Another New Year approaches, I write from Perth late afternoon on the eve of 2019. My office now in a home that I have just recently located to and I can already hear the beginning of neighbours preparing for the night’s celebration.
I am looking forward to celebrating not only the year that is to pass but also the new year to come in.
2018, seemed only to contain six months as it passed so incredibly fast. Life I feel tends to move quickly the older I get, or is it that I endeavour to pack so much in, as there is still so much to do?
My annual trip to Kenya achieved the building of our relocated boy's orphanage and again being surprised as to how quickly our children grow.
Meeting children that had joined us in January to begin their education and following the health of our families and children with special needs.
Thankfully I returned in time to Perth to be given a most beautiful grandson from my son Adam and his lovely wife, Georgia a moment of pure happiness and so very much looking forward to spending time doing all the grandmother wonders in the years to come.
My daughter, Sarah, continued to gain success in the art world with great
jubilation and will miss her next year as she continues her passion for her work in Paris.
I was reminded on Christmas Day, through a gift from Sarah, that we are forever growing ourselves, we are always planting new ideas, like seeds that with nurturing, patience, compassion and care that great things will evolve.
2019, I see my life change due to being in a new environment, making a new home, meeting new friends and establishing myself in a new neighbourhood, which inspires me to extend even further for our children in Kenya.
My life has certainly changed over the years due to my work and the enormous responsibilities that most certainly come with the territory of having your own school and orphanage. But as our orphans and school children grow so does the knowledge that we are making such a vast difference — those who came to us as babies are now entering high school and even university. I have seen children born in the direst conditions thrive due to been given food, counselling, education and a home.
2019 excites me to know that this can continue, and will, as I encourage others to remain of this incredible journey that began back in 2008.
It is the same for all of those who are reading this New Year message, and we wish you the same excitement for change, the same interest in discoveries, the thrill of a challenge and achievement.
We know that there will be times that difficulties will find us, but knowing that these obstacles will be faced with the same tenacity of past, we will as you will succeed.
Happy most amazing New Year to you, your family and friends and continue to welcome you into our children's lives in 2019.
A year that was...
It is difficult to go back so many months to go over all that we have achieved in 2018 as we have done so very much.
We have been able to take in a further 8 abandoned children into our orphanage and sadly we have had to deal with the challenges of our Denis whose brain tumour continues to grow, but we take him to Nairobi every month for a check up and further assessments, an operation is imminent. Denis came to us when he was just a little boy now reaching 16 and soon high school he has grown as we have grown.
Soon Denis along with 35 other boy's will be moving from their current home within our school grounds to a newly built orphanage on our farm, located 20 minutes drive from our school. The new home will allow our boys so much more playing space and to be able to learn farming and husbandry in their spare time. For one of our boys Juma he is doubly thrilled, as when he was abandoned with his brother Diblo, we made a home for them in our orphanage and also saved two of the puppies that Juma's dog had just given birth too. The puppy grew and had her own offspring of which are now on the farm, Juma is over the moon. He very much loves dogs.
With our boys in their new home, we will be doing a few renovations and making the current girls and boys dormitory all into one, so that we will be able to home more girls. Unfortunately there is a great need to save girls from the streets of which they are abandoned in and to give refuge to girls who are in need of saving from sexual work and drugs, which are two areas that so many girls are forced into so that their family can afford food and rent.
Our year has been wonderfully filled with volunteers from all over the world, and each time we are thrilled to be able to host them. Volunteering means so much to our children, it brings them new games, new stories, songs and music. Fun lessons in class and even new foods to taste. We have had tray loads of home made cinnamon buns from a Manu from Spain, hot dogs and coleslaw from Sim and Danni of Australia and fun chapati making every Friday with our volunteers. Our volunteers give hope to our children, our children are thankful that they are not forgotten and they are aware that each volunteer travels hundreds of miles to be with them, it is a very special visit for so many.
We continue with our vision to educate, give medical assistance, foods and clean drinking water to those whose lives are so far removed from our own. From, what seems so many years ago when we began to where we are now, 'we have come from far' as Chris (School Director always says) and we continue grow with the help of others who are on this most amazing journey with so many.
We wish you Peace, Joy and Love for the Christmas period and all the days that follow....
