A Family At Last

A Miracle For Kelvin

Kelvin with his family after a miraculous reintegration earlier this month

Kelvin with his family after a miraculous reintegration earlier this month

This month, we witnessed something truly special. After almost a decade of living in our care, Kelvin was reunited with his family!

Kelvin was referred to us by another rescue center in 2010 when he was only 6 years old. He had been picked up after he and his siblings were caught begging in town. It was discovered that they had been abandoned by their mother and no other family was able to be traced. Kelvin was admitted to Shelter while his brothers were assisted by other well-wishers. The referring organization gave us very little information on his family and their whereabouts, so despite our efforts, we were unable to trace his brothers or other family. After some time, our staff gave up hope that we could trace his family.

Kelvin as a young boy at Shelter

Kelvin as a young boy at Shelter

Kelvin is an exceptionally bright, respectful, and motivated young man. During his time at Shelter, he has consistently been at the top of his class in school and one of the leaders among the boys. He was a model student and beloved by the staff and boys at Shelter, but still he longed for a family.

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When we began reunification in 2014, our team tried without success to find his family. Last year, Isaiah, one of our social workers, began frequenting his home area asking neighbors about the boy, and utilizing social media to search for any leads.

Miraculously, Isaiah was able to find Kelvin's older brothers. They were overjoyed to hear that he was safe and doing so well. They told Isaiah they suspected he was at a center, but they didn't know where and they feared looking for him as they thought they could be held liable for his abandonment. They were able and willing to care for him, and so we began frequent visits to reestablish their relationship and prepare everyone for reunification.

This month, after determining that everyone was ready for a safe reintegration, Kelvin went to live with his brothers permanently. He will continue his studies from there, and he and his family are so grateful for this miracle that brought them back together.

 

Carpentry Update: Paul

It's hard to believe our carpentry and welding graduates have been doing their apprenticeships for over a month now. We are so proud of each of their progress, and our staff continues to check on them weekly as they are training.

Paul and his two younger brothers have stayed at Shelter multiple times in the past few years. Their mother is ill and unable to work, and poverty has contributed to the boys returning to the streets to beg for food.

Paul came back to Shelter last year determined to learn a skill so that he could help provide for his family and make sure his brothers could attend school. He was one of the top performers in the carpentry class at Shelter, and has brought that same drive and determination into his new workshop. His trainer had nothing but wonderful things to say about his progress when our social worker visited him this week.

Next month, we will be welcoming about 10 new boys to Shelter to start a course in carpentry and welding. We are busy preparing for their arrival and can't wait to share more with you in next month's newsletter!

Next month, we will be welcoming about 10 new boys to Shelter to start a course in carpentry and welding. We are busy preparing for their arrival and can't wait to share more with you in next month's newsletter!

Thank You!

Stories like Kelvin's and Paul's simply would not be possible without your partnership. We are so very grateful for you. If you'd like to support our work, as little as $20 a month can help reunite a boy with his family.

Goodbyes and Transitions

Home For Good

David, Nelson M., Nelson K., and Isaac prepare to leave Shelter and return home. They, along with 8 other carpentry/welding students, completed their courses at Shelter this week. Now they will return home to their families and complete an apprenticeship at a local workshop before transitioning into full-time work. We are so proud of them and wish them all the best!

David, Nelson M., Nelson K., and Isaac prepare to leave Shelter and return home. They, along with 8 other carpentry/welding students, completed their courses at Shelter this week. Now they will return home to their families and complete an apprenticeship at a local workshop before transitioning into full-time work. We are so proud of them and wish them all the best!

The Gift Of Knowledge

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August has been a busy month at Shelter! One of our partners, Baptist Global Response, sent a team of wonderful volunteers to train and teach our boys.

Bruce and Matt spend a week and half training 16 boys and staff in MIG welding, a skill that will be incredibly useful for our departing boys as they seek work in the future.

Their wives, Nenna and Sue, spent countless hours teaching our 2019 rescue group, everything from math to calligraphy to the meaning of the different names of God.

We are so grateful for the time they have spent investing in our program, and happy to welcome them into the Shelter family. A big thank you to Baptist Global Response for their continued partnership.

In addition to our carpentry/welding students, we will be reuniting an additional 7 boys with their families at the end of the month. Our staff has been working diligently with the boys on their academics so that they will be prepared to rejoin school in September.

In addition to our carpentry/welding students, we will be reuniting an additional 7 boys with their families at the end of the month. Our staff has been working diligently with the boys on their academics so that they will be prepared to rejoin school in September.

Thank You!

During this time of transition, as we send each boy off and prepare to welcome a new group of boys from the street, we are more thankful than ever for your support. These reunifications would not be possible without your generous donations. We cannot thank you enough for allowing us to do this very important work. Don't forget to follow our Facebook page for real-time updates on the program and how you can continue to support us!

A Life Changed: Joseph

In July, 20 parents/guardians of our boys attended our parents' meeting at the Shelter. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the work of the Shelter to the parents and to help prepare them for reunification.  Elphas, one of our social workers, shared about the importance of family, including parental affection, emotional security, and promoting a sense of belonging at home.  Mama George shared how she travelled two days to attend the meeting. "I can never forget you because of all you have done for my son," she said. "When I didn't know how to help him, Shelter was there to help."  Have a look at these photos--beautiful families that would still be separated without the work of the Shelter and the support of our generous donors!

