Friday, 31 January 2014

Auntie Pauline goes back to school

 A very big welcome to a new auntie.
Pauline Royle, who is in Jane's sponsor family, is spending two weeks volunteering at the Happy House.
And it's back to school for former teacher Pauline,  from Carleton, near Blackpool, as she is helping out in our nursery school.
She was a big hit hit with the kids on her very first day assisting their class teacher.
Pauline arrived on Tuesday just in time for Kidz Club, and made her classroom debut yesterday.
Pauline is a wonderful support to the Happy House and in October last year raised more than £800 by walking  the 235ft to the summit of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Big One - the nation's tallest rollercoaster.
It's lovely that she is now able to experience a little Happy House magic in person!
Good luck, Jack
Good luck to Jack Howard, 10, who is today taking part in the Gems Junior Triathlon in Dubai to raise money for the Happy House.
If youw ould like to support his effort the link to his JustGiving page is:

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The hidden price of parcels

Our family is forever thankful for the love and kindness of all our friends, from around the world, who support us with such generous giving.
At Christmas we were inundated with parcels for our children, which is wonderful and we so appreciate every single one. You made Santa's sack so easy to fill, with more left over for later!
The volume of parcels highlighted a problem we face every time we collected a gift send from abroad – import duty!
The cost of postage from the country of origin, and import tax we as a charity have to pay, is often in excess of the contents.
We know how much you love to send gifts, and are conscious that we have often asked  you, as we did before Chrsitmas to send gifts, or  for specific items, but after giving it very serious thought, Mama Sue thinks there might be a better way .
By giving money, to enable us to buy what we need locally we will all get best value for money.. Only when we are really stuck for specific necessities, that we can't buy in Kenya, will we put out a request that requires postage.

We are fortunate that, thanks to YOU, our storeroom has a wonderful stock of clothing etc, and we also have a store of items to ensure every child receives a gift for their birthday.
But keep your messages coming!
Cards, letters, postcards, emails and photos mean so much to our children - they squirrel them away in their memory boxes with such pride and joy.
They really are enough.
Instead of a gift you could make a contribution to your child’s savings account. The accounts are intended to create nesteggs for our children when they reach independence. You can make contributions in a number of ways, email Elizabeth in the UK and she will send you details –
What we would like to do, and we welcome your comments on this,  is to tell you what we need at any one time so, instead of sending a parcel, you could make a donation via JustGiving, or cheque, instead., to buy an items. 
It worked brilliantly with school shoes ready for the start of this school year, when we asked you to donate £10 per pair.  This not only helped our children, but also put money into the local economy, which is an added bonus!
Right now we need exercise books – we have 70 children needing at least six each- and plain pencils.
We also need football boots and trainers, as more of our kids really getting into serious soccer and volleyball.  We estimate £10 a term for exercise books and pencils for each child.
Trainers and football boots are approx. £15 a pair,
If you would like to help with these you can go direct to
Just choose your amount (and every penny helps) and please leave a message to say what you would like to buy. Your name is optional, but please do gift aid if you are eligible to do so as it adds an extra 25p from the UK Government to the amount you give, and that’s a real bonus!
We do hope that you will understand why we are taking this road. It is a shame, but with parcels being penalised every which way, it really is the most effective way for you to give to your child, our family,  who we know have a very special place in your hearts.
Mama could not have created and continued to develop her Happy House without your love and your support, you are amazing and we love you, too.
Seed trays
Scott Webster, a volunteer who does much to help our gardeners in organising rotation and planting, is keen to get some specialiist seed trays out to the Happy House. He is happy to order and pay for them to be delivered to anyone planning to travel out to the Happy House in the next few months and is happy to transport them. He promises they are not heavy, just bulky!
If you can help lease contact Scott direct  

