Nico joins carpentry school

Nico joins carpentry school

Written by Isaiah, HHFL IT and Admin

We have walked a long way with Nicodemus (Nico as we often refer to him) from his very vulnerable tender age when we enrolled him into the programme. We took him when he was very ill.

Most of us can clearly remember it when he held tightly on to the hands of Mama Hanne and Mama Marianne when they visited him in the hospital where he had been admitted. At some part of last year he also got down with pneumonia which got us us all pretty worried.

One of our volunteers at the time, Milagro from Argentina, got very much involved in the medication and fundraised within her home community to restore Nico’s health.

Last year was his final year of primary education and he has been very determined to clear primary school. He is not very gifted in book work but Nico is very artistic and makes good use of his hands.

He had an interest to become a very powerful and trained carpenter and we went round looking for a good place for him. He took himself to Don Bosco Boys Town Institute in Karen for an interview in mid 2016 but unfortunately for his age he could not be enrolled there.

We then booked an interview slot for him at Don Bosco Institute in Embu where he went and impressed the interviewers! This week on Tuesday morning, Nico officially left for Embu under Mama Margaret’s care to go and join the institute for a carpentry and joinery course that is going to last him 2 years.

Nico will be using the boarding facilities which means we are going to miss him for a while until they get their termly break.

The Institute is in Embu, a short distance out of the busy town but in a very serene environment and very close to Mount Kenya and near Nanyuki where Mama Hanne and Baba Ted can pay him a visit and make him feel more at home away from home.

He left here with a very huge smile, an assurance that he is going to give it his best to become that which he always dreamed of!

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Happy holidays from all of us!

Happy Holidays

Nairobi Children’s Homes Music Festival

Nairobi Children’s Homes Music Festival
Written by Peter – HHFL volunteer

On Saturday 10th December, Teacher Isaiah and myself took a group of 40 children from HHFL to the Nairobi Children’s Hmies Music Festival which was held at Jamhuri Primary School grounds.

It was a festival bringing together kids from children’s homes and rescue centers from around Nairobi to compete in various disciplines and showcase their talents.

We were participating for the first time. We presented three verses (poems), one narrative, one song, two modern dances and a presentation using the recorders,  which the children have been learning to play during our extra curricular Christmas holiday program.

The panel of adjudicators were very impressed by some of the talents showcased by our kids and apart from attaining first runners up position overall, one of our kids, Denzel was noted for his exemplary talents in narration.

The judges were amazed that we were able to put up a spirited challenge despite this being our very first time participating. They were also quick to point out that they were expecting us to present some very stiff competition come next year.

We were awarded a certificate and the kids were given clothes and shoes as well as a sumptuous lunch.

It was a wonderful outing and we look forward to returning next year!

2016 Shining Stars: From education to graduation and beyond

2016 Shining Stars: From education to graduation and beyond

Written by Ted Horton, HHF founder

2016 has been another wildly successful year! We’d love to share some of this year’s educational achievements and milestones with you.

Before I begin, I’d like to share an inspiring story.  Today, I stopped in to say ‘hello’ to Mike Bundi, one of our HHFL kids at the I&M Bank branch where he works at Wilson airport. Mike came into our lives in 2006 as an HIV AIDS orphan in primary school. Mike is now in his 3rd year with I&M Bank and has been promoted twice. He happily told me that he plans to go back to the Kenyan Institute of Monetary Studies next year to upgrade his diploma in banking and finance to a full degree. It will take him another 2 years to get it done but he is determined to enhance his qualifications and career prospects. Way to go – we are so proud of you, Mike! You can read a bit more about Mike on our blog  - check him out here.

2016 EDUCATION SNAPSHOT

Since 2006, 140 desperately poor children have passed or are still passing through HHF’s doors. We have graduated 70 primary school children and 51 high school children.

We are currently supporting 46 primary school kids, 24 high school kids and 13 full-time college / university / vocational students. Nine high school graduates are presently employed. They are saving and waiting for funding so they also can pursue their dream of a post secondary education.

