Footprints Children's Home 2018
Here we will keep you up to date with all the latest news straight from Footprints...
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Mending the road to Footprints - October 2018
Footprints is up in the Shimba Hills. It is maybe 10 miles from the coast and the town of Ukunda. The Footprints children travel daily to their school the Makemba Academy, in Ukunda. Most of the provisions Footprints needs are also bought there too. You may think this is no problem 10 miles on a tarmac road probably would take no more than 30 minutes driving. However, that is not how it is in rural Kenya.
There is no tarmac road from Footprints down to the coast only a dirt road. Immediately before the entrance to Footprints the road dips down steeply which would challenge any vehicle and is one of the reasons why the mini bus needs to be four wheel drive. Due to the incredible roughness of the roads and the many potholes, erosion, ravines and rocks jutting out of the surface the Footprints vehicle gets battered. It is not possible to drive quickly on such poor roads without damaging the vehicle. So it takes over an hour to get down to Ukunda. Without the vehicle, it would be impossible for Footprints to function as it does.
When my wife and I visited Footprints recently our first day was a total wash out. Literally, as over 10 inches of rain fell over a 24 hour period. The deluge further exacerbated the poor state of the roads, making the existing erosion much worse creating huge ravines, divets and washing away the top layer of the road. The local government is very unlikely to come out and repair the road as we might expect in the UK. Although it is not Footprints responsibility to repair the road in Africa if you want something done, then you have to do it yourself. One morning we set out with a little work party, Uncle Stephen, Uncle Robert, Uncle Darius and six children to repair the road.
We used jembas and spades to fill old cement sacks, which were placed in the biggest holes in the road. Then additional sand and soil was placed on top. We also used old coconut husks to fill in the erosion channels. In a morning session, in the sweltering heat we managed to repair about 100 metres of the road. Repairing the worst sections on the dip took a couple of days. One of the hard things is that it is highly likely that in a matter of months the road could be back in a poor condition again. This is just another example of how the things we take for granted are not there in Kenya. This provides a constant challenge. I certainly came back thinking I was never going to complain about the state of the roads in the UK again.
Hot News - Bid Now! - 11th September 2018
Your chance to own this fantastic signed England shirt.
This item will be auctioned as one of the lots at the Footprints 10th Annual Ball.
If you would like to be in with a chance of this item 'Coming Home' with you, then please email:
email@example.com with your maximum bid.
You will be contacted personally with payment criteria.
Online bidding closes at midnight on 17th November 2018.
This shirt was signed at the beginning of September by the 2018 World Cup squad, whilst they were training at St. Georges Park, getting ready for their game against Spain.
The squad signed the shirt to honour the memory of the beautiful Holly Brown and to raise funds to continue all of the wonderful work of Mama Kerry and all of those involved at Footprints.
GREAT TEAM, GREAT PRIZE, GREAT CAUSE!
The school bus is yellow!
The Kenyan government now require all school buses to be painted yellow.
So here is our bus recently painted - looking good and most importantly compliant with the new rules.
New Experiences August 2018.
Thanks to our Holly Brown Memorial Fund we have been able to give four of our older children , Matua, Joseph, Hassan and Uchi their very first trip on Kenya's new railway
with Patrick and I.
We took them to our capital, Nairobi.What an experience we all had!!!
We had a tour around the city and visited an elephant orphanage, where Hassan got to stroke a baby elephant - he thought it was amazing.
All four of the children will be back at school next week, studying for their last primary school exams, which are so important as they determine what school they attend next year.
With this thrilling trip to inspire them, I know they will be working hard to do the best that they can in these coming exams.
Thank you Scotland!
We can't thank Lisa Gray and our Scottish supporters enough for their wonderful donations of milk and nappies for Nicholas. Lisa drove all the way from Scotland with all of the supplies so that myself and six volunteerscould take them over to Footprints.
Wow what team work!
Nicholas is thriving as you can see.
Thank you to everyone. x
African Child Day.
On the 16th June every year we celebrate the Day of the African Child.
This year the National Rally was held in our county, in a remote area called Lunga Lunga, an area renowned for the early marriage of girls and generally the undervaluing of girls!
Children were invited from all over the County to receive a plate of food, Footprints was represented by some of our children, who went along and donated some sanitary towels to give out to the local girls.I was overwhelmed by how we take access to these items for granted, the look on these girls faces was like giving them a gift of ‘gold’
Talking to the community about adoption.
As part of our community outreach programs, we invited the ‘’Mothers Union” from our local church, to sensitize on the work of Footprints and to help us spread the word about the need for foster carers or Kenya parents who are willing to adopt. As international adoption has been banned in Kenya.