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

School report: Top marks for pupils

Happy House manager Madam Rose brings us some exciting news this week.
Happy House pupils are shining academically.
In the Malindi District Watamu mock examination results our children have excelled in the score sheets  nine boys and 12 girl have come out as best top ten pupils.
Our pupils are still shining in academics. Malindi District Watamu Zone Mock results are out. 9 boys and 12 girls are shinning in the score sheets as the best top ten pupils.
Best boys in the zone were  Kakithi Kyanbi (Francis)Griffins Ochieng, John Kalume, Maxwell Deche, Robert Kadenge, Epa Sanita, Evans Chengo, and Jacob Iha.
 Best girls in the zone: Teresia Paul, Nikki Mawia, Rihana Kimberly, Habiba Abdalla, Amanda Thawabu, Jane Juma, Shakila Saidi, Mercy Karisa, Janet Medza, Margret Kenga, and Grace Iha
Pupils from our school excelled in subject areas and overall. Francis, for instance, came top boy out of 2350 in his year!
The results we are gaining reinforce the importance to take the education we offer at Happy House primary school through to secondary level when the time comes.

It is always good to work with a director who cares about people.
Mama Sue likes to make sure that all those who work here have a smile on their faces.
We teachers certainly have a reason to smile in our smart new Happy House shirts,
Mama decided it was time for us all to have new shirts and chose a bright red in line with our school colours.
"We teachers certainly have a reason to smile in our smart new Happy House shirts,"
" Names of those children who are members of our Happy House family are in italic.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Joy steals the show and a store gift

Very good friends of  Mama, Papa and the  Happy House right since the very start  are enjoying their latest visit and seeing how much has changed.
Doug and Lorna Hare, from Limavady, North Ireland , and Scott and Laura Webster, from Royal Wootton Bassett, posed for thsi picture on the steps with Mama Sue and baby Joy.
Little Joy, daughter of our administrator and Mama's right hand woman, Auntie Rose, is proving a star attraction.
So many of our friends have known Rose for so long that they are just overjoyed to meet her baby girl!
Doug, a member of Limavady Rotary Club, is also seeing for the first time our children's adventure playground which Limavady very kindly helped to fund and also to catch up on the progress of our Harry, always a delight as Limavady Rotary the the first of his sponsor family members.
Thank you to Boots
Many thanks to Boots Lancaster for donating clothes from past-season stock for our family.
They have given a selection of children's clothing from their Mini Club range. 
Pictured are:  Department manager Carla Jack, assistant manager Victoria Leytham and store manager Sue Burns.
Because if the expense of getting items to Kenya (we rely on people travelling out) we are forced, sadly, to be selective about what we can accept.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Jack's our gem!

Ten year old Jack Howard loves helping the Happy House!
And now he's set for a really tough challenge, taking part in the Gems Junior Triathlon taking place on Friday at GEMS World Academy (GWA), Al Barsha, Dubai.
Jack, who lives with his family in Dubai, is a keen sportsman, but this will be his first attempt at a triathlon with a 200m swim, 4km cycle ride and 2km run.
Jack's dad, Chris is a fantastic support to our Happy House family, and who visited last year with his wife and sons, Jack and Leon,  said: Jack is working hard to do his best for the kids and in between training and early nights  has been promoting the cause to his teachers and his friends as to raise as much awareness as possible.
" Jack does already have a busy fitness schedule due to his football training which is four times weekly plus swimming three times weekly but as you can see from the picture has had to fine tune this in readiness by using the treadmill and exercise bike for Friday so to give his best shot. With support, as you can see, from his brother Leon!
"Of course we will update you on his attempt as this is his first time at such a event but for sure he will be giving 110 % of his efforts! 
Jack, who is raising sponsorship via a page on JustGiving, says: "The Happy House really is as it says Happy !
" All the kids are great and always have a smile. Please help me to help the kids as they really do deserve it.
"I will be doing my very best for them on the January 31 and with everybody's help raise as much as I can."
If you would like to support Jack's effort you can sponsor him online at;

