Since 1999 our work in Kenya has reached out to children on the street, to orphans, to families and includes those affected in some way by HIV/AIDs. We provide support in the community and much of our work involves getting children to school, to college or university or into some form of craft training, all of which is aimed at providing youngsters with hope for the future.
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Our history and what we do today
The origins of Uhuru Ministries
This work for me, Terry Newton, Executive Director of Uhuru Ministries, had its origins in a two-week visit I made to Kenya in October 1994; this was as part of a four person Christian crusade team. The first four days of that visit, ministering in one of Nairobi's vast slum areas, was for my part something of a nightmare. [Read more].
I could not sleep, nor eat, drank little, had great difficulty with the heat, and generally hated being in Kenya and just wanted to return to the safety of the UK; I guess I was overwhelmed and terrified by the abject poverty all around. On the fourth day, at around 03:00 hrs and without sleep again I gave in, prayed, repented of my bad attitude, and asked God to forgive me and give me a love for Kenya and for its people – my life has not been the same since. In 1996 I went again to Kenya as part of a four person ministry team, and again in 1997 with Thelma, my wife. From May 1998 I went for two six months periods with a break in between to return home UK for Christmas. During which time I acted as administrator to a small hospital/health centre in a very rural area in Rachuonyo district, Nyanza Province. I am a qualified social worker, now 75 years of age, married to Thelma; we have four grown up daughters, and five grand-children.
The Start of the work
During my period at the hospital I had to make several visits per month to Kisumu to purchase drugs, supplies etc. for the hospital and during that time I spent a lot of time with families and talking to children on the street. It is one thing for a Westerner to hear about, read about, and see poverty on a TV screen or read of it in a newspaper, it is quite another thing to touch it, smell it, feel it and see the pain of it. [Read more].
I began to discover some of the pain that many people carried, as well as the hurt and lack of hope that is the experience of so many in this situation, especially so for children. A small group of three boys, friends together, came to my notice October 1999, and I with a couple of Kenyan colleagues felt very constrained to get them off the street, and I made the decision to rent a small house for them in a slum area called Manyatta, Kisumu. We called this Grace Rehabilitation Home. The work grew in size and in 2005 we moved to larger and better accommodation in Mamboleo, some 6 kilometres out of the centre of Kisumu. With the help of so many friends we managed to purchase this house in 1997. Another part of the work that developed for Uhuru Organisation (International) to give it its Kenyan name, was the support of children, orphans, families, living in the community, to enable them to gain education and craft training or provide some small subsistence for them to survive. In the UK we formed a Trust Board in 2000 under the name of Uhuru Ministries Support Association to raise money for our work. This organization was granted charity status in November 2001 and in our sister organization in Kenya, Uhuru Organisation, was granted Non Governmental Organisation status in Kenya in 2002.
Reasons for the work
The aim of the work of Uhuru Organisation in Kenya is the rehabilitation of street children back into the community, by carrying out assessment of the child's needs and opportunities which may or may not exist within the child's home community. [Read more].
Uhuru Organisation is involved in obtaining and providing financial support to youngsters by way of school, college/university fees and educational costs, or where a child's potential cannot be met by education to place and fund a youngster within some form of craft training. Uhuru Organisation since its early beginnings has sought to work with children and families against the extreme consequences of poverty with an overall aim to help a youngster eventually become self reliant and a provider of ‘tomorrow’. Poverty forces many children into street living. Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city has witnessed an increasing number of children on the streets. These children come from across Nyanza Province and Western Kenya as a whole. Research shows that poverty levels in Nyanza Province are particularly high. It is estimated that the numbers of poverty cases are approx., in Kisumu District, 63% of the reported cases for the whole of Kenya; that infant mortality is as high as 150-200 per 1000 children compared to a national average of less than 70 per 1000. It is also reported that Nyanza and Western Provinces together have a significantly higher level of vitamin deficiencies in among children. Another issue noted through research and experience is that HIV/AIDS is a very major factor within Nyanza Province and Western Kenya and that large numbers of people die through HIV/AIDS every day in Kenya, with a majority of these deaths occurring within the Western region; this being due to a variety of reasons including cultural practices such as wife inheritance? The number of orphans within the region has increased dramatically with children being subjected to the extreme consequences of poverty and many of these seeking a 'better life' or being forced onto the streets. It is the natural right of every youngster to have the opportunity of living a dignified life, to get schooling and obtain medical attention when sick.
At the end of 2013 the decision was taken to concentrate on providing educational help and support in the community rather than providing long term residential care at Grace Home and all of the boys were successfully moved back into their communities during early 2014. Grace Home now acts as a residential assessment centre and the base for our operations in Kenya. We now support 25 children in primary schools, 23 in secondary schools and 7 young men and 1 young woman at university or college.
Currently our financial support comes from the UK. In the main the support is made up of individuals, a few churches, and a few but increasing number of organizations; it is our hope however that we will start to see funds being raised in Kenya itself.
How You Can Help Us
You can help by giving a little of your money.
A gift for our general use will benefit a child or family and help us to support some of the world's poorest families. Most of our children have at some time lived on the streets. Like every family the Uhuru family is growing older and more of our children have become young adults who can now, given the chance, fulfil their potential at University or College.
If you would like to sponsor a child at school or a student at university then please contact us. We'd love to hear from you directly on the e-mail address below.
Or please click on this button to visit our Just Giving page and help us now.
Or raise money for us by creating a Just Giving fundraising page when you do that next big challenge!