We are seeking to find ‘maybe’ childless couples, who are able to take on this responsibilit. It’s a very difficult topic but one we have to explain, as ‘a children's home’ shouldn’t be, under the law of Kenya, a permanent residence for a child !!
Our new Mother and Toddler Group at Footprints.
Today, the 4th June 2018, Footprints holds its first 'mother and toddler ' group for the mothers and young ones in the community, Adam and Rose will share their toys ( that you've kindly donated over the years) to give other children less fortunate a chance to interact and play with each other.
It is also an opportunity to give advice to mothers on the dangers around the home, a bit of first aid and anything that will enhance and protect their children.
Our mothers and pre- school children in the community don't have access to any of these things, so Footprints is bringing it to them.
if anybody has any sturdy toys they would like to donate, please message us at Footprints.
Watch this space for further updates !
Mothering Sunday 11th March 2018
On Sunday 11th March 2018 - our children resented the Mothers Union with sweets for Mothering Sunday. Children and mothers alike enjoyed sharing a moment in time together.
Counselling Sessions - March 2018
All of our children come to Footprints with a story, it is often difficult for them to adjust and we recognise that we need to allow them to explore their emotions. I have been doing some sessions with our middle group of children using art therapy to enable them to express their worries and concerns.
We will keep giving them time and opportunity to talk about their feelings, within our family.
Training Day held at Footprints - March 2018
Every 3 years we have to complete a huge amount of documentation which is submitted to our local social care department, where it has to be checked and sent on to Nairobi to be verified at Governmental level.
This year Footprint's documentation has been chosen to bench mark other children's homes by. We were asked to host a training day and as you can see in the photographs many people attended.
We are very proud of the work we are doing and enjoyed supporting other homes to up level their documentation as well.
Learning in the Crèche - March 2018
Aunty Christine is now developing sessions to help our youngest children develop. She is making sure that the crèche is set up with different activities each day to support their language development in both English and Swahili. She also ensures they have plenty of different toys to inspire play.
More of our children join Makemba School down in Ukunda.
When returning to Massai Academy in January, we found their management team had some disappointing news for the Grade 4 children. The Kenyan Government are introducing an entirely new curriculum for the whole education system. Massai Corner made a decision to make the Grade 4 children redo the Grade 3 year again, as you can imagine we were not happy with this change, particularly as it had not been discussed with any of the parents.
Kerry and Patrick made the decision to move 9 of the children to Makemba Academy with the older children. They all took and passed the entrance exam. So here they are in their new uniforms. They have settled in well and are enjoying their new school.
Education is so important to enable all of the children to have more opportunities in their lives, so the decision to move them was definitely the correct one.
We will keep you all up to date with their progress throughout the year.
Children of the month - February 2018.
Dotty and Sophia are this months daugthers of the month.
They achieved this award for their kindness, helping others and being organised for school.
Aunty Grace K. is proud of them both, as they are part of her house of children.
Well done girls, keep it up.
Elizabeth and Hadija started at Kingwede Girls Secondary School - January 2018
Hadija and Elizabeth have now started at Kingwede Secondary School, which is only about an hour away from Footprints, in Kwale County.
It has an excellent reputation, where the girls make good progress. This will be so much easier for everyone to have the older children within the locality.
Kerry, Patrick and the staff will be able to attend parent meetings for updates and provide more pastoral support to the girls.
Looking to the future all of the older children will attend secondary schools closer to Footprints.
Ali starts a new adventure at Polytechnic.
Although Ali started secondary school in January 2017 he was unhappy and not getting on well with his studies, so after a long talk with him about what he wanted to do we decided to help him get a place at a local polytechnic to study electrical installation, a skill that will help him to find work for his future.
Above you can see him on his first day looking very excited.
As all of the young people are older at polytechnic they have to be self sufficient, cooking, cleaning and washing for themselves. Just like here in the UK it is a perfect stepping stone towards independent living.
The Post 18 Strategy is now a reality for Footprints as the children reach that age.
We all wish Ali the best of luck and will be following his progress with interest.
Taekwondo Lessons at Footprints - February 2018
Taekwondo Lessons are now so popular with the Footprints children that the teacher comes up to Footprints twice a week, rather than everyone travelling down to Ukunda.
Have a look at these photographs, you can see how much they are enjoying learning this new skill.
The Holly Brown fund is paying for this enrichment activity.
We would also like to thank a Taekwondo club in the UK, who donated all of these
uniforms - they really make the children feel special.
Our Taekwondo Yellow Belt Team January 2018
Several of the children have been going down to Ukunda in the holidays to take up Taekwondo and as you can see they are becoming successful.
