Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Mama's prayer answered

Auntie Libby with Mama Kennedy and Wiclif
 Kennedy and his brother Wiclif were forced out of school when their sponsorship came to a sudden halt and their mum had no means of paying fees. They are now amongst our first Happy House scholarship students. This is their story:
Kennedy's mum, Angela, was no more than a child when she gave birth to him 13 years ago.
Three years later she had his brother, Wiclif, by the same father, a boy she met in school.
Nothing came of the relationship, and in the years since she has struggled to raise her sons moving from up country Kisumu, to Malindi, with her own widowed father a few years .
When he moved on to try to find work wherever he could, she decided she had to stay in one place to try to get her sons through school, depending on a friend who gave them shelter in return for work.
Her friend moved and they were left homeless and relied on wellwishers to give them a bed. Now she has a room in Timboni, not far from the Happy House,  thanks to another friend who had lived there for a while and had paid three months rent in advance.
It runs out at the end of March and she doesn’t know how she will pay the next instalment.
Kennedy and Madam Rose
The three of them live in  a single room, built of concrete, in a complex of rooms. There is a shared toilet and washroom  for tenants at the end of the block.
Mama Kennedy  invites us in, we take off our shoes, and enter through the curtain that doubles as a door.
 She borrows a chair and a stool from neighbours for us, her guests.
The walls are bare, except for a few magazine pictures, and a clock. It has no hands.
The floor is covered with patchy oilcloth. there is one mattress on the floor and a kerosene burner for cooking.
All their possessions are stored in one laundry basket and some plastic boxes. A teddy bear sits on top. 
This is their home and is as clean as Mama Kennedy can keep it.
Outside the temperature is 34C  (96F) , inside it is unbearable.

One mattress for three
Uncle Billy asks her how she manages.  She tells us she goes out washing and cleaning, trying to work where she can. She is constantly worried about  what will happen if she can’t find the rent.
Kennedy and Wiclif were both sponsored in a local school and doing well. Then the organization supporting the school pulled out and all the sponsored kids were told to leave unless their parents paid up …and they were asked for backdated fees as well.
She has nothing, so there was no hope of paying so both boys were sent home. They were doing so well and want to go to school and get good marks.
Mattresses for the boys
Kennedy had already been offered a Happy House scholarship two days earlier - we had heard about him through one of our teachers who knew of him for being exceptionally bright. We didn't know about his younger brother.
But as soon as Mama was told she said there would be school place for both. And she sent mattresses and bedsheets from our store  for the boys to sleep on.
With her sons in school, where they are getting a good meal at lunchtime, their mum can concentrate on finding enough work to make ends meet.
The Happy House scholarships give a glimmer of hope to Mama Kennedy and a future for her children.
She wants a better life for them. 
She tells us: ‘’I didn’t get a good education. I didn’t get a chance after my mum died. I‘d like my boys to get a good education, it is the only way.’’
To find out how you can sponsor a Happy House scholarship student please email