Happy New Year ... from Christopher Makokha. School and Orphanage Director. -
Happy happy new year to all our families and friends.The new term and the new year has just begun with having more students in our baby class who have never been to school and it's their first time away from their homes and parents. We are also excited as currently, our school is growing up as we are now having grade 7 and will be introducing computers to this class. In Kenya the school curriculum now includes computers for Grade 7 which was not included before so we are thankful that we will be able to bring these to our children this year then next year we will be having our first grade 8.
We continue to look forward to welcoming more children to our school to give them hope and who now know of better future through getting an education and we continue to be thankful for all the volunteers who visit us, help us and be with our children to show them that they are not forgotten. We are looking forward to making more volunteer friendships in 2018.
Good news our cow Carla has made us proud by giving us a gift of a son. Carla will now enable us to expand our project by providing with more milk to our children to improve the nutrition for our children, whilst saving much for her newborn. Our days have not all been filled with good news already this year. Please meet Miriam below is 9 years old and has cerebral palsy. Most of the time she is left alone in the house on a wooden bed with no mattress affecting laying in her own urine, her bone's health has deteriorated. Her mother has ten children and fourteen grandchildren that she takes care of.
The husband passed on a few years back and was left with the responsibility of taking care of the children. All of her children are not employable as they have not had the opportunity of an education and therefore depends on their mother to cater to their needs or go begging on the streets. Some of the children do not go to school as the mother cannot afford to take them to school.
Currently, the mother is unemployed and has to move from one house to another to look for work of washing other people’s clothes. There would never be any hope for this family but we will begin by having Miriam assessed to see what we can do for her, already we have cleaned her bed sores and ensured that she is out of bed some days and in the sun.
We have also taken ’three of her siblings to us for and education and a better future. In time little Miriam is in need of joining a special school where she can be taken care of to improve on her health. Without she will not survive. We have also been able to take some new students to high school which is such a wonderful next step, I have shown below one of our students, Violet and her first day. It is fast becoming a busy year for us, we are hopeful to build on our farm for our boy's orphanage and a dream for a bus I do hope you will follow our journey through our newsletters. Mumma Susan and all here at Gabriels very much wish you all the best, as we all remember
'A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal'
Have a blessed 2018 Christopher
Jambo, as we say here in Kenya, it is a hello and today I am saying hello to all of our friends in many countries.
It's that time of year again, and it has come fast. December comes and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts that you will receive, the food on your tables, sharing dinners with family and friends? I saw from my visiting Australia with our Founder, Mumma Susan which was and will always remain one of the most amazing adventures of my lifetime I had never left Kenya, while there saw there was everything in abundant. It was my mother who cared for me and my family when we were young, we too had to face many challenges. it was not easy which I think drew me to care for those whose lives merely live on hope. In your country, I am aware that there are also people who are too poor but with your country there many thankful that your government can assist. Life here for us as in many countries is not the same and still, we have so many that feel that they have been forgotten. Christmas for us is giving thanks to you who have helped us.
Giving thanks to our many volunteers who have visited us over the year and have provided for our children the show of love and concern. We give thanks for our farm that has helped us with the thousands of meals we have been able to give to our school children and families. This month, we give thanks to those we asked for help for food parcels for our children. Our children here at Gabriel's are about to go on a school break.
Our school closes only for two weeks of a year so that our teachers can have time with their families and visit their rural areas. We are currently beginning to pack up food parcels for our children who when they leave us may not be able to have food until they return to us other than scrounging on the dumpsite or begging on the streets. It is easy for some of our children to return to the rubbish dumps and to beg when they have no food, and there are influences out there that we do not wish our children to be involved with, we do not want to lose one child over this Christmas and New Year we are therefore so very thankful for the help that some have shown us.
Our children in our orphanage will celebrate Christmas altogether as we are a very big family now and we are fortunate to have three volunteers with us from Australia and Germany who have chosen to spend their own time away from family and friends and be with us, this will make it extra special for all. Christmas for us is a time to give thanks for the overcoming the challenges that we have faced over the year and a time of celebration in being able to give more lost children a place of refuge and to watch all our children learn in the hope that one day they may be able to not need food packages. It is a time for all of us here at Gabriels to give thanks for the support that we have found in others, to thank those who have helped us now to be able to eat as a family in our new hall and to be ready for our Grade 8, to be able to give our Dennis an operation, and to continue to give refuge when so many are in need. We have so much to be thankful for.