We have Joseph, Sara and Rachel with their yellow belts already. Now they are back at school they are going to continue attending lessons on a Saturday morning - again made possible with the Holly Brown Fund for enrichment.
If you are not sure what the belts mean here is a quick guide.
As the children progress we will keep you updated.
The Belt Colours and their meanings
Signifies innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Tae Kwon-Do.
Signifies earth, from which a plant sprouts root as the Tae Kwon-Do foundation is being laid.
Signifies the plant's growth, as Tae Kwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Signifies heaven, toward which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Tae Kwon-Do progresses.
Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Opposite to white, therefore signifying maturity and proficiency in Tae Kwon-Do. Also indicates the wearer's imperviousness to darkness and fear
Christmas Day at Footprints.
Well a whole year has gone by and it is Christmas Day once again, through generous donations the children's Christmas hats were full once again.
They, like children all over the world were excited.
This year there were beany hats, boxer shorts, toy cars, monkeys, small games and of course sweets and an orange.
It is only through your kindness that the chidren were wearing a new outfit for the day and had these treats.
As always it is pure joy to see them open the hats and explore their treats.
Thank you to you all, merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Local Holiday Makers Donated to Footprints December 2017.
The Tui Reps down in the hotels in Ukunda regularly support Footprints by collecting donations from the holiday makers. There are many tourists from Poland and Germany who are interested in finding out more about the charity.
Our next project, back here in the UK, is to get the information leaflet translated in to Polish and German to make the links even stronger.
A huge 'thank you' to all of the Tui Reps who continue to support us in our work.
Guardian's Day December 2017
Each year Aunty Grace spends a great deal of time contacting the children's extended family members and invites them to come to see how the children are doing at school and at Footprints. All of the children hope that someone will come to visit them. Of course most of them have a visitor or two but 6 of the children didn't see anyone, which made them very sad. There were lots of volunteers and staff on hand to care for them and make them feel special with a treat of two.
You can see from these photographs what an important day it is to keep contact with their families.
This year Uncle Howard brought with him an instamatic camera so we all had fun taking small photographs and watching them develop in front of our eyes. Each child had a photograph to keep as a memory of the day and the families took a photograph home with them. Everyone loved them. Rabecca and Lavena's grandfather was fascinated.
A day like this takes a huge amount of effort but here at Footprints we recognise the importance of keeping in contact with extended families so that the children know where their roots are.
Tsarvo East Camping Expedition December 2017
As part of the enrichment programme funded by the Holly Brown Legacy - 29 of the children went on an exciting trip to the wonderful Tsarvo East Reserve.
The anticipation was palpable! Each child prepared their clothes and the older children sorted out the tents, sleeping bags and of course all of the food.
Seven adults accompanied the children, but it was very much a trip for the children to take the lead.
At 4 am we were up and on our way. It was a long drive with a short stop for a breakfast of chia and chapatti - a welcome snack after our early start.
We arrived at about 1pm and took a game drive seeing a whole array of animals. It is fabulous in Kenya, the government want all residents to see and understand the countries wildlife so the admission to the park is subsidised - which makes it affordable to take the trip.
The camp site was empty, so the older boys were up on the roof of the bus getting down all of the equipment. There was a food tent, which had to be tightly zipped up to keep the monkeys out!!!!! They were great to watch around the campsite but very cheeky!
We spent 2 nights on the reserve with fantastic game drives and great campfires and cooking on the open fire. The children were a credit to Footprints.
We had a scary encounter with a very angry elephant and a massive scorpion - but we survived both.
The campsite toilets ran out of water after the first night, so that was a challenge but after informing the reserve staff, a huge water tanker drove over and saved the day!!!
Some of the children had never seen elephants and lions before and all we heard were gasps of delight- which was a joy to hear. The children also used binoculars, some for the first time and were mesmerised by what they saw.
The whole trip was enjoyed by all but the thing that sticks in my mind is Mathias exclaiming, 'Wow, wow, wow' - 6 months earlier he had been living on the rubbish dump near Ukunda, how life can change.
So as always we say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who contributes to life at Footprints - without you all we would not exist and our 36 children would not have a bright future.
The Alestree WI craft group made 6 black dolls for the younger children to play with.
Lots of the dolls that the children have to play with are white, as they are donated from the UK, so the Alestree WI craft group made 6 black dolls, with babies strapped to the backs.
The children love the vibrant coloured clothes and it wasn't long before they had the dolls strapped to their backs, using a kanga just as the locals do.
It is such a huge part of young children's development to replicate what they see in their families and communities, so it is great to see them loving these dolls.
Thank you to all that spent so much time and love in making them.
The dolls are played with daily.