In July, 20 parents/guardians of our boys attended our parents' meeting at the Shelter. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the work of the Shelter to the parents and to help prepare them for reunification.

Elphas, one of our social workers, shared about the importance of family, including parental affection, emotional security, and promoting a sense of belonging at home.

Mama George shared how she travelled two days to attend the meeting. "I can never forget you because of all you have done for my son," she said. "When I didn't know how to help him, Shelter was there to help."

Have a look at these photos--beautiful families that would still be separated without the work of the Shelter and the support of our generous donors!

A Life Changed: Joseph

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Joseph's father died when he was young. His mother left him and his brother with his grandmother. His grandmother, who works in a quarry, did her best to take care of the boys.

One week in 2016, the grandmother struggled to sell the stone, and was unable to provide food for her grandsons. Nine-year-old Joseph thought it best to leave home and try to make it on his own. Joseph spent three years on the streets selling scrap metal and charcoal to survive. In March, he was rescued by Shelter social workers.

After two months of rehabilitation at the Shelter, and several visits with his grandmother, it was determined that she is now more stable, and able to care for the boy. The boy was reunited with his grandmother in July, and is now attending school! Last week, one of our social workers visited Joseph at school and was happy to hear that he is doing well, and catching up with his classmates.

If you'd like to help change the lives of more boys like Joseph, you can contribute to the work of the Shelter at www.shelteryetu.org/donate.

Did you know we have two greenhouses at Shelter? Our staff and boys plant many crops throughout the year, and everything we produce is completely organic and chemical-free. And our greenhouses go a long way in keeping 50 boys fed!  The spinach we planted in our greenhouse last month is now thriving, thanks to the watchful eye of Paul, one of our dedicated staff members.

Did you know we have two greenhouses at Shelter? Our staff and boys plant many crops throughout the year, and everything we produce is completely organic and chemical-free. And our greenhouses go a long way in keeping 50 boys fed!

The spinach we planted in our greenhouse last month is now thriving, thanks to the watchful eye of Paul, one of our dedicated staff members.

Bringing Bryann Home

Welcome Home, Bryann!

Bryann ran away from home to the streets of Naivasha in February. Bryann's parents and the village elders were surprised by his departure and told Shelter staff that he ran away without a good reason. He was reported to the government as a lost child and his family even used local media stations to try and spread the word and bring him home safely. They went as far as to visit the local mortuary, believing their son to be dead. After Bryann's disappearance from home, his mother developed high blood pressure because of the stress of losing the boy and his father was fired from his job after failing to report to work.

A quiet and well-mannered boy, Bryann struggled with the harsh realities of life on the street.  In March, he was befriended by Shelter social workers and agreed to leave the streets behind and come to Shelter. After a few weeks at Shelter, one of our social workers accompanied Bryann to his home for a visit.

When they arrived, the social worker reported an experience he had never seen before--all the women and children of the village broke out in joyful tears upon seeing their lost son return home. Soon after, people started streaming from the nearby villages, thanking God for his safe return.

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The next day, Bryann's father and some members of the community traveled to Shelter to express their thanks and bring him home for good.

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Stories like Bryann's embody the mission and vision of our program...restoring families and bringing hope to desperate situations.


Changing the way we think about reintegration…

Bryann's story highlights the heart behind our new approach to reuniting boys with their families. Since 2014, we have built our program around the truth that the very best place for a child is in a family. We have typically operated on a one-year cycle, rescuing a large group of boys early in the year and aiming to reintegrate them by the end of the year.

However, as we've learned over the years, some families need more time to work towards reunification and some, like Bryann's, are ready much sooner.

Our goal is for boys to be away from family and home not one day longer than necessary. We are so proud of the work we are doing at Shelter, but our true success is in reuniting boys with their families as soon as it is safe and everyone involved is ready. Whether that's 2 months or 18 months from rescue, we want to be sensitive to the needs of each child in our care.

So this year, as always, we'll be working closely with boys and their families on an individual basis as they go through rehabilitation. We will create an individual rehabilitation plan for each boy, along with the family, and reunite boys throughout the year. This will also allow us to rescue new children from the streets throughout the year, serving even more boys, families, and communities.

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Celebrating Our Success Since 2014

109 boys rescued from the streets.

93 boys reunited with their families.

26 boys fully trained in carpentry, and placed in a job.

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Your support is key in changing the lives of these precious young men. We look forward to sharing many more success stories in the months and years to come!

Restoring Families and Remembering Lee

Joseph (right) came to Shelter in March, and after several home visits, it was clear that though the family struggled financially, Joseph was very well-loved and cared for. The only reason he was on the streets was that his mother had been unable to pay his school fees, as well as school bag, books and sweater (which are requirements for attending school). He was so thrilled to be reunited with his family! We recently met him at school, where he is happy and doing very well.

Joseph (right) came to Shelter in March, and after several home visits, it was clear that though the family struggled financially, Joseph was very well-loved and cared for. The only reason he was on the streets was that his mother had been unable to pay his school fees, as well as school bag, books and sweater (which are requirements for attending school). He was so thrilled to be reunited with his family! We recently met him at school, where he is happy and doing very well.

