger and starvation! And, more then ever, we are counting on you to stand by the side and to help these families and communities in this moment of great need!

Thank you for believing that it is possible to make a difference!


ADDHU’s solidarity phone number
760 300 130 (0,60 Euros + VAT)
For every call you make, you will be donating a meal to a child affected by the crisis in the slums through our School Feeding Program.

 

ADDHU’s bank account information for donations
Bank: Millenium BCP
NIB: 0033 0000 45392959245 05
IBAN: PT50 0033 0000 45392959245 05
BIC/SWIFT: BCOMPTPL


ADDHU’s team would like to say thank you to all those who support the children of the Wanalea Centre and the families in Nairobi’s slums, and that fight with us, by our side, for a better world! A special thank you to all the foster parents and volunteers. You are the ones who make this possible...