Monday, 31 March 2014

Making a difference

Volunteers Fabiola Matute and Aleka Quintana are working so hard  with our kids, and enjoying every minute.
The two girls, from Mexico city, have been friends since
 they were children and volunteering in Africa is a dream come true for them.
They also put in a huge effort before they came, raising a total of 1000 pounds for the Happy House, and also spent a great deal of time and effort planning activities to do with the children.
These include a project on Children Around the World – they have  made Hawaiian leis, Red Indian headdresses, Mexican pinatas ,taken a imaginary trip to the pyramids and enjoyed flying the flag for Great Britain.
The children are having so much fun getting a glimpse of the way children live in other countries and Ally and Fab are bringing them so much.
They are always busy, assisting in school,  helping out with the babies  or turning their hands to anything that is needed. 
When school's out they're down at the play area, playing and singing with the kids.
Sadly, Aleka will be leaving on April 9 (and how hard it will be for her to drag herself away) while Fabiola is with our family until the end of April.
They will be missed, but, we know, the Happy House will remain in their hearts forever.
Volunteers, of all ages and from many different countries and backgrounds, have so much to give to our family and we know that their experience with us will change their lives for the better too.
To find out more about volunteering please visit our website:

Sunday, 30 March 2014

I like to skip - by Karembo

 Today, we have a very young blogger. Karembo: 
My name is Karembo. I am seven. My class in school is class one.
My teacher is teacher Maggie.
I do maths, science, social, Kswahili and English. There are other lessons also.
After school I do homework and then I play.
I play with Lily and Pendo. 
I like to play skipping rope

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Happy birthday Suleiman

Celebrating his birthday at Kidz Club this week is Suleiman.
Suleiman came to the Happy House three years ago with his sisters Mariam, Saumu and Rose and brother Fred and they are now little, and much loved, family within our family!
And everyone joined in to sing Happy Birthday to Suleiman and to applaud as he was presented with his gift by Madam Catherine.
Online shopping bonus!
Your online shopping is bringing a bonus to the Happy House.
We have just reached our first £100 in donations made by retailers, for YOUR online shopping.
 If you are shopping online with you can raise money for our Happy House whenever you shop almost 3000  stores, including Tesco, Argos and Marks&Spencer and Amazon,  by using the  fundraising website,
Every time you make a purchase, the retailer will make a donation. It may only be pennies, but they all add up to £s !
Even online grocery shopping and buying holidays can qualify for a donation.
 “What is so good about easyfundraising is that it is absolutely free to us and our supporters and a very quick and simple way to raise funds.Our supporters have commented on how easy the website is to use and some have saved it as their homepage as a reminder to use whenever they shop online," says  our UK coordinator, Elizabeth Gomm. 
"I use it myself whenever I am buying anything online."
Funds are raised in a very simple way. Supporters register to help a good cause and whenever they shop through the site with any of the 2,700 retailers listed on, the retailer gives a small percentage of what’s been spent back to the good cause to say thank you for shopping with them.
Many high street names are now involved including Amazon, John Lewis, eBay and Tesco giving causes and supporters a great opportunity to raise funds.
So please  help the Happy House  by using  easyfundraising :

Friday, 28 March 2014

A loving home at last for baby boy

Abandoned when he was just two weeks old, this little one now has a secure and loving home with our family.
When Abdulmalik's mum, a single woman, deserted him one of her friends tried to give him a home, but as her job meant working at night she was struggling to care and also took flight leaving him with a neighbour who was equally unable to look after him properly and to maintain her own job as a house help.
Neighbours were so concerned about the child thet sought help and after investigating the circumstances, he was brought home to the Happy House
He is now settling into a loving and caring home with so many new brothers and sisters.
Arrangements are in place to obtain a birth certificate and until then we do not have a date of birth for this lovely little boy, pictured her with Mama Sue's oldest friend Joan Ottley, a charity trustee, who has travelled out to visit from the Isle of Wight.
Abdulmalik's arrival brings our family to 82.
As for our other children, we will be creating a family of sponsors for Abdulmalik . If anyone who like to be a part of this please email for details.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Art in action