Our Christmas in the slums must be so very different than yours, and it was not until I was so very lucky to have visited Australia to see how different our worlds are but at this time of year our lives are not so different as we all wish for the same thing. To be with family, to share what we have with each other, to enjoy being with loved ones we may not see as often as we would like, being together sharing joys and happiness. There are no greater gifts than giving of yourself. With our Mumma Susan, we truly wish you a time of rejoicing and peace. From my staffs and all our amazing 297 children whose lives you change with your support. We wish you and your families the same caring as you have shown us.
Merry Christmas to all.
Assante Susan, for allowing me this space on our newsletter to thank everyone for their warm welcome to your country. It is the first time that I have left Kenya and as you can only imagine it was, and is, an experience. The minute I stepped into the belly of the large aeroplane I knew that my life was about to change. Your country here in Perth is amazing.
I have been welcomed by our child sponsors, some of supports and wonderful schools, all of which are so very different from ours. The children are the same though, forever smiling and enjoying the blessings of having an education. In your country I have seen the beautiful school yards and amount of education materials that you have, the computers, desks and a computer blackboards and yes, of course there is a part of me that would also like so many luxuries, but I know that this is not possible but am still so thankful for all that we do have in our school giving an education which not only changes our children's lives but the history of their families. Their own parents never having had the opportunity of going to school.
There are of course similarities between our teachings. The teachers are obviously enjoying their work and their attitude towards their students is wonderful, they are there, not only for their student's education but also for the well being and to listen to their children's concerns about life. To see young children at the Beehive Montessori (http://www.beehive.wa.edu.au/) cooking at their little benches at such an early age was amazing to see the classrooms set out with everything that they could possibly need was truly inspirational. Rhonda the headmistress obviously compassionate and after many years of teaching still remains so committed, wonderful for her school. Quintilian (http://www.quintilianschool.wa.edu.au/) who have been our friends for a little while now were again welcoming and it was lovely to see those children who had already sent letters to ours wanting to know more about what we do and the differences between us. I was thankful to Anne for giving me time to present to the class, it was quite different talking to a classroom with a black board computer.
Thankful to each child in the classroom whose willingness to know more about us was encouraging. We had the amazing pleasure to begin a new friendship with Karrinyup Primary School (http://www.karrinyupps.wa.edu.au/web/) , one of our past volunteers, Emmanuel Dolfi, introduced us some time ago, as he brought with him to our school many wonderful books for our new Library, this time it was great to meet the teachers responsible Carol, Stella, Sharon, and Melissa a big thank you for allowing me the privilege to hand out the merit awards your school assembly. A very special morning tea had been prepared, again cakes I had not seen or tried before. The children so bright asking interesting questions and to we are thankful again for even more fantastic books and help with our fundraising. I am taking home with me a memory stick which is full of pictures and singing from the children to our children.
Kelly who volunteers in our OP Shop introduced us to Aquinas College (http://www.aquinas.wa.edu.au/) and the boarding boys where I was very lucky to do a very quick presentation which we hope gave the boys an insight on all that we do. Yes, it is a child's right to an education, for our children it is a miracle, and yes it is the right for all children to have food and a warm bed, but to our children it is a miracle. All children walk in the same direction to have a future, and like all children that first step needs to be taken on the long journey to achieve dreams, for us though and for so many impoverished children around the world, a little help goes such a long way in the giving of food so that a child can have the energy to come to school, a home so that they may be safe and the belief in another so that they may have a future. I have seen many differences while being here, even the amount of unwanted items that lay on your footpaths for the rubbish truck, I fear that this was hard for me to see when we would readily take it all, mattresses for our children to sleep on as they do not have now, or furniture for a home, childrens bikes and computers, they may be broken but when you have nothing there is always a way to mend. I have enjoyed the beauty of your city, the cleanliness and the warmth of your people. I leave Perth June 10th, and we are yet to go to Lance Holt School (http://www.lanceholtschool.wa.edu.au/) in Fremantle and St Thomas’ Primary School
(http://www.stthomas.wa.edu.au/) plus visiting areas of Perth that are not as perhaps polished as some of your other suburbs I have visited so that I can also see that you too have need in your own country. It will be good for us to visit our friends from TAG (https://taggroup.com.au/) Financial Group who have made it possible for us to take in 50 orphans into our home. I am enjoying though the freedom to turn on a tap for clean drinking water, and stores that are filled with fresh vegetables and foods and toilets and showers that are inside a house which is good for safety. In my country we say Asante Sana, meaning thankyou.