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Riding high - by Jedida

Jeddy and Shakila
Today's junior blogger is Jedida who is writing about a very special gift delivered to the Happy House kids by Susanna Gregorio and her husband Livio Leardi, guardians to a little Kenyan boy, Levian.
Jedida writes: This is Jedida I just want to tell you that Levian`s mother brought us small bicycles at Christmas.
The bicycles were seven.
Penina, Fatuma and Mwende were the  first cyclists, and they were riding the bicycles.
Levian`s mother was as happy as a king.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Back home again

Emmanuel and Elijah
Back in November we told you of our efforts to return to their relatives, with support, the children whose family circumstances had changed enough for them to live back home with a caring relative.
This is in line with the Government's requirements of children's homes and we have always been committed to maintaining and strengthening family links when in a child's interests.
As the cost of schooling is a major obstacle in these cases, Mama decided that a child going back to relatives would continue to attend school at the Happy House where we would provide free education and healthcare for them. This would allow us to monitor their situation very carefully to ensure it is working for the child, who is always our prime focus.
Mercy and David

Hope with friend Selina
It was always a trial, and of the five children who went "home" four are now back with us, Brothers Emmanuel and Elijah returned when their their grandmum was left to care for them alone and couldn't manage, and Mercy and David couldn't settle back with their aunt, who is also Hope's mum. Hope is still happily at home with mum and coming in to school every day and Elijah and Emmanuel's grandmum comes to visit.
Mama said: " It shows that our plan to keep the children in our school works well because we can monitor the situation day by day. They will always be Happy House kids.."

Friday, 24 January 2014

Hello and goodbye

 Our Happy House family is used to coming and goings!
With so many visitors, plus volunteers, they like to greet them when they arrive and to wish them well when they leave.
And because the children understand  that before you come back, you have to leave  they happily wave farewell to friends.
After more than three months volunteering with our family , and for the fourth year, Mama and Papa thought Auntie Coral Blackhurst should have a special send-off.
So at Kids Club the children entertained and a handmade card was presented to Auntie Coral, who knew nothing about the party it as it had all been planned in secret!
It was a good opportunity to welcome Scott and Laura Webster from Royal Wootton Bassett, who are great supporters of our family and also volunteer as often as they can.
They made a presentation to Auntie Rose of a gift they had brought for baby Joy.
There was another goodbye too, to Susanna Gregorio from Milan. Susanna and her husband , Livio Leardi, help us so much and brought bikes for the little ones with money raised at GetFit ,the chain of clubs they own in Italy,
The effervescent Susanna, who bought icecream for the party, put her foot forward as the kids sang her the favourite song "Don't forget this home!"
Uncle Billy says: "Everyone had some ice cream and juice while super DJ Evans crooned from behind the behind the wheels of steel."

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Congratulations and celebrations

There were four birthdays to celebrate at this week's kidz club - every one celebrating a a milestone in life.
All have their birthdays in the coming week and, as you know, it is at kidz club, the one occasion in the week when all the family, children, teachers, voluteers and every member of staff are together.
As we are one big family, and birthdays are family occasions, t gifts are presented and  birthday songs are sung at Kidz Club.
This week's celebrations were for Katana, Rose Safari, "baby" Esther who is now TWO and Uncle Billy who shares his birthday with Esther.
Rosie's gift was presented by "Uncle" Scott Webster, who with his wife Laura arrived from the UK just in time to get to the Happy House for Kidz Club.
 It was lovely for them as they are in Rose's sponsor family.
All received gifts and greetings to the joy of everyone.
Happy birthday to them all and welcome back to friends Scott and Laura.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

School report: Prefects and PE!

