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 a start was made on the building.
The walls were soon taking shape above ground level
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.
When Education Exchange trustees Sue & Dave Shorten visited in January 2018 the new building was up to roof level. As the photos below show the new building would provide superb accommodation for the children.
This was by far the most ambitious project ever undertaken by Education Exchange and in total we have raised over £35,000, from a wide range of different sources.
Steady progress was made through the first half of 2018…..
June/July 2018: the exterior is finished and we’ve moved inside:
In August 2018: the children moved in!
In February 2019, four trustees (Maggie, Rob, Sue & Dave), along with John, one of our prime supporters, visited the new Home, now called Grace Mwatate Children’s Home. They were delighted to see the children in their new surroundings and to feel the love and warmth clearly apparent in staff and children alike.
Maggie brought gifts from her school in the UK (Hopton Primary School) and the children had a wide range of new toys and games to play with
Following a sponsored walk, Hopton Primary also donated funds to complete the guttering of the building.
Sue & Dave’s visit in February 2020 confirms the great progress made, although there is still work to be done: full bed-nets for all beds, for example:
But there are great plans for further developments:
In October 2019, thanks to a massive donation from a long-term supporter living overseas, we were able to buy the field adjacent to Grace Mwatate.
In the short term, this area will be used to teach the children animal-rearing skills (chickens and goats). But we have a vision to build a vocational school on this land, and are already beginning our search for financial support.
So……. the story of Grace Mwatate Children’s Home is by no means completed: already, many young people are leading more comfortable, more secure lives, thanks in part to the supporters of Education Exchange, but mainly thanks to the love and care bestowed on them by all the staff- but we have a vision to improve still further their life chances by giving them the skills they will need to gain a first rate vocational education and employment.