street children

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.

giving tuesday.jpg

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. 

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We've come a long way.


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! 



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

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 to find out which boys are available for sponsorship, or visit our website at .

$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! 

November update

Our progress

The past months have been very busy at the Shelter. The boys who were rescued in May are continuing to progress well, and many of them will be returning to their families next month! We are already beginning work on the streets in order to rescue 20 boys next spring.

We have five boys set to graduate from our carpentry program at the end of the year. These young men are currently doing an apprenticeship at local carpentry shops as they prepare for their government test. 

We have recently been able to hire an associate social worker, who will be able to help with follow up of boys we have already reintegrated. His primary role will be visiting children at home and at school to make sure they are doing well, and keeping a strong connection with the Shelter. 

We have also been able to make significant strides toward sustainability. This year, we were able to purchase 100 chickens, and some milking goats. A generous sponsor paid for a drip irrigation system (so we will be able to grow vegetables all year long!) and we also received catfish fingerlings for our pond. 

Our needs

Pick-up truck

The Shelter is in desperate need of a new pick-up truck. The Shelter is 5 kilometers from town, and right now, we have to make many trips by motorbike to bring groceries to the Shelter, or waste hours walking into town for simple errands. 

A used pickup truck will cost us almost $15,000. Main Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, KY has generously offered to match any contributions toward the pick- up truck up to $7,500! We have already been able to raise $1,000, but please consider partnering with us for this major need. 


Earlier this year, we were able to purchase three goats (two females and one male) for milk at the Shelter. Unfortunately, our male goat died of disease earlier this month. The cost of a new male goat is $200. If you would like to help us purchase a goat, the boys have offered to name the goat after you! 

Don't forget Amazon Smile!

As the holiday season quickly approaches, don't forget that your shopping can benefit the children at Naivasha Children's Shelter. 

Click before you start your holiday shopping and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Naivasha Children Shelter!

Update: Elvis is going to college!

You did it! Thanks so much to everyone who shared and donated--Elvis can now begin buying school supplies and getting ready for his first year of college.

Thank you so much for helping Elvis get to college. Shelter staff visited him last week to share the good news, and his family was overjoyed. Elvis wanted us to share this letter with you to let you know how much he appreciates your support. Thank you!

Can you help us send Elvis to college?

Elvis was living on the streets when he was rescued by Naivasha Children's Shelter in 2004. He lived at the Shelter for 10 years until social workers were able to reunite him with his mother in 2014. 

Last year, Elvis graduated from high school with a B minus -- a huge accomplishment! He recently got a letter inviting him to continue his studies with a Diploma in Electrical and Electronics at Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology.

Elvis' mother is a single parent raising four children. She works as a casual laborer at a local flower farm, earning less than $70 a month. As much as she wants to, she can't afford to send Elvis to college. 

Elvis's total tuition for the first year of college is $1300. This opportunity will giveElvis a bright future, and help his whole family. 

We've started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money Elvis needs to go to school.  We are almost halfway to our goal, but we still need your help. School starts Sept. 6. Let's send Elvis to college!

Remember Fidel?

Fidel (center) loves studying math, and wants to be a doctor when he grows up. 

Fidel (center) loves studying math, and wants to be a doctor when he grows up. 

Five months ago, we introduced you to Fidel

For two years, nine-year-old Fidel was sleeping on the streets. But in May, his life changed. A Shelter social worker came to the streets to rescue Fidel and ten of his friends. The boys were brought to Naivasha Children's Shelter where they were given clean clothes, a hot meal and their own beds to sleep in. 

A team of dedicated teachers and counselors helped the boys to overcome their addiction to drugs that they used in the streets, and begin re-learning important life skills. 

Now, Fidel wakes up every morning in his own bed. He makes his bed, gets dressed, washes his face and brushes his teeth. He joins 40 other boys at the Shelter for a hot breakfast of a boiled egg and some porridge. Then he helps clean up by washing his dish and wiping down the tables. 

Fidel is learning to read and write, and is excited about going to school next year. He also loves playing soccer with his friends during free time. His teachers at Shelter describe him as "happy and always jovial."

"I love being at Shelter because here I get everything I need," Fidel said.  I love learning math, eating with my friends and playing football." 

Teach a boy to fish...

Ronald, 18, graduated from the Shelter carpentry program in December and now works in a carpentry workshop in Kenya's capital city. The skills he learned at the Shelter allow him to support himself. 

Ronald, 18, graduated from the Shelter carpentry program in December and now works in a carpentry workshop in Kenya's capital city. The skills he learned at the Shelter allow him to support himself. 

You know how the old saying goes: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Ronald learned how to fish during his time at Shelter -- but he also learned how to build. 

When Ronald's mother died in 2011, poverty forced  the 13-year-old boy to the streets. Living on the streets, he spent his days begging and searching for food. For years, he lived in constant fear of hunger, and of the beatings he would often receive from the local police.

“I started using drugs because my friends were using them,” Ronald told a Shelter social worker, “then I was able to sleep and not be afraid.”

Eventually, Ronald was referred to Naivasha Children's Shelter, where he chose to pursue carpentry. Ronald lived at the Shelter for two years while he learned all the skills he would need to support himself. 