Neema and Esther ... face painters.
Painting is such fun - specially when your face is the canvas!
Getting in touch with their creative side are two of our tinies - Esther and Neema.
And while they are enjoying exploring the world of art, they are learning to express themselves, strengthening their hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, making choices, learning their colours and so much more.
Mama has always said: How can we know if we have a great artist, if a child never  has a chance to pick up a paintbrush?
Well, who knows, Mama, what talent lies in these young artists?
But for now their gallery is the baby banda where their paintings are pegged up in a line for all to admire.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

School report: Sporting challenges

In this week's school blog, manager Madam Rose reports:
It has been a busy week of inter-school sports for our pupils.
They started at the sub-cluster level. We were lucky enough  for 19 pupils were selected to proceed to the cluster level and from there 15 have been selected to proceed to the zonal level. 
We are very proud of our team who are so motivated by our Mama Sue who has made it possible for them to have sports shoes.
Pictured are the players selected:
Back row: From left, Mr Steve  (school coach), Margaret Kanze,  Nasri Juma, Gabriel Mwarabu, Martin Luther, Evans Khamisi, Kevin Barbara, Banana Ngari, Juma Charo, Immaculate Liwali and  sports teacher Mr. Mdachi
Front row:  Maria Ali, Mercy Parish, Pendo Charo, Maliam Safari, Faida Peterson, and Janet Medza

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A new chapter in young lives

The gift of a book is the gift of love to every one of our scholarship students.
They are so eager to learn and to soak up every ounce of knowledge they can.
Now they have exercise books, text books and pencils of their very own.
And there are another 9000 books that they can choose from to borrow from our library.
This is treasure indeed to these young people.
Every page they turn will open a new window on the world for them, adding a new dimension to their lives.
A book can transport them to another world, another time, put them into another skin, firing imagination and ambition in the process.
 These young people cannot believe how their lives are being transformed.
A fortnight ago a book of any kind was beyond their grasp.
Now, each one has started a new and exciting chapter of their lives.
*It costs £25 a month, £300 a year, to sponsor a Happy House scholarship student. This covers the cost of education, books, uniform, shoes, meals and snacks. In return you will receive a profile and picture of your student, plus school reports and updates. Please email for information.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Good to see you

Old friends have again returned to visit and how pleased we are to see them.
Sarah and John Flanaghan from Blackburn, Lancashire, are staying with friends in Watamu and  called in to say hello to everyone they got to know last year, when Sarah, a retired teacher, spent some time volunteering in our school.
Sarah and John, who are in Hassan's sponsor family, very kindly went on a shopping expedition and brought some very useful goods for our kitchen store cupboard.
Thank you, John and Sarah, for your kindness.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Stringing along with Jon Gomm - by Margaret

Having a lesson from world renowned  guitar player Jon Gomm, son of our Happy House family’s Auntie Libby,  has been an inspiration to today’s junior blogger.
 I am Margaret, today’s blogger and I would like to tell you about The Music Lesson.
When Uncle Jon came he taught us about guitar.
He called four pupils. They were Sifa, Jane,
Rukia and I, Margaret.
He taught us how to play the Happy Birthday Song, as we asked him.
The song was really fantastic, for sure I have never seen playing a guitar as beautifully as Uncle Jon. We played guitar well, but not like Uncle Jon.
We had great moments with Uncle Jon, from the day he taught me I have not forgot playing it and I am always practising for the better of my future and that I am not going to stop practising the guitar.
I will never forget Uncle Jon for the good things he has done for us, spending time with us and being really kind to us.
Thank you very much Uncle Jon. May God bless you.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A taste of honey