 

Remembering Lee

This month, we want to honor one of our 2018 carpentry graduates, Lee. We found out in early May, that Lee passed away after a brief battle with an aggressive cancer.

Lee was a bright and energetic young man, beloved by the boys and staff at Shelter. He never met a stranger, and was known for his big smile and his hard work in the kitchen.

We are devastated by his passing, and our Shelter family grieves alongside his family and all of those who loved him. We're grateful that 28 of our staff and Shelter boys were able to attend the funeral and support the family during this difficult time.

In addition to our carpentry program, this year, our young men are also being trained in welding. They are currently working on new lockers for their dorm rooms. We are so grateful to be able to provide them with another useful skill.

In addition to our carpentry program, this year, our young men are also being trained in welding. They are currently working on new lockers for their dorm rooms. We are so grateful to be able to provide them with another useful skill.

Thank You!!

Without the support of our donors, many of these boys would just be another statistic. We cannot thank you enough for allowing us to restore families and change lives. Don't forget to follow our Facebook page for real-time updates on the program and how you can continue to support us!

Adjusting to Life at Shelter

Holiday at Shelter

School-going children in Kenya are on holiday break for most of April, which means many of our boys leave to go spend some time with their families.  This is an important part of the reintegration process as we prepare the boys and their families for life at home.  At Shelter, it means our schedule is a little more relaxed and the boys have a lot of time for recreation and leisure.

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New Rhythms

This month has been full of adjustments, as our new boys acclimate to life at Shelter.  They have been taking on more responsibility - learning how to care for our Shelter animals, manage the farm and greenhouses, cook, clean, all while going through individual, group, and family counseling to prepare them for eventual reunification with family.  We are so proud of their progress!


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Our carpentry students also take a short break in April to visit family.  They have been working hard and improving their skills week by week, and we are impressed with how much they've learned already.  This month, they even completed a bed for one of our Shelter directors.


Did you know?  Every other month, we have a booth at the Naivasha Farmers' Market.  A few boys and staff go and sell beadwork and produce among vendors from all over the county.  A great time was had by all at the April market!

Did you know?

Every other month, we have a booth at the Naivasha Farmers' Market.  A few boys and staff go and sell beadwork and produce among vendors from all over the county.  A great time was had by all at the April market!

Meet Alvin

Alvin was a part of the 2019 rescue group from Nakuru town.  He is a friendly and energetic boy, and is known for his positive attitude around Shelter.  You can usually find him dancing, playing sports, or caring for the animals.

Alvin had only been on the streets a short time (around one month) before being rescued in March.  According to him and his family, he began spending time with friends on the street and eventually was influenced to leave home/school and stay there full-time.  Since being at Shelter, he has realized that he doesn't want to continue that life and he is anxious to return to his family and go back to school.  We are confident that this will happen later this year.

One thing that stands out about Alvin is his grateful heart.  Alvin sees his time at Shelter as a blessing and frequently says, "I'm so happy to be here!"  We love having him as a part of our Shelter family, and we can't wait to see him succeed in the future.


You can be a part of changing a child's life forever.   A one-time or recurring monthly donation goes a long way towards caring for these boys and empowering their families and communities to care for them long-term. Click  here  to join us in this important work!

You can be a part of changing a child's life forever.

A one-time or recurring monthly donation goes a long way towards caring for these boys and empowering their families and communities to care for them long-term. Click here to join us in this important work!

2019 Rescue

Thanks to your support, we welcomed 22 new boys to Shelter this month!

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Life Off The Streets

Our 2019 rescue group is made up of boys from the age of 8-17, though the majority of them are between 12-14.  They come from Naivasha, Nakuru, and Mai Mahiu, and their time on the street ranges from a few weeks to a few years.  Each of their stories is unique and our social work team has been working closely with them to learn about their background and what drove them to the streets.

The boys are busy adjusting to their new routine and responsibilities, and for some, it can be a very difficult transition.  But we are already seeing a lot of progress and motivation to return to their families/communities, and continue their education. We are so excited about what's ahead for each of them, and we look forward to updating you about their journey.

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Meet Kelvin

Kelvin is the youngest of our new boys, at just 8 years old.  He is very bright, and he loves to dance and play practical jokes on the bigger boys.  

Kelvin's mother recently remarried, and due to a difficult relationship with his new stepfather and discipline issues at school, he ran to the streets of Naivasha.  We are confident that after he and his family complete the rehabilitation program, Kelvin will be able to return home and continue his education.

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Did You Know?

The new boys spend their first 3 days after rescue at an orientation camp.  The boys and staff head to beautiful Lake Naivasha, where we educate them on life at Shelter and many other topics related to drugs, trauma, and family reunification.

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Individual Rehabilitation

In line with our mission that "the very best place for a child is in a family," our social work team has been learning a lot about the value of reintegrating as soon as the child and family are ready, rather than doing the bulk of our reintegrations at the end of the year.  In 2019, we'll be reintegrating boys throughout the year, as we assess that they and their families are ready.  This should allow us to serve even more boys throughout the year, and we are so excited about all of the families who will be reunited in the months ahead.

