Susan Saleeba Founder
My first volunteering experience was for three months in 2007, which was not as it was made out to be! I chose a well known volunteering organisation, costing a fortune to volunteer with a promise that part of the costs charged would assist in the project I had been assigned to, I arrived – the money did not.
Upon returning to my life in Perth, Western Australia I felt that there was so much more I could do, more I wanted and felt I needed to do. I continued to return to Kenya for over two years, alone, many times, working with those with HIV, orphans, children without a hope of an education, living and working with the families in some of the worst slums in Nakuru…but each time I returned I could see the work I had done, the changes I had made did not last, there was no sustainability.
From seeing the needs of many in the slums of Nakuru, my aim was to be able to give women a tool of trade for them to become self sufficient so that they themselves would be able to care for their own families. I believed that every child should have an opportunity of an education, in the slums this could only be a far off dream for thousands of mothers, and from seeing the extreme poverty I wanted to be able to assist in the helping of food, medical treatments, life saving operations and to show that there was someone who cared. There were so many families that needed to regain their sense of worth, their pride and in some cases their lives.
The only way that I saw that this could be done, and to ensure that it was sustainable, was to start my own project.
The Gabriel Learning Centre opened in 2008. Gabriel, was the name of my children’s Grandfather, who passed away whilst I was in Kenya. Gabriel or affectionately known as Pa, was the epitome of family. Family is important to any community and it was paramount that we install family values within the project. Caring for each other, and being there for each other. I began with with the help from a young, then teacher from my original volunteering assignment, Christopher Makokha. We located and rented a little run down house on the edge of the slums of Kaptembwa with 3 rooms and a garage.
A room for teaching sewing, a room to teach English to the elderly whom have never had an opportunity to learn to read and write and a garage off to the side, perfect for a pre-primary school.
We began by teaching 50 destitute women from the slums sewing, and teaching from our little garage 30 pre primary children, some who had never seen a mzungu (white person) before, needless to say our first day was memorable to so many in many different ways. All quite remarkable.
2010 through countless fundraising events, I purchased land within the slums of Kaptembwa, from here we planted produce to assist in feeding our families and our school children until we could build.
2013 our school, our future, and the future for others begun construction.
2014 , January 8th, we opened our doors for the commencement of the new school year, and on the 2nd July 2014 we Officially had an Opening Ceremony, where my children Adam and Sarah, the grand children of Gabriel gave the school to the children of Kenya. 2016 we have 280 children, ranging from ages 3 years (pre-primary) to 10 years plus 20 of our children that started with us now go to high school, boarding schools and surrounding public schools.
We have the welfare of over 720 families that we assist with food, medicines, HIV education, family planning and housing. We have formed a co-op with our sewing ladies who now make a school uniforms which they receive an income and have a class of seniors learning to read and write for the first time in their lives.
In October 2014 we opened our Orphanage/Refuge with 40 beds to be able to give a safe and family environment to those who have been abandoned, orphaned or need a time of refuge from domestic dispute, rape and assault.
2014 Land donated to us begun our farm which now produces food to assist in the preparation of 2,000 meals a week, currently being grown kale, onions, spinach and corn all to fill empty little tummies and to supply vegetables for little stalls that we have constructed for some of our families so that they may be able to begin small businesses. These small street stalls enable our families to afford their rent, food and medicines.
I pride myself in being very hands on, only served by my commitment to assist those who through lack of education have no voice, no food and no self respect.
At no time are any donations used for any other purpose than to assist our children and families. Education and food is free to those in need. All time, administration costs, bank charges etc are given voluntarily. My time is 100% given freely.
When other volunteers begin their own journey with us, they can be assured their savings to volunteer go to our children and needs, it is not used for any personal gain. This is a commitment that I made due to my own bad experience when I first volunteered.
Nakuru Hope is governed by a board of Directors, so as to ensure that the longevity of all our work will be continued for many, many years to come.
My time now is shared between two countries, my life from being married to ‘singledom’. I am given an enormous amount of encouragement from my two children, Adam and Sarah. There have been challenges that have had to be endured along the way but are all part of this amazing personal journey and when I compare all that I have to so many that have not, how privileged am I to be part of their lives?
At last, they have hope.
I would like to invite you to be part of this journey… your life and another’s will never be the same again.
Rodney Alexander Shea AASA CPA Chairman
“I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to help Susan in her wonderful Nakuru Hope project. Susan’s energy and commitment to this project provide all of us with the opportunity to have direct input in providing humanitarian assistance where it is so needed. Susan’s leadership ensures that funds raised are not wasted. We have so much and they have so little. It is impossible not to want to be involved.”
Rod is a Chartered Accountant with many years experience in the property and finance industries. He has been the Managing Director/owner of Security Capital Corporation since 1977 and has been a successful property investor for many years. Security Capital Corporation Pty Ltd is one of Australia’s oldest and respected Broking Houses. It provides funding for construction, long term commercial property purchase, residential property purchase, equity funding and joint ventures. The company’s client base includes many of Perth’s major property owners and developers. The company enjoys an excellent relationship with Australia’s major banks and has lending arrangements with St George, Bankwest, CBA, ANZ, AXA and many other banks and Institutional Lenders. Mr Shea is also a Director/Co-Chairman of Property Capital Australia Ltd which holds an Australian Financial Services License and is one of Australia’s most successful private property syndicators.
Past Alumni Manager, Christ Church Grammar School – and President Rotary Club of Nedlands, Western Australia
Partner: Currie Wickens Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers – Western Australia
(Grandson of Gabriel)
Volunteer to Gabriels.
Assisted in the Official opening of our new school July 2014.
Volunteer to Gabriels