Mwatate Children’s Home and Rescue Centre is a voluntary charitable institution, providing a permanent home for more than thirty vulnerable and orphaned children aged 3-18. Before Education Exchange became involved all its funding came from local well-wishers around Mwatate, individuals, groups and businesses.
Its mission is to give their children access to their basic human rights. Habel Mwakio, Manager of the Home explains:
It is evident that many children suffer in the community due to abuse either by parents, family members of neighbours. Orphans and vulnerable children suffer more since mostly they have no one to depend on. As a result most of them drop out of school. Due to poverty, hunger and family abuse they run to the streets to look for refuge- that is where we find most of these children. We are able to rescue these poor children and provide hope to them and offer all the basic necessities.
During their visit in 2014, trustees Dave and Sue Shorten began to understand that the current premises were far from ideal. This was partly because of the high rent costs but more importantly because demand for places from a growing number of vulnerable children was outstripping the size of the accommodation. So the vision of a new, purpose-built Home was born.
In 2015, thanks to a magnificent donation from two business donors, Education Exchange was able to fund the purchase of a piece of land nearby and the vision of building a new Children’s Home began to take on reality.
In February 2017 the Home’s leaders were able to access about £1500 of funding from a local NGO “African Smile” in collaboration with an American missionary team. This enabled a start to be made on the building. A second grant was obtained in May.
In April 2017 Tim Shorten, our original co-founder, ran the London Marathon for Education Exchange. He raised nearly £10,000- an amazing sum and a tribute to Tim’s hard work and dedication and to the generosity of all his supporters and sponsors.
These funds enabled Mwatate Children’s Home to make massive progress with its development plans. In early June, plans were agreed between Home Manager Habel Mwakio and Education Exchange and the first funds were sent to finance stage one of the refurbishment and pay school fees. By mid July stage one was completed:
These improvements made a massive difference to the morale of both children and staff as well as making the Home safer and cleaner.In addition, all four children of secondary school age have had their school fees paid and can pursue their studies without fear of interruption right through to Easter 2018.
Funds for stage two of the refurbishment were sent to Mwatate in late August. This involved the construction and purchase of new furniture throughout (chairs, tables, wardrobes, beds and mattresses) , plus play kits. All these items will be taken to the new Home when it is finished.
Meanwhile at the site of the new build, a third grant from African Smile was received in the summer and further progess towards roof height was made.
In October 2017 we had news that the refurbishment enabled by Tim’s marathon donors has taken another big step forward. The current home now has new chairs and tables- all to be taken to the new home when it’s finished.
By December 2017 we were up to roof level and Sue and Dave were eagerly awaiting the chance to see the new building in January 2018. They were not disappointed: as the photos below show the new building is totally fit for purpose and will provide superb accommodation for the children. Since their return to the UK the final funds have been identified for the building to be fully completed during 2018. With funds held and funds promised we have raised an amazing total of £18,670 and funds for the next phase (£2950 for doors and windows) were sent to Kenya in early February.
This is the most ambitious project ever undertaken by Education Exchange. We hope that by the end of 2018 these vulnerable young people and their superb staff will have started a new and more appropriate phase in their lives: thanks to all our donors, to Tim Shorten- and most of all to YOU!
June/July 2018: the exterior is finished and we’ve moved inside:
Late August 2018: the children move in!
There is still some major work to be done before final completion- painting, signage, window glazing, plumbing and water installation, but it can be done “round the children”, while they already enjoy the bigger space and better facilities. Education Exchange is about to fund this final stage, which will cost around £8,000, partly from funds already raised and partly from new donations.