We are so excited to share that 26 HHFL children have become self-reliant due to HHF’s full support. They have also become donors by committing 5% of their salaries every month to HHFL primary school education. The first HHFL Scholarship is expected to be awarded in September 2017!

Three alumni have been chosen to sit on HHFL’s Board of Directors –  Mercy Achieng, John Mutahi and Mike Bundi. They have been taking responsibility for the every day running of the project.

2016 PRIMARY SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENTS:

All the HHFL kids attending St. Nicholas primary school make us proud.  However, we are very happy to announce that this year, the “Academic Award for Excellence” has been awarded to three HHFL kids – Michelle Adhiambo, Grade 7 (repeat winner); Snorine Lihavi, Grade 8 and Alfred Onyancha, Grade 3. This is a school-wide honour.

Snorine was voted 2016 School President by the entire student body! Congratulations!

2016 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS: 

Mary Wairimu, Grade 12 (age 17) has received the “Academic Excellence Award” for the past 3 years in her high school.  She also has been continuously nominated as a school prefect.  She excels in all fields but particularly loves sciences, math and computers.

Samuel Mumo, Grade 12 (age 18) excels in music and sang as a tenor in the school choir.   In the national high school choir competition, they placed first, which led to a televised singing performance for the President.

OTHER 2016 ACHIEVEMENTS 

Akirachix is an IT training organization for young women and they run yearly ICT Boot Camps to engage more women in technology in Kenya. They have been sponsoring HHFL girls for the past 4 years, a privilege earned by our kids due to their energetic involvement, interest and high level of participation during the week long seminar in Nairobi.  Every year between 5 to 10 kids are invited to participate.  This year, they extended the invitation to young men and we sent four eighth graders – Elizabeth Letoto, Virginia Njeri, Rosemary Njeri and Nico Mdunda. They won first prize for their creation of an automatic walking stick!  Nicodemus delivered the presentation to a panel of judges comprised of high profile businessmen and women.

John Mutahi was crowned one of 2016′s winners of the Mobile Arts School in Kenya’s art prize in the category of Visual Arts. John has submitted work over the past 2 years but this was the first year he won. John is studying Art and Design at Polytechnic University and has started a small art and design business with his classmate called Morphed.  John is also on HHFL’s Board of Directors.

2016 POST SECONDARY GRADUATIONS

Samuel Waweru and Gabriel Lando just completed their 3-year diploma course in aircraft maintenance at the Nairobi Aviation College. They are both living a dream neither thought was possible 7 years ago when they joined HHFL at the start of high school. HHFL fully supported these you men to reach this milestone and embark on the career of choice that they both love. In January, they return to Tropic Air in Nanyuki (one of the top maintenance shops in Kenya). They each did 2×3 month attachments at Tropic while they completed their studies. The folks at Tropic are happy to have them back. HHFL will finance the first six months of this internship (total cost $1,700) and then hopefully they will be able to find other outside financial support to complete the two -year pre-licensing qualification period. Samuel and Gabriel, all of the best to you both.

Mercy Achieng completed a 4-year Bachelor of Commerce degree at Strathmore University with special thanks to The First Group. Upon completing, she was offered a full time job as a Faculty assistant at Strathmore’s business school.  She has started a small jewelry business called Kitenge Bracelets by Kangsy. Mercy is also on HHFL’s Board of Directors and leads the WAO initiative.

Priscah Mulei graduated from the Kenya School of Accounting where she pursued a 1 1/2 year long ICT diploma which she impressively paid for on her own.

Samson Makau graduated from Amboseli College in Food Production and has his sights set on becoming a chef.

Magdaline Nzisa graduated from Don Bosco, a technical training college where she pursued a year long secretarial course.

What HHFL Means to Me: In the Children’s Words

What HHFL Means to Me: In the Children’s Words

As we reflect on 10 wonderful years of helping Kenyan children in dire need, we thought you might like to hear from the HHFL children and youth themselves. What better way to tap into what our organization means and why our work matters so much!