To you all, I thank you for all that you do for our children and hope that one day our paths may cross in my country so that our children can greet you with smiles of thanks and we can show you how you are changing the lives of our children who are so far from your own.
Hello, Like many countries, it is school holidays, it is no different in our school, but our children and teachers still come to school. Why? mainly for food. Our children go without food if they are not in school and even though it is holiday period our school remains open. We relax a little as the children do not need to be in school uniform, which is great as then their school shoes last a bit longer as do their uniforms all of which we provide and that can get a little expensive with 300 children. Lessons are still being taught, it is a time for revision, as soon after the school holiday it is exam time, and what would happen to our children if they were not in school.
So sadly many return to the rubbish dump to scavenge for food or back to the streets to beg and even to crime to be able to have food for themselves and for their family. The area in which our school is located is in one of the biggest slums of Nakuru, Kenya. Over 200,000 persons are without employment, in extreme poverty and without hope. This month I have taken the opportunity of highlighting two more children in need of sponsorship. We do understand that not everyone can, and that you do support us in other ways, but those who can I urge you to continue to read about Valentine and Joseph.
Our next newsletter will not come out before Mother's day, so I would like to wish all those whose hearts are open to a child, be it a man or woman, a father or mother, brother or sister, a friend. A child's love comes from your nurturing, understanding, compassion, unconditional love, kindness and believing in them. Happy family day.
SPONSOR - Valentine and Joseph.
We ask you to consider, remembering that 100% of your sponsorship is used for the needs of your child. We give you complete access to our computer program so that you can see for yourself how your donation is spent, all updates etc are passed on to you this way..no glossy brochures or asking letters...
VALENTINE 7 years old. Valentine's mother died leaving her and her two siblings to her father who would go and look for work and lock them up in the house so that they could not tell anyone that they were being sexually abused. The family all slept on the floor at night as they did not have bed or room for beds. Gabriels has taken two of the girls into the school for education counseling and the father has been reported but no action has been taken by the police
JOSEPH is 5 years old his mother is 22 years old with 5 children from different fathers and is involved in commercial sex work. The mother goes out every night and leaves the children alone. The youngest is 4 months old. Joseph had not been coming to school because his mother could not afford plus he had to ensure that he stayed awake to help look after his siblings whilst his mother went to work. At times the mother goes out and does not return for days. Thus the children go without food. Gabriels has now taken Joseph and begun his education, giving him food, counselling and counselling the family.
Hello to all,
The month has flown by, and I might just make March's newsletter as there is much to tell.
Sunday 26th March I held a fundraiser here in Perth which was a wonderful success as we had 200 people attend who assisted in raising funds for a roof i need to build across our quadrangle at the school so thatwe will be able to have more room to be able to feed more children.
The day was wonderfully supported by those donating prizes for our raffles and a trip to visit us in Kenya donated by Travel Directors was won.. it was indeed an amazing day.
I had also wished to continue urging others to sponsor a child, to sponsor a child is in fact one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give.
Did you know 100% of a donors sponsorship goes direct to that child for his or her needs and that of the family. 100%. No administration costs, not advertising or glossy brochures etc. Plus, we introduce the donor to our computer system where they are able to see the donation come in and exactly what the donation is used for.
This system also gives updates and messages direct to the sponsor, even a note back to the child or family can be sent.. and visiting the sponsored child is always encouraged as well.
Celebratory days of the New Year cleaned up and almost forgotten, as are many new year's resolutions no doubt!
My new year is always welcomed as we begin each January with a further 35 children to begin their education a time of discovery for them and for myself. I find that as the school grows so must the energy to continue to find those whose caring goes deeper than well wishes, but to actually help by making a plan to volunteer or to donate.
I look at photographs of family and friends and see the brightly coloured wrapped presents under an overly decorated tree and in its place I see food on plates, water in large yellow containers, queues waiting to see a doctor or a new baby born behind the closed doors of a darkened filthy room. Christmas and New Year is always a time of awakening that another year has passed and we remain strong in spirit and continue to do our work in times of economic adversity.