 In this week's report from our Happy House School manager, Madam Rose, writes:
To ensure everything can run smoothly, the teachers saw it wise electing new prefects in various areas.
Janet has retained her position as the head girl and Evans as the assistant head boy.
It has been also fun on the field during games and PE as our pupils had serious exercises in preparation for a friendly match scheduled at the Happy House with Upendo Academy, our neighbouring school.
In Happy House School, learning is all round. Pupils learn in different ways that mean they always have a smile on their faces!
Our pupils had a good time with the visitors from Bravo Village who entertained them with a show.
It was really fun. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Family love for our two arrivals

Alex ready for school
Two little boys in desperate need have found a safe a loving home at the Happy House.
Sad and uncertain when they arrived last week Baraka Muktano, 12, and Alex Kinuya, who is around five, have, within a few days, settled in to our family, making friends, and enjoying school.
Alex has has a very difficult start in life, distanced from his mum at an early age and later left to fend for himself by his father. The plight of the little boy made his teachers from the Ganda primary who live nearby, and neighbours,  look for help on behalf of the boy and he was brought home to the Happy House. He is pictured (below) with the teacher, Mr Joseph Mwbugua, who sought our help.

Baraka was rescued on the same day. The youngest of three children,  after the death of his parents he left  with his sister who is now  married as a second wife with one biological child and three stepchildren.
Baraka was was not fully accepted by his sister's husband
 and children and this was causing him much unhappiness and many problems.
Knowing the child's suffering , his class teacher approached  the Happy House asking for help for the boy who is bright with great potential.
Now Alex and Baraka's worries are behind them and they are discovering what it is like to have the love of a family.
* Alex's exact age is uncertain as we are yet to have his birth certificate, as is often the case.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Just clowning around

 The sound of laughter reverberated around the Happy House when a clown and company popped in to entertain the children.
The show, just after morning snack break, was staged by clown, Gregory, who was joined by Allesandro Guandolini, Nicolo Mancini and Manuela, all from Bravo Village Resort.
The kids watched with delight as  Gregory made animal balloons, and then after making swords from balloons he invited two youngsters to a duel .., with him emerging as a very poor loser, which his audience found very funny indeed!

"It was a morning well spent and it was a good thing to make new contacts because  we need to involve as many people as we can in taking care of our ever growing family," said Uncle Billy.
Thank you to our new friends from Villaggi Bravo for putting on such a splendid show.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A walk to greet the year, by Rose

Guest blogger today is Rose Chai who is looking back to the very first day of 2014.
Rose writes:
I hope you  are fine and well .
It was in the holidays on  New Year's Day, a Wednesday morning, when we asked Aunt Rose if we could go for a walk, Shakila, Rukia and I.
We went to  visit Teacher Rose and greeted her and went to Teacher Tanui we visited her and it was a fun day.
It was a day to be happy and it is called new year because we are in the next year, 2014.
We are so happy for the new year a day which all the country celebrates

Saturday, 18 January 2014

That family feeling is everywhere

Volunteer Coral Blackhurst is nearing the end of her latest stay with our family.
It's been her fourth year, and each time she spends several months helping out in school or wherever she is needed.
Auntie Coral, from the Isle of Man, writes: " I fell in love with Happy House four years ago and it has given back so much to me in my life.
"One of the things I am always taken with is the total concept of family that Mama Sue and Papa Dave have engendered here..
" All the children look after each other and ,within that wider sense of family, their original family unit still exists for those who have siblings..  
"You watch a sister leading her little brother by the hand.  If something is happening or the children are needed the bigger ones race off to fetch the tiny ones or the babies. 
" The other day  I watched the children practising for their end of year athletics.  One smaller boy was leading in the second lap of the relay and as the others passed him in their desperation to win he was accidentally tripped up and lay on the field sobbing, more with disappointment than pain.  
"With one accord the entire school rose raced to him picked him up and comforted him.
"When I look around at the end of the school day there are the children in  little groups, swinging, reading books, kicking footballs, playing hopscotch or skipping.  
"All the activities  I enjoyed as a child when we relied on our own initiative and imagination to make our own entertainment.
"There is a buzz of laughter and fun and wellbeing.
"The sign on the gate says Happy House and once through it you know that is exactly what it is and more -  it is a truly happy home."