Asha Liza, Grade 10
16 years old

“HHFL is my home and I am proud of it!  This home improved my standard of living by giving me food, clothing, shelter, medication when needed and love.  As a teenage girl I feel safe and secure.”

Fatima Nasir, Grade 9
15 years old

“It is my first year with HHFL and I have learned to use computers and speak in English as in Mombasa we were taught in Swahili.  I have also learned to interact with people from other places and tribes, which never happened before.”

Bonafice Opiyo, Grade 9
15 years old

“I have acquired a new family where I feel appreciated and cared for, unlike what happened in Barbados Orphanage where I spent my primary years.  HHFL also has helped me change into a humble and responsible boy.”

Diana Mutheo, Grade 9
15 years old

“HHFL has provided me with shelter, guidance and counselling.  As a teenager I feel safe, secure and cared for.  HHFL is my family!”

Evans Mbogo, Grade 10
17 years old

“HHFL is a place where love and respect are the norm.  I have learned to give back and teacher Isaiah continues being my strongest role model.”

Anthony Githingi, Grade 6
13 years old

“HHFL has given me a home since 2006 and has allowed me to have a family where previously I had none.  HHFL has shielded me from bad company and negative vices rampant in the slum.”

Elvis Juma, Grade 7
14 years old

“HHFL to me means that I am assured of an education, food and healthcare; all of which would have been a pipe dream back in the slum!”

Leah Wanja, Grade 6
12 years old

“HHFL has encouraged girl empowerment and taught me that what a boy child can do, a girl child can do as well.  HHFL has granted me access to computers and internet, which are non-existent in the slum.  HHFL has also taught me the value of discipline, respect and teamwork!”

Lymphia Muhonja, Grade 7
14 years old

“HHFL to me is a place I can get to explore my talents and potential to the fullest.  I am also assured guidance and counselling whenever I am going through a rough patch and this means the world to me.”

Patrick Omukoholo, Grade 9
16 years old

“HHFL teaches us to be creative and imaginative, something that doesn’t exist in our schools.  HHFL has taught me that my main ability is in the creative field and I love it.  I am presently in charge of the creative side of things in HHFLs extra curricular program.”

Esther Nunga, College student

“I used to be bitter in everything, nothing seemed good but when I joined HHFL, it taught me that the world is not as cruel as I thought. HHFL provided me with a home that I never had. It showed me with love that I missed for so many years and above all it guaranteed me education.

Charles Muia, high school graduate and post secondary hopeful

“Through the support of HHFL, I have been able to complete my high school studies and attained good grades. Currently I am working in Java House Africa as a server using the skills I achieved from my Rekero Camp internship. I am also saving some of my income for my post secondary education where I want to pursue a Tour and Guiding course.”

Lucy, HHFL project manager since 2006

“When life seemed still & I had given up HHFL came to me in times of need & gave me hope where their was no hope. HHFL to me is a place of second and even third chance as it has given me & and many others a new lease of life. Training while on the job has also allowed me to realize my full potential while honing my managerial skills. HHFL has given me the opportunity to be a mother, an elder sister and a guidance counsellor to so many kids. HHFL has given empowerment to support myself and my dependants which would have been impossible so far back in the slum. Where I was previously an orphan, I now have Mama Hanne & Baba Ted thanks to HHFL.”

Samuel Waweru, 2016 College graduate in Aeronautical Engineering

“I feel proud and appreciated to be entitled in a big family, HHFL where caring and loving is unconditional.Through this big family, I have been equipped with computer skills that help me much in my studies, which is a field that concerns too much of research. This is something that never happens in normal institutions.I also feel safe and secure as I am away from the streets where drugs and gang activities are not optional to boys of my status and age.

I have a high sense of self-esteem and confidence. This is from the current affairs that we are taken through by Baba Ted. He is a role model to me and I’m have emulated him in becoming a good critical thinker. Leadership qualities are also exceptional in me. I have acquired most of them through HHFL programs and I feel I’m a good leader who is admired by many.”

