Rotary reaches out to Kenya’s orphans

Rotary reaches out to Kenya’s orphans

By Aretha Fouch Price

After a disputed presidential election in Kenya in December caused riots and a national emergency, Rotary clubs in Nairobi, along with clubs in Sweden and the United States, increased their support for projects that help orphaned children.

The Rotary Club of Stockholm International has contributed more than US$5,500 to the Phyllis Wambui Memorial Children’s Home and School near Nakuru, Kenya. Since December, the number of orphaned children there has increased threefold.

“Some of the children are coming to the home on their own looking for somewhere to escape the violence,” says Jacinta Njoroge-Iahti, founder of the facility, which she named for her mother. “We also found children … on the roadside not knowing where to go. And some of the children are being brought to the home and school by guides or children’s departments in Kenya.” An expatriate now living in Sweden, Njoroge-Iahti regularly returns to her native country.

The Stockholm International club, which attracts expats and diplomats, is particularly interested in projects that address poverty, health, and children’s rights in developing countries, says Nicholas Thompson, the club’s president-elect. “This cause fits well with what we stand for,” he says.

Less than 100 miles from Nakuru, a joint effort of the Rotary clubs of Dayton, Ohio, USA, and Muthaiga (Nairobi) is helping children orphaned by AIDS in the Mathare Valley. The Maji Mazuri Education Center Project relocates children from an overcrowded slum that has a 70 percent AIDS-infection rate to a self-supporting farm and education center near Kiserian.

The center is supported by clubs in District 6670 (Ohio, USA) with help from a $25,000 Rotary Foundation Matching Grant, according to Jim Beerbower, the Dayton club’s international service chair.

This article will appear in the upcoming July issue of Rotary World.


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