Friday, 17 January 2014

Interfaith event and Daniela's birthday

 Happy House birthday girl, Daniela, was all smiles when she took centre stage at Kidz Club.
Everyone joined in the birthday song and Papa Dave had the honour of presenting her with a gift.
Happy birthday Daniela.
Interfaith event
Elizabeth Gomm was delighted to represent the Happy House at an Interfaith Conference, hosted by Blackpool Muslim group Noor al Madina, at Blackpool Town Hall.
The event with the theme faith, unity and community brought together people of different faiths with the aim of creating greater understanding, plus highlighting the need to work together to benefit the local community.
The event was held to celebrate one of the most important occasions on the Muslim calendar,  Milad Un Nabi ,the anniversary of the holy prophet’s birthday,
Elizabeth told of how she had taken a leap of faith to work voluntarily for our charity after being inspired by charity founder Sue Hayward.
She told the gathering of the way Sue and her Happy House are saving and transforming the lives of vulnerable children.
"Every day I witness faith through the action of others.
 "People,from different walks of life, who invest their time, energy and money into helping to make life better and brighter for the children in our care. 
"It is thanks the faith of all those who believe in  what we are doing, who support us and  who care, that Sue's vision has become a reality and our Happy House children now have a bright future, where they can aspire and succeed."
The Happy House was an appropriate choice of subject for this event as Muhammad was an orphan and many of his teachings talked of helping others.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Grazie Gallarate

We have some truly wonderful friends in Italy.
Among them are Piera Lauria, her partner Oscar and their son Mattia, who visited our family for the first time in 2011 and again last year.
Our children have a special place in Piera's heart and she does much to raise money for the Happy House when she is home in Milan.
Her most recent effort has been to design and sell a 2014 calendar of pictures of our children which she tells us is selling very well.
In the meantime,  Piera tells us: " Dear friends Elena,  Jolanda  and  Daniela (hairstyle salon owners in Gallarate) did a Christmas in-store raffle for the Happy House: how special these girls are!! Jolanda & Daniela fund raised Euro 250.
Thank you so much to Piera  for all she does and and to everyone at the salon for staging and supporting the raffle.  We are just grateful to you all for your kindness ... you are very special.
The  top picture shows: Mari, Jolanda and Daniela (hairstyle salon owners), Jessica, Sabrina and last but and Jolanda's son,  Manuel .
Left: Mattia, Oscar and Piera.
Also pictured is cute piggy bank  ( holding Euro 320) Laura ( one of Jolanda's customer) generously gave it to Elena to help the kids at the Happy House.
Thank you so much to Piera  for all she does and and to everyone at the salon for staging and supporting the raffle.  We are just grateful to you all for your kindness ... you are very special.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

School blog: First week back

In this weeks school blog, Madam Rose, teacher and  manager, reports:

"What a busy first week!  

With such a big number of new pupils and three new teachers, it has been a time of settling in and getting to know each other.
The work done during the holidays to tell the community about our school must be applauded.
Our new teachers, Mr Isaac, Mr Alphan, and Madam Milka are already in touch with our Happy House ways of doing things and we welcome them.
Pictured: Top : Some of our pupils

Left: Madam Milka teaching English to Standard 6.

Right: Mr Isaac in Standard 7 Maths.

Bottom : Mr Alphan in a Standard 7 English class.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Playtime with the pups

Our playful pups Big Al and Polly are never short of entertainment.
They have soon settled into life at the Happy House are firmly established, alongside Happy the cat, as our family pets.
Just like our kids, the puppies are full of energy  so they always have plenty eager playmates on hand to keep them entertained.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Smart shoe shuffle!

Our Happy House kids went back to school looking smart from head to toe.
Their practical and bright uniform really does promote a sense of pride - personally and in their school.
Back in November, as the school year was ending, we appealed to you to help us meet the cost of new school shoes for every child.
So many of you, generous to a fault, responded by giving £10 and the result was that every one of our children old enough to be in school marched into class in shiny new shoes!
Thank you to every one of you, from every one of them.