Swedish community in Kenya support hostel facelift

Swedish community in Kenya support hostel facelift

Written by Isaiah, HHFL IT, Communications and Admin manager

During the month of July 2016, we got very lucky! We received funding from the Swedish community living in Kenya to upgrade the current boys and girls hostels at HHFL. Our hostel is home to 26 orphaned HHFL children who have no other family to live with. Today, there are 14 boys and 12 girls who live in the boys and girls hostels.

Why it mattered to upgrade the boys and girls hostel
HostelAs stated above, the hostel is the only home to 26 boys and girls. The children live in the hostel full-time during primary school and on holidays during high school (since they are at boarding school). It is therefore of utmost importance to train our children on proper sanitation standards and care of their personal belongings while they are in our care. Cleanliness, being organized and having a good night’s sleep are very important components that determine their daytime concentration in classroom and their overall academic performance as well as building their self-esteem.

What did we do with the donation?
HostelWith the grant from the Swedish community, we bought delicious new bedding (mattresses, bed sheets and pillows). It has been such an important turning point that has added value to the lives of our children. Besides improving cleanliness, the children can now sleep comfortably, organize their few personal items in easy to clean plastic boxes. We have used iron boxes in the past that got rusty and sometimes dangerous as they could injure the children while handling them.

When we asked the children about the new hostel updates, James and Snorine (current boys’ and girls’ captains respectively) had this to say:

James Kamau (Boys’ Captain)
The new look allows us to do cleaning better and leave the hostel looking very clean when we go to school in the morning. Each of us cleans on a particular day and we are very happy. I have been sleeping nicer. We are so thankful.

Snorine Lihavi (Girls Captain)
All of us enjoy the new look and beddings. We sleep very comfortably and we can organize our room well. We are really overjoyed because we were given our favourite colour, pink and yellow. Now our hostel looks clean each day. Each one of us has a turn to clean the hostel. We maintain cleanliness and we lack words to tell you, but only to say thank you for everything. We are really grateful for that.

Our 10 Newly Donated HP Laptops!

Our 10 Newly Donated HP Laptops!

Written by Isaiah, HHFL IT and Admin

thumbnail-5On the morning of 21st November, 2016, we received 10 new HP laptops from Tim & Cheryl Andreasen who are from Georgia, US.

They have been our friends since June when Cheryl followed us online from an interest in supporting a charity along Ngong Road. Cheryl had visited us during summer and she could not hesitate to share with her hubby the fantastic news of what we do with the children here in Nairobi.

Tim works for the IT department of their organization while Cheryl is a junior grade teacher for a mixed race school in Georgia and we had mentioned my intention of upgrading the computer lab – HHFL’s major challenge having been where to source for machines.

They so kindly delivered 10 fully serviced laptops together with their security locks. On top of that, the machines will be protected by antivirus security module that will be annually renewed from their credit card. It makes us very happy as the current machines have been becoming unreliable and almost being phased out.

We have been using Pentium IV machines with max 1GB RAM and 80GB Hard Drive. The specs for the new machines is Core I5 (about 5 times faster processing speed), 4GB RAM and 250 GB Hard Drive. They are also loaded with Windows 10, the latest operating system.

These paired with the other 2 machines that our directors (Hanne and Ted) brought as well as those brought by Jennifer from Dubai will give us a very good start for us to be up to speed with the modern world.

This is our happiness, to know that now our children can get quality service inside the computer room, which is a very vital integral part of our extra curricular programme.

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Sharon Akinyi

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Sharon Akinyi

Sharon Akinyi has been working with Mkopa Solar company in Nairobi since 2014. She cleared her O level education under the sponsorship of HHF and graduated with big dreams of becoming an accountant.

After graduating, HHF connected Sharon with Mkopa for an interview. She was invited for a whole day of interviewing with 70 other candidates, most of whom were college male graduates. She won a coveted position as a Call Centre representative along with another HHFL student, Faith.

Since 2014, Sharon works as as a Call Centre representative and has received accolades from her employer. But her dreams of getting her Accountant degree remained at the forefront.

