New Life Home Trust is a non-profit organization that was started in 1994 by Mary and Clive Beckenham, to rescue children after seeing the suffering of many abandoned kids especially the ones who are either infected or affected by HIV. The home was first located in Loresho then later moved to Kilimani in 1999, where I am volunteering now. New life main work is to rescue abandoned babies who are mostly from new born to the age of 6 months.
They take care of them till the time their parents come to claim them or they are adopted by good people who take them to their homes. Should it come a time when they turn 3 years old and they are not yet claimed or adopted, they get transferred to their other home in Nakuru called the Hebron house. New life Home trust mission is to respond to the plight of vulnerable children, prioritize the needs of abandoned or orphaned kids infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and mostly important to ensure the children get the best education, health, spiritual and welfare needs like other privileged children in the society. While their vision statement is to identify and bring babies and children into residential or community care programmes in order to provide them with a compassionate remedy to their spiritual, physical, emotional, economical and sociological needs. On to my first impression, firstly, I would say it’s really noble what they are doing for the children because putting a smile on a child face is one of the most precious things in the world a person can do. The home is really beautiful as well. My first day of reporting to work I was a little bit disappointed because we were kept waiting at the reception for almost an hour without anyone attending to us. I found it ironic how they are strict with time but they themselves didn’t keep time that day.
Despite that little set back and the fact that they didn’t offer refreshments, everything else went smooth and was good. Onto the children, the fact that they ensure that the children eat a healthy diet everyday accompanied with fruits is pretty good. Two kids, who are the eldest, go to school Monday to Friday as well and the younger ones get taught in the homes every morning after breakfast. They have 4 units, one for the babies who are pretty young in incubators. We are not allowed to care for these babies because they are really young and fragile and require high level of hygiene. The nurses are the ones in charge of them. The second unit has babies as well but between the ages of 6 months to around 1yr old. Here the babies are mostly fed on milk and are getting introduced to solid food as well. Third unit has crawlers who are now learning how to walk and a few are already walking. The crawlers can be a handful sometimes. And the last unit is the toddlers and they are the oldest. Now here is where there is a lot of work because they are all over the place. Now you have to ensure they do not fight, do not eat dirt out in the playground and do not play around with their food. One thing that really captured my attention is how they are taught to always be thankful thus they pray before every meal.
Also another thing I took note of is the fact that they do receive a lot of volunteers on a regular basis. They accept students’ volunteers from only two school, USIU and Strathmore. They do not have a lot of staff but things run smoothly because of the schedule they have in place. Staff members wear uniform and this really makes it easy for us to get assistance whenever we do need one especially when we do not know how to do something. On the negative side, they tend to make us repeat the same things sometimes. This can be tiresome because for one to learn,they need to do new things and diversify it to ensure flexibility while enjoying it at the same time. one thing I’m really not a big fan of is doing the same thing over and over again. It can be boring sometimes and it can make one feel like they are not getting full experiences of the entire place especially if it has a lot of offer but limited to certain levels. For the strength, new life home trust have many donors who help keep the lights on and things running smoothly. They have over twenty international partners and over seventy Kenyan partners who help in terms of corporate social responsibility. They also get volunteers who help out every day. Donors who give them cash which they use to pay their staff members and also ensure the children are provided with everything they need. There are People who donate clothes and food too. Another strength is they use washing machine to wash their clothes. This makes washing clothes faster and clothes also get to dry faster especially the napkins since the children need clean nappies almost every hour and that’s a lot of clothes at the end of the day to be washed by hands. One of the major weaknesses they face is how people out there assume since it’s a children home located in kilimani they have everything and do not need much assistance. Not many people know of its existence and it’s sad. The best way to turn this to a strength is to talk about it to other people, spread the news. This way they can get a lot more help and growth. I also got to learn of it from a friend who had done her community service there and I decided to check it out for myself.
For opportunity, it has witnessed a tremendous growth since the day they started. They have created an opportunity for the abandoned children to have a normal life and for the couples who are not able to get their own children to adopt one. It’s also an opportunity to get many more non-profit organizations to sponsor their activities especially since they are dealing with kids. Major threat to the institution is the government. It’s hard to rely on them when it comes to the legal issues regarding the babies. They tend to drag everything and it might take a while before they declare a child free. This will hinder their adoption because the parents of the child still have claim to them whenever they decide to do it.
Also this makes it hard for new life to accept more children because they are already having many children, who are yet to get new homes to enable others to be taken in. Though I have been there for only 5 weeks,I would proudly say I have learnt a lot about the home and got to appreciate what I have in life because is not the same story of luck for every child out there,interacting with the children everyday always reminds me to be grateful. Despite all that,I would gladly help the home in letting the Kenyan community know of their existence and assist in any other manner I would at least for now. With time as I continue with my volunteering,I would have come up with more ideas of how I can be of more help to the home and collaborate with the management to ensuring more growth and achievements for them.
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