It is Valentine's Day today, and also the anniversary of the day that these five children found , for the first time, love flooding into their lives.Mama and Uncle Billy, responding to a call for help from the children's office, arrived at a Malindi slum to find the four older children alone in the ramshackle filthy hut.
Fred, the youngest child was naked, the others were in dirty rags. There was nothing to eat,nothing to wear, noone to keep them safe, and Mama and Billy discovered they'd been left, sometimes for days, to fend for themselves while their mother took her youngest, just a baby, out to beg.
Uncle Billly and the children's officers who accompanied them, were, shocked to the core by the state of the children and their "home". Uncle Billy had never seen anything so bad in his 15 years as a social worker.
Mama said at the time:" I was just stunned that a mother could leave her children like this. I have worked here 11 years and seen many cases of extreme poverty, but this was not just poverty it was neglect in the extreme."
The sad little foursome were taken to the Happy House, Fred wearing an oversized t-shirt plucked from a nearby rubbish dump, and they were joined by baby Rose as soon as the children's office were able to locate the mother, apparently unconcerned about her children or their being taken into care.
At the Happy House, the children have discovered a life without fear, worry and neglect. Still a close family group, they no longer have to shoulder the responsibility of caring each other. They enjoy nourishing meals instead of the meagre scraps, scavenged from wherever.
They are happy, playful and safe, all are in school and doing well. Mariam,the eldest, who had never been to school before is fast catching up on lost time. They know they are loved, by their family at the Happy House and by those sponsors and friends of the charity in the wider world.
Mama says: "We picked our own Valentine's flowers that day and have, ever since, had the joy of watching them grow and blossom."
*It costs just 65p a day to sponsor a Happy House child and will bring you, and your child, lasting joy. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.