Life at the Happy House is very different from the world that most of us are used to ... and you can't take anything for granted.
Mama once arranged for a decorator to come to do some painting, he turned up as arranged but without a brush. She had to dispatch someone off to get one!
Then there was the time buying material in Malindi took forever, as every time it was measured it came out a different length.
Our family shopping order, sourced at the cheapest prices for us, comes all the way from Malindi in a tuktuk, and it's hard to imagine how they squeeze it all in to such a small place. But the locals do seem to be able to get anything into a tuktuk. Goats, mattresses, tables, chairs...
Our kids love  honey on bread for breakfast, and when honey is delivered it comes in a bucket - with a layer of dead bees on the top!
The honey gatherers, who don't wear any protective clothing when they climb the trees to collect the spoils, brush the crust to one side, and scoop clear honey out into bottles.
It might look off-putting when as it arrives, but it is delicious.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Doctors in the house

Looking after the medical care of the 81 children in our care is something we take very seriously indeed.
And so it was a pleasure, last week,  to welcome 20 Italian paediatricians from Progetti Pediatricio who visit children’s homes in Kenya every three or four months.
The group, founded by  former international football referee Pasquale Rodomonti, is based in Rome, but the doctors who volunteer are from all over Italy.
They were introduced to the Happy House by Valentina Moscheni, a friend of Mama Sue’s, who has a children’s home and school at Marafiki.
At the happy House, we set up two examination rooms, one for boys another for girls, and every child was given a complete health check.
Only one or two minor ailments  showed up, and a couple of common problems which may need further treatment, but overall our kids were, as expected, given a good bill of health.
They extended their checks to our newly admitted scholarship students and it was reassuring to know they are all well.
Progetti Pediatrico  is planning build a small hospital, for minor procedures, on Marafiki and said our children will be welcome for free treatment there.
The doctors also plan to visit us on a regular basis.
They were impressed with what they saw at the Happy House and congratulated Mama on her achievement.
We are grateful to them for coming to see us and for the kind and gentle way they dealt with our children. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Thank you Taif

Kay Summers, who is in Baraka Francis' sponsor family, lives in Taif, Saudi Arabia.
Until recently she ran a little shop there called Taif Nik Naks selling pre-loved goods.
Kay has kindly donated  £160 -10% of proceeds from sales of the clothes and household items on sale - to the Happy House.
It is lovely to be thought of in this way and we would like to send a big thank you to Kay for thinking of us, and to her customers for making this possible.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

School report: Mama is our role model

Inour weekly school blog,  manager, Madam Rose, reports:
A dream has come true  for Mama Sue  by taking our school to the less fortunate in the community by offering scholarships to 17 students.
After a week the pupils seem very happy and all smiles, very different from the uncertainty on that first day when  they came in for interviews. 
We are happy to have Mama as our mentor, she as a successful women who has a vision and a focus and a great role model for all our students. 
The Happy House school is now up to class 7 and  children who didn’t have a future have now a chance to forge ahead in a learning environment with all facilities that will enhance their holistic development.
What a great opportunity they now have to realise their dreams.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Timely gift

 A successful young Manchester businessman’s life has changed after being inspired by our extraordinary family  and its amazing  Mama and Papa.
Adam Deering, 32, a director of Manchester-based IT and hardware service provider Globenet Solutions Limited, is giving his backing to the Happy House.
Adam, who lives in Manchester, said:  “In meeting and talking with Sue I have found her to be one of the most inspirational people I have ever come across, her selfless devotion to all the kids at the Happy House which she sees as her duty inspires me with faith in the human race and that with love, education and devotion anything can be achieved
“Getting to know Sue, her husband, Dave, and their Happy House family, has helped me remain humble and keeps me grounded it also gives me a level of understanding that life isn't about collecting material possessions for oneself, that if you are in a position to help others then it will give you more personal reward than owning anything material in this world.
“Some of the children’s stories are heartbreaking but knowing that they are now smiling and enjoying life warms and touches my heart.”
Mr Deering has helped the Happy House with cash donations and also by encouraging staff to take part in dress down days and other fundraising activities.
He is also in discussions with various business associates for their involvement in raising money to help take the Happy House family forward.
Mr Deering’s most recent donation came just at the right time as the both the washing machine and the fridge had broken and been deemed beyond repair.
Mama Sue said: “I was able to replace them without having to worry about where the money was coming from. Unexpected breakdowns are always a worry to a small charity like our own.
 “Anyone can imagine just how vital a fridge and a washing machine are to a family of 80 children from babies to teenagers!
“We are looking forward to Adam coming out to see us sometime so that he can meet all the children he has heard so much about.”