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Join us!

Would you join us in helping these children get off the streets and back with their families? Your monthly donation will go a long way in helping us change the life of the more than 300,000 children living on the streets of Kenya. 

Rescue, rehabilitate, reunite. But why?

Street work

During the month of February, our social workers on out of the streets every day, looking for boys who are ready to change their lives. This year, we are hoping to rescue 20 boys from the streets, rehabilitate them, and help them to reconnect with their families and return to school. 

These boys go through unspeakable suffering on the streets. Just last week, more than 50 boys were arrested by the police and dumped in a forest in a neighboring county. According to local media, the police told these boys they were taking them to school, alone to be left alone and afraid in the middle of the night.

Please pray that our social workers will be able to build good relationships with these boys, and with the local authorities, to ensure that these boys will have opportunity to begin a new life next month.

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Rescue, rehabilitate, reunite. But why?

Research proves that children do best in a family. In fact, 8 out of 10 children in orphanages around the world have a living parent. 

Building relationships with boys on the streets is the first step in our process. After weeks of getting to know a boy on the streets, our social workers will bring him to Naivasha Children's Shelter where he will receive medical care, nutritious meals, new clothing, and a loving environment. Our qualified and loving staff will provide him with the counseling, skills training, drug rehabilitation, academic work and spiritual care he needs to be reintegrated with his family and community. Through a long-term relationship, our social workers do the difficult work of helping equip families to care for and love their children.

Would you join us in helping these children get off the streets and back with their families? Your monthly donation will go a long way in helping us change the life of the more than 300,000 children living on the streets of Kenya. 

After 9 months of rehabilitation, and one year of carpentry training, Rodgers finally has his first job!     Rodgers lived on the streets of Nairobi for five years before moving to the Shelter. His mother passed away when he was a toddler, and his grandmother struggled to raise him. Eventually, he ran away.  But thanks to donors like you, Rodgers was able to change his life. Shelter social workers helped him to leave the streets and learn the carpentry trade so that he can now support himself—and perhaps, someday, a family.

After 9 months of rehabilitation, and one year of carpentry training, Rodgers finally has his first job!  
 
Rodgers lived on the streets of Nairobi for five years before moving to the Shelter. His mother passed away when he was a toddler, and his grandmother struggled to raise him. Eventually, he ran away.

But thanks to donors like you, Rodgers was able to change his life. Shelter social workers helped him to leave the streets and learn the carpentry trade so that he can now support himself—and perhaps, someday, a family.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Naivasha Children's Shelter! 

Father Christmas visited the Shelter early this year!  Because of your generous donations, Shelter boys were able to celebrate Christmas together before being reunited with their families. 52 boys joined us for our Christmas party in December. We were able to gift the boys with new clothes, new school shoes and new bags! Thanks for partnering with us to make these boys’ holiday joyful

Father Christmas visited the Shelter early this year!

Because of your generous donations, Shelter boys were able to celebrate Christmas together before being reunited with their families. 52 boys joined us for our Christmas party in December. We were able to gift the boys with new clothes, new school shoes and new bags! Thanks for partnering with us to make these boys’ holiday joyful


Our wish this Christmas: a high school education for Paul and Ken. 

Last month, we shared with you about how well two of the Shelter boys recently did on their primary school exams. This month we learned that both of these boys were accepted into good high schools! Paul even did well enough to make it into a national school (a huge honor)!

Both of these boys come from very difficult backgrounds. 

Paul was rescued by the Shelter in 2011 after he was found begging for food and not attending school. Paul's mother is disabled, and unable to walk or to use her hands. The family survives on the kindness of neighbors. 

Ken was rescued by Shelter in 2010 when he was found wandering the streets alone in town after his father, a security guard, was killed on the job. 

Both of these boys are a part of the Shelter family, and we are committed to giving them a bright future, with your help. We are trying to raise $1,700 to send both of these boys to boarding school next year. 

Would you be willing to help gift these boys with the best Christmas present they could imagine--a chance at a good high school education? 

Would you be willing to give generously to help give these boys the opportunity to attend high school?

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This month, 16 boys are being reunited with their families.

Joram was referred to Naivasha Children’s Shelter by government after dropping out of school in 2016. Living on the streets, Joram was surviving by begging and doing casual labor. After being counseled by his uncle, Joram agreed to undertake a vocational course in carpentry at the Shelter. Now he has completed the carpentry course and national exam, and will be placed in a job in January.

Joram’s grandmother was happy to receive him and thanked the Shelter for reaching out to him and changing his life.

Thankful...

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When the boys at Shelter heard how well Kennedy and Paul had done on their national exams, they ran 2km to town to congratulate the boys, grabbing flowers and tree branches along the way!

To our friends in the U.S.: Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here at Naivasha Children's Shelter, we have a lot to be thankful for! 

With your help, this year the Shelter has provided residential care for 42 boys.

We rescued 20 boys from the street in April, and trained 10 boys in carpentry and joinery.

We supported 29 boys living with their families with school fees, and are preparing to reunite 16 boys with their families next month! 

We can't do this work without your help.  This holiday season, would you consider partnering with us with monthly donation of $5 or $10 a month?   