Immediately upon graduation, Ronald was offered a job in Gikomba--one of Nairobi's largest markets. Now 18, he spends his days in a busy workshop making furniture, and is able to support himself. He has rented a small house in a neighborhood in the city. 

"I learned from Shelter how to be independent," he told Shelter staff who came to visit him at the workshop.

"I'm so grateful for the education I received and the tools they provided."

Six boys will graduate from the carpentry program this year. Would you consider partnering with us to give one of these boys the supplies he needs?

A one-time donation of $100 can provide one of our carpentry graduates with a set of tools that they can use to begin their own business. 


Fidel has been sleeping on the streets since he was seven years old.  For two years he’s been afraid his father would beat him for skipping school to visit his sister in a neighboring town, so Fidel has scraped by and risked his life to avoid his father’s wrath. He ran away from home after his father found out that he skipped school to go and visit his sister in a neighboring town.

Fidel wakes up every morning before sunrise to go to the market, where he wanders through the makeshift stalls to pick up tiny pieces of charcoal from the ground. He puts them in a large plastic sack slung over his shoulder.

When he leaves the market, he finds some women selling charcoal on the side of the road. He sells them the little charcoal he has collected and walks to the supermarket. He begs for money outside the supermarket until a security guard chases him away, beating him with a club.

Fidel takes the dollar that he has earned and buys two pieces of bread, eating one, and stuffing the second in his pocket.

He walks to a tin shack, where he pays a man the rest of his money to sit down in a white plastic chair and watch a movie. He falls asleep. No one will bother him there.

Fidel’s family lives only a few miles away, but he lives in fear of his father finding him, and beating him for the mistake he made two years ago.

And until he met John two months ago, Fidel had given up on his dreams of finishing school and becoming an engineer. His new-found friend, John, began visiting him on the streets and talking about something that Fidel could barely remember experiencing in his former life--sleeping in a warm bed, eating hot meals.

Fidel is not the only kid in his situation. Fidel has friends experiencing the same life, and so now, five days a week, John talks with them all over a simple meal of rice and beans.They talk about their past, and about the day they will leave the streets.

And on March 31, Fidel and his friends will do what they’ve been talking about for the last month. They will have the chance at a new life. Fidel is one of fifteen boys who have decided that they are ready to leave the streets and go to Naivasha Children's Shelter. But Naivasha is not their final destination.

At the Shelter, a team of teachers and counselors will help the boys transition, as they re-learn how to be a part of a family again. They will sleep in warm beds and eat hot, healthy meals three times a day. They will play soccer and learn to care for livestock and grow their own food in a garden. Some of the boys will learn to read and write for the first time.

John will take Fidel to visit his father, and eventually help them to resolve their conflict so that Fidel can finally return home.

This incredible opportunity is only possible for these boys because of the generous donations of friends all around the world.

12 donations of $100 each  would ensure that Naivasha Children's Shelter is able to provide complete care for Fidel for a year. If you would like to to help rescue Fidel and his friends from the streets this year you can make a donation

Or, you can send a check to:

Friends of Naivasha Children’s Shelter, Inc.
20 South Dudley, Suite 900
Memphis, Tennessee 38103


Greetings from Naivasha Children’s Shelter!

These ten boys were rescued from the streets of Naivasha, where they were sleeping under a shipping container. Now, many of them have been reunited with their families, and are in school for the first time in years!

These ten boys were rescued from the streets of Naivasha, where they were sleeping under a shipping container. Now, many of them have been reunited with their families, and are in school for the first time in years!

 2016 has already been a busy year for us.

As we reflect back on our first "street rescue" last year, we are grateful for all the boys whose lives have been changed and thankful for our partners who have made it all possible. 

Last year, 31 boys were rescued from the streets. Sadly, 11 of the boys ran away and chose to return to the streets. We are always saddened when a child decides to leave the Shelter, but we believe that a child can’t change until he is truly ready. For that reason, we continue to reach out to these boys in order to help them to overcome their addictions and prepare for a new life.
The other 20 boys finished our rehabilitation program, and are now pursing educational opportunities with Shelter's support.

  • 7 boys joined our carpentry course and will be graduating in December 2016.
  • 10 boys were reintegrated with their families and will attend school while they are at home.
  • 3 boys will remain at Shelter until their families are able to accept them back home. These boys will attend school while they live at the Shelter, and we will continue to work with the parents. 

We are beyond grateful for all of the individuals who have supported us in our mission. 

We are already on the streets preparing for our next "rescue" in March--and we still need your help!

It costs $100 a month to support a boy. This includes everything from food and medical care to home visits and counseling. To reach our budget goal, it will take 60 people giving $100 a month, 120 people giving  $50 a month, or 300 people giving $20 a month! Entirely feasible.
 So if you’ve been debating on donating, now is when it will really make difference. Even a small monthly amount will make this happen if enough people do it.

If you would like to commit to sponsoring one of our boys, you can donate online at or you can mail a check to 

Friends of Naivasha Children’s Shelter, Inc. 
20 South Dudley, Suite 900
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Again, thanks for partnering with us as we change the lives of these precious children. 

Naivasha Children's Shelter