A Brief History of Kujali Children's Centre
We made our first step by rescuing four abandoned infants and caring for them in a rented room in Thika, Kenya.
Recognising that we would need to support the children until they were adults, we registered Kenya Children Centres as a charity in the UK and Orphan Children’s Centre, later renamed as Kujali Children’s Cetre, as a Children’s Charitable Institution (a type of NGO) in Kenya. Their primary activities were rescuing and providing a safe home for orphans and vulnerable children.
We built our current centre at Ngoingwa, near Thika, on an acre of land that had been donated by a local women’s cooperative. We moved into this new children’s home with 12 children and, gradually, the numbers increased to its full capacity of 60.
We opened our first feeding centre in a local slum village. It provided a hot meal and childcare for infants from families that could not afford to provide a daily meal. The following year, KCC started feeding centres in two more slum villages. The three centres provided meals for over 200 children.
We started reintegrating children from our residential homes with either safe relatives or foster parents. Reintegration allows children to grow up in a family and form links in their community, rather than risk their becoming institutionalised. Our social workers continue to visit the families and support their wellbeing, health, and education. We still provide temporary residential care for a smaller number of critically vulnerable children.
We introduced a micro-business grant scheme in order to help poor families generate an income to support their children. We provide a small grant and advice to, for example, set up a stall selling vegetables or hot food, buy seeds or make crafts.
We formed a partnership with a school in a slum and relocated our first feeding centre to their site. It immediately increased attendance at the school and continued to provide the improved health benefits, so we expanded the model and today we operate feeding centres for over 1,000 of the poorest children in eight slums and rural schools. We also opened a specialised residential home at our centre in Ngoingwa for abandoned babies and abused young teenage mums.
During the pandemic we had to suspend some of the outreach projects, but we continued to support the children with a regular emergency sack of food and hygiene items. This expanded as the pandemic continued and we supported 3,000 children, disabled and old folk at its peak.
We started a life skills programme at schools in two slums. It aims to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, which result from poverty, low aspirations, and lack of knowledge. Our counsellors facilitate weekly group sessions and give one to one counselling for 800 girls and boys.