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. 

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. 

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.

Fidel will be home for Christmas

Fidel (far right) and his brother Emmanuel were reunited with their mother this month. Both boys will be beginning school in January. 

Fidel (far right) and his brother Emmanuel were reunited with their mother this month. Both boys will be beginning school in January. 

Fidel (far right) and his brother Emmanuel were reunited with their mother this month. Both boys will be beginning school in January. 

Fidel is home for Christmas...

In March, we introduced you to nine-year-old Fidel

For two years, 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. 

Earlier this month, we celebrated an important milestone in Fidel's journey. Fidel and his brother Emmanuel were reunited with their mother, Judith. Judith expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Shelter family for rehabilitating her two sons and requested financial support since her husband, who was the sole provider in the family, has left her. The Shelter will help provide for Fidel and Emmanual's school fees while the mother trying to get on her feet. 

We are now working with Judith to begin her own business selling fish so that she can provide for her six children. 

Because of your support, seventeen families received Christmas miracles this month. Seventeen boys were reunited with their families and will be joining school in January. 

Thank you, and happy holidays from the whole Shelter family! 

The boys got a surprise visit from Santa before they went home for the holidays. Each boy received a sweater, a pair of pants, underwear, socks and new shoes for school. 

We are thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!
We're thankful for you.

As your family gathers for the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to thank you for giving to Naivasha Children's Shelter. Because of your donations, we are able to rescue and rehabilitate children living on the streets and reunite them with their families. We are also able to help children return to school, and help families stay together. 

Albert, age 14, was rescued from the streets in April, and will be reunited with his family next month. He recently wrote a letter to express his thanks to Shelter sponsors. 

Hi all our sponsors.  I send you many greetings like the stars. Hope that you are fine. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support and caring. 

This is because you brought me from the street and due to your support, I am now clean. In the streets we had to sleep inside sacks, but now I have a good bed without bed bugs. 

And also in the street we had to beg for food, but now we are okay. 

And I want to take this golden chance to appreciate all of you for bringing me to the Shelter, where I am able to learn new things that I had not expected that I could. 

And with that few comments, may God bless you abundantly, and may you continue helping people in need. Thank you very much. 


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 smile.amazon.com/ch/47-3206484 before you start your holiday shopping and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Naivasha Children Shelter!

Annual dessert reception

Stephen used to live on the streets of Naivasha, went through the Shelter rehabilitation program, and now is living at home with his grandmother and going to school. You can hear his story at our Dessert Reception on Sept. 20!

Stephen used to live on the streets of Naivasha, went through the Shelter rehabilitation program, and now is living at home with his grandmother and going to school. You can hear his story at our Dessert Reception on Sept. 20!

It's that time of the year again--time for our annual dessert reception and fundraiser for the Shelter! Friends of Naivasha Children's Shelter is hosting our second annual dessert reception and fundraiser on Sept. 20 in Memphis, TN.  The event will be at at 7 PM at the Great Hall and Conference Center, 1900 Germantown Road. 

This year, co-director Kristen Lowry will give updates on the Shelter's activities throughout the year, as well as share exciting plans for the future. You will also have the opportunity to give to the Shelter, or sponsor a child. We will have photos on hand of all the children available for sponsorship. 

Please join us for some great desserts and to learn more about how you can help save a child's life! You can RSVP on Facebook or by emailing us at nchshelter@gmail.com. 

If you're not in the Memphis area, now is still a great time to support the work of Naivasha Children's Shelter.  Our work is supported by the generosity of individual donors. Our biggest needs are monthly sponsorships--both at the $30 a month level and at the $100 a month level. Please considering partnering with us with either a sponsorship, or a one-time gift. Your gift can make a huge difference in the life of a child. 

Friends of Naivasha Children’s Shelter is a registered 501c3 committed to furthering the mission of Naivasha Children’s Shelter. 


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!


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.