Additionally, two of the boys who live at the Shelter recently took their KCPE test. The test covers everything they have learned from kindergarten to eighth grade and is important because it determines which high school they will attend. This week, we got word that Kennedy and Paul both did very well on the test and Paul was even the top scorer in all of Naivasha!

When the other boys heard the news, they dropped everything they were doing to celebrate these two boys. They ran 2 kilometers to the main road, grabbing flowers and tree branches along the way, to meet Paul, who was arriving from town. 

We are all so proud of Kennedy and Paul! Please join us in celebrating their great achievement!


 

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Joram, a student in our carpentry program, shares a meal with his father after a parents' meeting at Shelter. In December, Joram will return home to live with his family and begin working at a local workshop. He will be able to support himself and help his family.  

This month, 19 parents participated in our parents’ meeting. The meeting gave parents a chance to understand their children’s life at the Shelter, and to prepare the parents for reintegration next month. 

"When my child began staying on the streets with his new friends, I tried the best I could to help, but I wasn't able. Thank you for coming beside me and doing what I could not do! I know now my son will be able to make it in life," one parent told Shelter staff during the meeting. 

It truly takes a whole community to raise a child, and we are proud to come beside these parents in their time of need. 

#GivingTuesday 

#GivingTuesday is right around the corner. During this season of gratitude, would you consider partnering with us to give children living on the streets a new chance at life? A monthly donation of $5 or $10 will go a long way in helping us pay our staff, keep the lights on, empower families to care for their children an send boys to school. Mark your calendar for November 27, and plan to become a part of the Shelter family! 

Update from our carpentry department 

Our carpentry department is committed to equipping young men from the streets with the skills and training they need to succeed in life and become self-supporting. 

Jeff's story 

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Two years ago, Jeff was finishing eighth grade when his mother remarried. His step-father was unkind to him, insulting him and abusing him until, finally, Jeff ran to the streets. Jeff spent a year living on the streets--begging for food, and being abused by police and older boys. He lost hope. 

Then, in April 2017, something miraculous happened. Jeff met a Shelter social worker who told him that a different life was possible. Jeff was rescued and brought to Naivasha Children's Shelter, where he was given clothing, food and a bed to sleep in. He was surrounded by loving and supporting adults who helped him recover from his time on the streets. Jeff decided to pursue a carpentry course, and spent a year studying carpentry and joinery at the Shelter.

"My friends who remained on the streets, they are really suffering," Jeff said. "Some of them are in jail now. That would have been me without Shelter."

Jeff is now doing an attachment at a local carpentry shop, and the owner said he is one of his best workers. 

"The Shelter carpentry course has given me new hope for life. I know I will be able to support myself, and my future is looking good. I want to thank all of the people who have given to Shelter to give me this opportunity--may God bless you."

To help us rescue more boys from the streets of Kenya and give them a second chance in life, please consider partnering with us with a one-time or monthly donation.   


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Peter was recently elected as head boy of the Shelter. Peter, who was rescued from the streets in March, said that the job is a big responsibility. 

"Being head boy means that I ensure all the boys are doing their responsibilities. I also must be fair to all the boys in helping settle disputes. I must treat all the boys equally even if one of them is my friend. If there is a problem too big for me to handle, I will get help from the teachers." 

Peter lived on the streets for seven years before being rescued by Naivasha Children's Shelter. He's now pursuing a carpentry course to provide for himself and his family. We're so thankful to have him as part of the Shelter family!

 

Nine new boys began our carpentry program this month. These boys have completed our rehabilitation program and will study carpentry and joinery for one year before doing a three-month attachment and then being reunited with their family and placed in a job in a local carpentry shop. 




Notes from the field...Samson's story

Notes from the field...
In May, we shared with you about Samson. Samson was rescued from the streets in March, after running away from home when he lost his father's bicycle. A couple weeks ago, one of our social workers, Isaiah, traveled with Samson to visit his family. The following is a report from Isaiah.

Kitale, Kenya; June 2018

"On arrival to the home, we were welcomed with opened arms by a group of women who were having a church fellowship at their home. The entire village broke out in celebration after the good news emerged that Samson is back. Others broke into tears of joy. The boy was reported to police as a lost child. His case was also reported on a local radio station. His parents, who are devout Christians, were joined by the church members in the rescue mission. They traveled through western Kenyan’s towns such as Bungoma, Kakamega and Eldoret in search of the child. However, their efforts were futile. Eventually, they gave up and left the rest to God.
Samson's father works in Limuru and the mother stays at home. Upon arrival, we had thanksgiving prayers with the family members and the neighbors. 
 

Since the father was away, I decided to have a conference call with him to update and inquire more information about the child. He was thankful to Shelter for rescuing his beloved son.
 ‘Sam is my favorite son and I love him so much, he only took my bicycle but God enabled me to purchase a motorcycle instead. I have even forgiven him long time ago,' he shared. After getting that response from him, I knew that all was well. The boy is now accepted back at home. As we continued chatting, I explained to them more about the Shelter and that the boy should finish up the rehabilitation program before being reunited with his family.
The following day, we visited Fig Tree Primary School where the child used to study. Both the teachers and the pupils were very happy that he is back."

