Timboni Tiva Childrens’ Home, Ikutha, Eastern Inland Province
This project is CMaD’s largest single ongoing commitment, funded by your donations.
It was founded in 1996 by local Christadelphian church members, and has grown year by year as needs have increased. The Home is managed by a Board of Governors in Kenya drawn from the surrounding community including members of the local Christadelphian churches. The Director is a qualified nurse.
There are now around 170 children associated with the Home, with the older children attending local boarding schools and 110 children on site attending the local primary school. In addition we support a Transition programme for the young people who have left school to help them into work or training. The Home and all the children’s education is funded entirely by CMaD, at a total cost of £105,600 pa. This covers, food, education, health care, school uniforms, the salaries of 22 staff employed at the project, and the farming project (see below). The cost per child at the Home is currently £656pa.
Children are selected to attend the home in consultation with the local area Children’s officer. All are formally registered with the Courts and the Home had a very positive inspection in 2013 with its registration being renewed without conditions. The project has a clear child protection policy.
The site extends to approximately 20 acres. The buildings are located in a compound of about an acre and include two dormitories for boys and girls, latrine blocks, a dining hall seating 120, kitchen, offices, resources room, and managers’ sleeping quarters. These are all set around a central play area. Outside this area is a farm, and the challenges of growing crops will be described later.
There is a small nurse-led clinic on site, which provides medical care to the children and to nearby communities. It also provides out-reach health education.
Coaching with homework is led by a teacher employed at the project, and Bible study, led by a local elder who is a former Headteacher of a nearby primary school, is offered on Saturdays for the older children. The resources centre is used by older children to progress their studies.
Timboni is located in a very harsh, semi-arid part of Eastern Kenya with minimal rainfall. Several water storage tanks with roof collection systems have been constructed on site. Water is a precious resource and the tanks provide safe drinking water almost all year round. Water is also pumped to the site by a wind pump from a well near the Tiva river bed for washing and cleaning.
The Home has a farm project on the remainder of the land which provides vegetables and fruit to enhance the children’s diet. Irrigation for the farm has been an ongoing challenge. The Tiva river is dry most of the year but a sand dam was constructed about 10 years ago to hold back water flowing below the river bed. This is then pumped to the farm. More recently, a water storage tank has been installed with drip irrigation scheme. As a result the project is now self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables and the surplus is sold at the local market to meet farm expenses. In 2010 a cow was financed through sponsorship by a youth club. Following the birth of calves in 2011 and 2012, milk is available to the children.
A child’s story
An annual visit is made by CMaD Trustees; we included the following account of the experiences of two of the children, from our Spring 2014 newsletter:
There are smiles and laughter as we stand in the Timboni compound in the warm Kenyan sunshine. We are watching the children and young people racing against each other. The pleasure in a simple activity is there for us all to enjoy. Eunice, at fifteen, runs past us with carefree abandon. When the race is over she joins her friends and they giggle together, watching others enjoying the same activity.
Life was very different for Eunice a few years ago – before Timboni. Life then had plenty of challenges. Food was often lacking in a family with seven children. School was not an option, because the family couldn’t afford school fees, uniform or shoes. What does a child do in rural Kenya instead of attending school? The day for Eunice, and many others in similar situations, would consist of cooking, fetching water, cultivating land and, as
Eunice says, “Doing many things.” Along with this she endured the unwanted attention of a neighbour.
Then, tragically, Eunice’s mother died in an accident at home. Eunice says only that “Life was not good.” Exactly how bad it was for her we can only imagine. But home for the last three years has been Timboni Tiva
Children’s Home, and Eunice’s life has changed. She tells us, “I am now well, eating, sleeping, dressing, happy, have education, enjoy singing, and CMaD helps me so much. The future is bright and my heart is full.”
A young man grins with enthusiasm as he dashes past us. Nzuve tells us he likes football, netball, and athletics.
Nzuve has lived in the Children’s Home for two years.
He is sixteen and he tells a similar story. His mother died of liver disease. He was often without food, having to eat wild fruits, not going to school because of lack of school fees. All this changed for Nzuve when he came to live at Timboni. Nzuve tells us, “I would like to have a good job, to support my five brothers and sisters, and to help other poor people.”
The children and young people we meet when visiting the projects in Kenya are the fortunate ones. In a country with no benefits, or safety net for the disadvantaged, there are many other children who have a life similar to that experienced by Eunice and Nzuve before they came to Timboni Tiva Children’s Home.