Rescuing Abandoned Babies
In line with many others, the Kenyan government has decided that orphanages are not the right way to help young children. The Children Act 2022 sets a ten-year timetable for closing all orphanages in Kenya.
Kujali agrees. Our experience makes it clear that looking after children in an orphanage leads to the institutionalisation of the child, leaving them unprepared for later life.
In 2019 Kujali began a transformation programme, reintegrating the orphans in our care back to their families/communities and creating a dedicated Baby Unit with the capacity for 14 babies in three bedrooms, a separate kitchen, a nurse’s station, and a room to care for ill babies. Our first baby was placed with us through the Courts, by the Thika Children’s Office, in May 2019 when 10-month-old Baby G arrived.
Abandoned by his mother, Baby G was suffering from malnutrition and a respiratory infection. It is common for babies to arrive with both acute and congenital issues. Our initial focus is to bring them back to health and address any long-term problems. Once well, we look to reintegrate the babies with their families. If this is not appropriate, we work with a local adoption agency, Buckner (https://www.buckner.org/kenya/), to find the baby a new home.
Whilst the Children Act 2022 requires us to only look after babies under three years old for three months the adoption process can take up to a year. In such cases, we return to the courts to extend their stay with us. To date, we have helped over a dozen babies find a loving family.