-Isaiah, social worker for Naivasha Children's Shelter

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In the greenhouse

Kelvin harvests tomatoes from one of our greenhouses. This year, our produce has been exceptionally good--we have been able to grow enough vegetables for the boys, and even had surplus to sell in the market! Growing our own food helps move us toward sustainability, and also helps teach responsibility and stewardship to the boys! 

2018 medical camp

The Shelter partnered with Ndonyo Healthcare Hospital in  Naivasha to conduct a medical camp for the 41 boys currently living at the Shelter. Each boy was examined by a physician, and given advice on how to remain healthy. This service is vital to the future health of the boys, many who suffered from ill health while living on the streets. 

Samson's story

Samson, age 15, was rescued from the streets of Kenya last month. Samson hopes to return to his family, finish school and become a soldier one day. 

Samson, age 15, was rescued from the streets of Kenya last month. Samson hopes to return to his family, finish school and become a soldier one day. 

Samson's story

It was a typical Sunday afternoon. Samson borrowed his father's bicycle, and headed to his family's small plot of land, where he was spent the next several hours planting corn. When he finished, Samson returned to the edge of the field, where he had left the bicycle leaning against a fence. 

But the bicycle was gone. Exhausted, and afraid of punishment, Samson made a quick decision to run. He spent the next two days walking to the next town. When he arrived, he convinced a bus driver to take him further. 

He soon arrived in Naivasha, almost 200 miles from his home, where he fell in with a group of street boys. They spent their days collecting plastics to sell and running from the police. For the first time, Samson slept on the streets. He was chased and beaten by police and shop owners. He never got enough to eat--most nights he slept hungry. And because he arrived during rainy season, the ground was always wet and cold. There were nights he could't sleep at all.  

But this was his new life--after running away, how could he cope with the shame of returning? 

Then, one day, he met  a social worker from Naivasha Children's Shelter. Isaiah told him about Shelter, where he could sleep in a warm bed, and have enough food. Shelter staff would help him return home, ask forgiveness from his father and enroll in school again.  

Last month, Samson spent his last night on the street. 

When he arrived at Shelter, he was overwhelmed with happiness. 
"Shelter is a good place. Here, I never sleep hungry, and no one beats me." 

Later this year, Samson hopes to return home, re-enroll in seventh grade and work hard to be able to replace his father's bicycle.

"I thank God for the Shelter for coming into my rescue. I promise to take the chance seriously for the sake of my future."

Hundreds of thousands of boys are still sleeping on the streets tonight. If you would like to help boys like Samson get off the streets and have a second chance at life, would you consider a monthly donation to Friends of Naivasha Children's Shelter?  Every little bit helps.

Last month, 20 boys were rescued from the streets of Kenya. 

Last month, 20 boys were rescued from the streets of Kenya. 

Rescuing boys and building leaders

Charles was recently elected by his classmates as school's president.

Charles was recently elected by his classmates as school's president.

Charles came to the Shelter when he was only three years old. He was rescued by neighbors and brought to the Shelter after he was abandoned by his mother.
For years, Charles struggled with his studies. At age 12, he still struggled with reading and writing. He was a shy boy, and had a difficult time making friends outside the Shelter.

But recently, Charles has made huge improvements in his studies and has proved himself a leader among his peers.  This year, Charles, with the help of some other Shelter boys, ran a campaign to become president of his elementary school.  In Kenyan schools, students in fourth through eighth grade are allowed to vote on a school president. On voting day, Charles, who is only in sixth grade, was overwhelmingly elected as the school's president!

According to Charles, some of his roles include ensuring that discipline is maintained, ensuring that all pupils participate in cleaning the school and reporting any concerns raised by pupils to the head teacher.

Charles credits his teachers at Shelter with helping prepare him to be a leader.  "My teachers at Shelter are very supportive and have taught me how to be disciplined, honest and hardworking, which are qualities of a good leader," Charles said. 

Because of your support, Naivasha Children's Shelter is rescuing boys and building leaders.

Donate now to help us raise up leaders like Charles from the streets of Kenya. 

Brothers, reunited.

Naivasha Children's Shelter Co-director Kristen Lowry with Bahati at 4 months old. 

Naivasha Children's Shelter Co-director Kristen Lowry with Bahati at 4 months old. 

I met Bahati when he was only a few months old. I knew his oldest brother, Cortez, who was living on the streets. Cortez, along with a few other boys, lived on my street, and slept under an old truck. They often came to my apartment and cooked meals and watched cartoons. They helped me learn Swahili, and laughed at my inability to cook ugali, the local staple food.

Over the course of my friendship with Cortez, I got to know his mother, as well. Mama Cortez really struggled. She had three boys, and she lived in one of the more dangerous slums in Nairobi. She did her best to care for her boys. She did laundry for other women in the slum. She built beautiful, intricate model boats to sell. She loved her children, and her children loved her.

Two years ago, Bahati's mother and father both passed away suddenly. Naivasha Children's Shelter was able to rescue one of his older brothers, Martin. At the age of 13, Martin began attending school for the first time, and thrived. But Bahati was left in the care of his aunt, and then, later, a family friend. Recently we learned that Bahati was living in a one-room shack with a dozen other children. There was rarely enough food to eat. He would accompany his guardian to the streets to beg. Bahati is five years old.

