28 Jan BLOG #1: Agnes’ Peaceful Children’s Home
On my way up to bed Agnes said “feel like you are at your mother’s house because you are”. That in a nutshell, is Agnes. The setting is the rural town of Kianyaga at the base of Mt. Kenya. I hear chickens squawking, birds singing and someone preparing food out back. In the far distance I hear a motorbike. It is serene, tranquil and it is filled with love.
And it is the opposite of where any of the 14 children who live here came from. The children, now between ages 7-14 all came to Agnes very young and in the most desperate of circumstances. From parents dying of AIDS, mothers leaving children by the roadside to parents ill equipped to raise children due to mental illness and more, these children came here one by one as young as the tender age of one and half years old.
When Agnes retired from another children’s home at 55 she cashed in her pension and started caring for these children one by one starting what is now The Peaceful Home for Children. Her pension took care of the basics in the way of food, clothes and the meager roof she could find to put over the children’s heads. Miraculously just as the funds from her pension were running out in came Annabella Francescan and Duncan Muriuki who work together in the safari tour industry. Straight away they were moved by Agnes’ efforts and committed to getting involved. Agnes and Duncan created “Angels of Hope” to act as an umbrella for the home and facilitate support.
(click photos to enlarge)
Through Angels of Hope much has been done. Not only are the children schooled (while school is free one must pay for uniforms and books), clothed, housed in a great facility, fed and have mentors.. they are happy. And I mean HAPPY. Clearly something is working and working well with what Agnes has created.
The hope and intention now is to acquire more staff, separate dormitories for boys and girls (currently they are housed together) and a dormitory for orphaned babies. Agnes would like to see each of her children get higher education. She notes that some of the children came to her so ill brain damage had already set in so they will be unable to go to university. Those children can attend trade school. Either way if Agnes has her way each child will be educated and self-sufficient, free to live life without the kind of worry so many of their counterparts carry on their backs.
Lastly (and maybe there is no lastly- when does your list stop for what you would like for your children?) she would like to have more access to funds for medical care. There is no insurance so when a child is ill Agnes takes them to hospital and pays out of pocket quite often from the earning she acquires from knitting she does at night after the children have gone to sleep.
Agnes trusts what is needed will come but it is piece meal and the thing is, with more funding not only will the current children get more of their needs met but new children can be brought in. And this is a project that has been incredibly successful on a grass roots level helping children who quite literally have no one to watch their back let alone hold them.
This project needs our support. Even if we ourselves cannot financially contribute we can share their story and someone somewhere might just like to have a look. Who knows! The purpose of this blog is to spread the word on good work but I would be remiss in not encouraging us all to spread the message.
And one final note. I often hear concern about participating in overseas non-profits as one doesn’t always know where the money is going. Understandable. In this case not only have I been (twice now with my first visit being in 2008) and can answer any questions you may have but the Peaceful Children’s Home now has guest quarters! I stayed in them and they are LOVELY! You can arrange to come and meet the children and see for yourself. Contact Duncan!
To contact coordinator of Angels of Hope:
Duncan Muriuki: firstname.lastname@example.org