Currently, there are estimated 3 million orphans in the country of Kenya.
47% are orphaned as a result of HIV, AIDS and many more factors.
700 children are orphaned every day.
Founded by Sister Mary Owens, IVBM and Father Angelo D’Agostino, the Nyumbani Children’s Home was created to care for children turned away from other orphanages due to HIV/AIDS.
Recently, Nyumbani Children’s Home expanded into Nyumbani Village, with over one thousand acres of land comprised of homes for children, three school institutions, a police post and a health center for residents and non-residents. Nyumbani Village is unlike other orphanages because it is home where children live with a grandparent who acts as their guardian. There are 104 homes supervised by six social workers. Nyumbani now serves more than 4,000 children every year.
A student of ASEC’s Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program, Sr. Faith Kamau of the Ursuline Sisters of Roman Union, works in the village.
She says that dealing with orphans is so hard because most people have no knowledge on how to handle them. Some children are sick and some have been mistreated as orphans. Due to this, some children have developed defense mechanisms to protect themselves making it difficult for them to open up and trust others.
However, Sr. Faith has been able to create great relationships with the children of Nyumbani.
“I thank God I had learn how to handle them both in my course work, the peer counseling course I did as a HESA Student and [a] reflective learning workshop I attended.”
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She describes a football and volleyball tournament held by her and her colleagues, where primary school children went against the secondary school children.
Afterwards, she held a party to congratulate them for their good work. They cooked and enjoyed a meal together as a family.
Sr. Faith comments that she is happy because she is able to catch up with the grandparents and learn new skills to accommodate both the children and guardians.
She attributes her good experiences to ASEC’s HESA program:
“Lastly I take this moment to thank HESA sponsorship, [I] am so grateful for the education I got and the knowledge I received. May our loving Father bless all the HESA Coordinators both in America and Kenya for the determined work you are doing for sisters in Africa. [I] am proud to be Alumni of HESA. Thanks a lot, God bless you.”
Sr. Faith’s time as a HESA student not only educated her in academics, but also educated her in handling problems in her work. Through HESA, she has learned skills to care for orphans, communicate and work together with everyone involved with Nyumbani Village.
As religious sisters become more educated they are able to better help their communities, congregations and countries. Only 20% of religious sisters in the regions ASEC serves have higher education credentials like Sr. Faith.
Through ASEC’s programs like HESA and SLDI, religious sisters are able to be rays of hope for the development of Africa through their service.