Until last month. Last month, Shelter social workers were able to rescue Bahati and bring him back to the Shelter. He was reunited with his brother, Martin, and will begin attending school this year. The situation still isn't ideal. There is no suitable family with whom to reunite these boys. But now, they have each other, and they have a safe place where they are loved and cared for. The social workers tell me that Martin is beside himself with joy. He is carrying his brother on his back, introducing him to all his friends and telling him about the school he will soon begin attending. 


If you've ever donated to Naivasha Children's Shelter, you are a part of this story. You helped reunite these brothers, and send them to school. You helped give them new life.

 

Bahati and Martin, together at the Shelter. 

Bahati and Martin, together at the Shelter. 

Rescue, restore, reunite.

Joseph with his grandmother, uncle and cousins at his home in rural Kenya. 

Joseph with his grandmother, uncle and cousins at his home in rural Kenya. 

Recently, we asked the boys to list some things they were thankful for. Here are a few of their responses:

  • My shoes
  • My bed
  • The opportunity to go to school and learn to read and write

One boy in particular summed it up pretty well:
 
“I am thankful for Shelter.  When I was on the streets, no one cared for me or about me.  Now I know I am a good boy.”
 
If we had to answer that same question, “What are you thankful for?” our answer would be YOU. We are so thankful for your decision to partner with us to find and rescue boys like Joseph.
 
Joseph came to Shelter in 2013. He was drawn to the streets after the death of his father because of extreme poverty at home, and had been out of formal schooling for quite some time when he arrived at Shelter.
 
Joseph could barely read or write when he came. Daniel, the Shelter administrator, spent countless hours working with him on his reading and writing skills. Now Joseph is one of the brightest students in his class at school. He reads and writes exceptionally well, and he credits Daniel and the staff at Shelter for the radical change.
 
In December, after 4 years at Shelter, Joseph was reunited with his family. 
 
Thanks to the continued support of Shelter, Joseph enrolled in fifth grade in a school close to his home this month. 

Now, he lives with his uncle and grandmother. His grandmother is partially blind, but the bond between her and Joseph is evident. 

When social workers went to visit him in January, Joseph proudly described every detail and confirmed that he was doing great and studying hard. We know there are great things in Joseph’s future.
 
Joseph is one of our many success stories last year, but the sad reality is that there are still hundreds of thousands of boys who will go to sleep on the streets of Kenya tonight. At Naivasha Children’s Shelter, we will continue to work towards our goal of no child being forced to live on the streets. We’ve already identified and begun relationships with boys we hope to rescue and help start a new life in a few short months. 
 
Your generous donations make this work possible. In fact, in 2017 alone we were able to provide more than 40 children with food, shelter, and education as they transitioned off the streets.  We trained six young men in carpentry and they are now employed. Best of all, 19 boys have been reunited with their families because of you!
 
Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough, but please accept our sincere gratitude for partnering with us as we work to rescue, restore and reunite with family boys like Joseph. 

Today is #GivingTuesday.

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Could you add one more person to your holiday list?

David is 12 years old. Last year, he ran away from home because his mother could no longer afford to send him to school. In March, Shelter social workers rescued him from the streets and brought him to Naivahsa Children's Shelter. His only wish this Christmas is to go back home and return to school. With your help, we can make his wish come true! David will need new school shoes, a uniform and school supplies. And to make sure he stays in school, his mother will need help starting a small business. 

Would you consider donating to Naivasha Children's Shelter this #GivingTuesday? Your gift will help David, and 15 other boys at the Shelter have everything they need to return to school in January. 

Donate now

We've come a long way.

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Since we began our program of rescuing, rehabilitating and restoring boys in 2015, we've been able to change the course of so many boys' lives! With your help, we've rescued 86 boys from a life of desperation on the streets. Thank you for your investment in these children, their families, and their communities! 

Samuel made it to university! 

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Samuel reported for university last month. The Shelter boys and staff, and especially Samuel, would like to extend a huge "thank you" for all those who donated to make Samuel's dream a reality!

At age 9, Samuel and his younger brother David were living on the streets with their mentally ill mother. They were rescued by Naivasha Children's Shelter. With Shelter support, Samuel was able to attend primary school and make it through high school. Unfortunately, Samuel's mother passed away last year, leaving him an orphan, and with no means to pay for schooling. 
Samuel was admitted at Masinde Muliro University to study for his Bachelor of Science in Physics. With your help, we raised enough money to send Samuel to school! Samuel is now one of three young men the Shelter is supporting in university. 

Help us rescue more children. 

Your gift can change a boy's life--every dollar helps. 

Donate now

Hope: reflections from a Shelter volunteer

In March 2017, Janell Simmons spent almost a month volunteering at the Naivasha Children’s Shelter. She helped train staff in counseling and social work, and participated in our annual rescue. 

In March 2017, Janell Simmons spent almost a month volunteering at the Naivasha Children’s Shelter. She helped train staff in counseling and social work, and participated in our annual rescue. 