Today, after working full-time every day, she attends night school at Strathmore University to gain her Certified Public accountant course and hopes to attain the CPA(K) status. She is paying for the majority of her tuition, while HHF has agreed to kick in where she is falling short to help her realize her dream.

Sharon is also a mother. She cares for her son whom she gave birth to a year ago. She is a very caring and loving mother to her son, to her own mother and to the HHFL kids.

To give you an idea for this young lady’s generous and kind spirit, she has offered to cover the cost for the drinks for this December’s closing ceremony at HHFL so that the young children can enjoy a holiday treat.

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Daniel Kariuki

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Daniel Kariuki

Written by Daniel Kariuki, HHFL Alumni

Having been sponsored by Hanne Howard Fund has meant a lot to me. I come from the slum of Lenana and education would not have been possible for me without this help. Hanne Howard Fund took me when I was very young and enrolled me into primary school. During school, life for me at home was very challenging.

I managed to clear primary school but could not join high school. I thought I was a bit older for high school and I was also trying my best to find ways of earning some living to support my dad. My mum was an albino and she passed on when I was still in primary school. She used to do some jobs to support our family and after her death I knew my dad would be much burdened with our needs.

I therefore approached Hanne Howard Fund because I love baking and cookery. In 2013, I joined Amboseli Institute of Hospitality & Technology for a food production course that took me 9 months followed by a three-month internship in Mombasa. After the internship I wanted to continue into the diploma level but I had to find a job.

I got referred by a friend to the Good Food Company Kenya that has its headquarters in Nairobi in September 2015. I was told they were looking to hire a chef and I dropped my CV after which they called me for an interview. Ten of us turned up for the interview but in the end I was picked with another guy.

I started working in the cold kitchen to prepare salads and sandwiches and then into the hot kitchen where we make Italian, Indian, Chinese and Kenyan foods. We do catering to companies and organizations such as the American Embassy, The United Nations offices, Westlands Towers where the Tullow Oil, the company that is mining petroleum in Kenya has its offices, Sony Erickson offices, The Hub Mall – Karen in the Kafor and Ocean Basket and recently we have started serving Mkopa Solar Solutions Company.

I still live in Lenana because I have to stay close to my ageing father and my little brother who is in primary school. With the salary I get, I am able to cover all my expenses and pay house rent for my dad and find pocket money for my brother. He goes to boarding school.

I feel very independent and will always thank HHF, HHFL and all the people who supported us around the world for getting me this far.

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Mike Bundi

Spotlight on HHFL Alumni: Mike Bundi

Written by Mike Bundi, HHFL alumni.

My sponsorship from Hanne Howard Fund supported me through primary school, high school and my college education.

I joined Kenya School of Monetary Studies in 2012 immediately after clearing high school. Joining this college was a dream come true to me. It is among the best colleges that are offering Banking and Finance studies in Kenya and is owned by the Central Bank of Kenya. I’d like to thank The First Group for helping me clear these studies.

I studied Banking and Finance for 2 years. The sponsorship I received offered me an overwhelming support that impacted and changed my life completely. Through this sponsorship I was able to clear college and then joined I&M Bank for internship through the help of HHF.

I got absorbed as an employee on probation straight after completing my internship in 2014. For the past two years, I have served as a Teller in one of the I&M branches at Wilson Airport, Nairobi and been promoted twice with increased responsibilities. I do normal receipts (depositing funds into customers’ accounts), normal payments (paying/cashing customers’ accounts), loading credit cards, prepaid cards and also forex services.

This past week I have been at the bank’s headquarters on training for fire and first aid. I am the chief Fire Marshall for my branch since all organizations have to comply with this directive from the government.

My private life has really changed. I live in one-bedroom house in Lenana; not very far from Hanne Howard Fund centre here in Nairobi. I am able to meet my day-to-day bills from the monthly salary that I get from my job.

When I look back at how far the sponsorship has taken me, I am full of gratitude knowing clearly that on my own I would be nowhere.

My very many thanks to Hanne Howard Fund for making me reach where I am.