Hope is not something that is abounding for homeless boys on the street in Naivasha, Kenya.  And yet, because of the dedication of a great team of skilled and passionate adults, somehow it oozes from the walls of the Naivasha Children’s Shelter.  The video I have shared most often with friends and family since I’ve been back from my trip is this one:

What I love about it is pretty obvious.  There’s no way to watch it without smiling.  And trust me, those nightly dance parties were just as fun as they look.  But what you may not know at first glance is that many of these boys (including sweet Kamau, the clear star) woke up on the street that morning.  This was the night of the big rescue in Naivasha and Nakuru, and less than an hour after this video was taken, Kamau and the other new boys went to sleep in a safe, clean bed, for the first time in who knows how long.  It’s so incredible to me that just hours removed from the atrocities they experienced on the street, the signs of hope and joy are already creeping in.

The first days after the rescue are filled with a lot of orientation.  The staff meets with the boys each morning to talk through things like chores, meals, showers, bedtime, etc.  But what I love is that throughout those meetings (and all day, every day), the staff takes every opportunity to tell them how important, valued, and loved they are.  Even discussions around things like hygiene lead to reminders about identity and why it is important to respect ourselves and our bodies.  For these “forgotten” children, who, if they were acknowledged on the street at all, it was to harass or abuse them, this message is powerful.  They begin to thrive almost immediately.  Even in those first few weeks, where the transition is still pretty tough, there is a pride and a hope that emerges as they are treated like the precious souls that they are instead of the “nuisances” the world around them has tried to convince them they are.  Unfortuantely, they don’t always stay at the Shelter.  Sometimes they run back to the “comfort” of life on the streets.  But it doesn’t change the hope that has been set in motion.

My friend Jomo. 

My friend Jomo. 

This is my friend Jomo.  He is such a ham and one of the funniest kids I know.  He was the first boy I met on campus – the only one brave enough to join the staff as they gave me the tour on my first day.  He was always asking me to video him doing something silly, and we spent a lot of time laughing together.  One of my last days at the shelter, he showed me (as promised) how to milk the goats on campus.  That is one of his responsibilities and every afternoon when he comes in from school, he wrangles the goats (no easy task), gets them in their pens, and gets the job done.  I was not a great student, but he patiently waited while I squeezed out a few ounces before taking over and finishing up in about 30 seconds.  Thanks to our slightly distracted photographer, Martin (the selfie king), I have definitive proof that I did, in fact, milk a goat, albeit very poorly.

Over the course of my time there, our conversations moved from pretty silly to pretty profound.  One day we took a walk and Jomo started talking about his time at the shelter.  He’s lived there a few years.  He said that when he arrived, he could barely even read or write, which was surprising to me, because he was constantly reading and writing very well (in both Swahili and English) with me.  When I asked him how he learned so quickly, he said, “Mr. Daniel (the shelter administrator) taught me everything.”  He also told me that he anticipates being able to reunite with his family later this year because of the work that he and his family have done together with the social workers.  He’s actually spending time with them now on a school break.  I know he is really proud and excited to be going home soon.  He is so smart and talented and the future ahead of him is so bright I can hardly stand it.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the coming years.

Where would Jomo be without the Naivasha Children’s Shelter?  There’s no way to know for sure, but I know what he would tell you.  When he speaks of Daniel and the other staff members, his face lights up.  He loves them so much and the feeling is mutual.  That love, and the hope it inspires, is life-changing – for Jomo, Kamau, Martin and the countless boys who have come before them and will come after them.

Hope is a powerful, powerful thing.  Don’t ever lose it.

If you want to know more or if you want to sponsor a boy like Jomo (or Jomo himself!  He is available for sponsorship – he’s listed by his first name, Joseph, on the site), check out NCS’s website.  If you’re unable to fully sponsor a boy ($100/month), there are options for partial sponsorship, purchasing school uniforms and carpentry toolboxes, and one-time and monthly donations of any amount.

Today at the Shelter

Great news! 

The day has finally arrived. Sixteen boys have been waiting (impatiently) for today. Our social workers spent 3 months on the streets getting to know the boys and preparing them for a new life, and finally the day has come for the boys to leave the streets. 

The social workers went to the streets early this morning, and gathered the boys. After saying goodbye to all of their friends on the streets, the boys got in a van, and began the journey to their new life. When they arrived at the Shelter, they were given a hot meal, clean clothes and a place to shower. They all received haircuts and medical care. Some of the boys were shocked to get their own bed--with a mattress and blanket! Many of these boys haven't slept on a bed in months, and for some it has been years. 

The boys then gathered with staff and other children at the Shelter to burn their old street clothes--a symbol of leaving behind their old life. 

All of these boys will need sponsors to help them change their lives. If you would like to sponsor one of these boys, and encourage them on their journey, please email us at NCShelter@gmail.com to find out which boys are available for sponsorship, or visit our website at http://shelteryetu.org/donate/ .

$100 a month provides for a boy's complete care including housing, daily food, medical care, drug rehabilitation, sports, skills training, education, counseling, talent development, and outreach to his parents.

You will receive a photo and biography of your sponsored child, and the opportunity to write him letters and get updates about his life. 

Thanks for partnering with us as we rescue these boys from the streets, restore their lives and then reunite them with their families!