Monday, 17 March 2014

Our fabulous Fleetwood friends

The Lancashire port of Fleetwood has really been pushing out the boat for our Happy House family - with two events on one week!
On Saturday, Fleetwood Rotary Club hosted an Indian evening organised by Rani Ramesh at Fleetwood High School.
Rani is in our baby Athman's sponsor family.
It was a wonderful night of friendship and fun, with proceeds being shared between the Happy House and Railway Children, which supports street children in the UK. India and East Africa.
Club president George Ayoma welcomed guests and urged them to enjoy the evening but also to help raise plenty of money for the two causes.
Elizabeth Gomm spoke about the Happy House and the launch of the school scholarship scheme for needy young people from the community, the realisation of a long-held hope for our Mama Sue,
Peter Proctor talked about Railway Children.
Entertainment included a beautiful display of classical Indian dance by Dr Swati Rout, followed later by some comic Bollywood by Derrik Foulkes, David Simpson and Stewart Walker, 
There was also bingo, a raffle and a delicious Indian meal.
The evening was a huge success with David Simpson announcing that £1,000 had been raised, with still more to come.
Our thanks to Rani and to other members of Fleetwood Rotary and to members of the local Indian community for helping out and supporting the event, and for being so generous.
Pictured: Main picture: George Ayoma with ladies in saris (Rani is far left); above right:  Swati Raut;  the Bollywood boys with Rani and twins Carole Pilling (Left) and Sandra Foulkes, who are in the sponsor family of twins, Pendo and Saumu.

                                       A night at St Nicholas

On Thursday, Elizabeth Gomm had a lovely evening with members of St Nicholas' Church's Evening mothers Union, when they were touched and inspired by the story of Mama Sue and her determination to make a difference to the lives of children by creating her unique and very special Happy House.
The evening resulted in donations totalling £59.50.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

My favourite thing - by Suleiman

My name is Sulieman. I am eight years old.
I like digging in the garden.
My favourite is digging in the garden and helping the uncles.
I dig with a jembe . A jembe is a tool to use in the garden.
My friends Musyoka and Katana like digging.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Destiny now in her own hands

 Emmaculate, 19,  is the sixth child in a family of 11. Her dad is a photographer, on a very small scale, and her mum is a peasant farmer.
Last year, Emmaculate sat for the Kenya Primary Certificate earning crucial points for going on to secondary school. But her family was unable to support her ongoing education.
She wants to be a doctor, and was desperate to continue her schooling.
Her elder sister saw her despair and offered her a place with her family in the very humble home she shares with her husband and two children. 
They live in one room, in a home made of mud , with a corrugated iron roof. There is only a curtain dividing the space for privacy.
The sister sells secondhand clothes and wants to help Emmaculate achieve her ambition.
‘’ Education is important. If she gets through school she will be able to help her family,” she says.
A Happy House Scholarship is giving Emmaculate a chance to go forward to complete her primary education and go on to secondary school.
It is a hope realised and her chance to shape her own destiny.
It costs £25 a month to sponsor the education of a Happy House scholarship student like Emmaculate. That includes books, uniform, shoes and meals. If you can help please email:

Friday, 14 March 2014

For love of Lovinne

Happy to be in school
Lovinne owes her life to the woman who stole her away when her grandfather was preparing to bury her alive. She was six months old.
Her father, who was not married to her mum, had died and her maternal grandfather wanted to be rid of the child.
‘’ He didn’t want her in his sight. The person was digging the grave and the kid was there lying on the ground, when an aunt was told what was happening and she steal her and bring her to my mum, her father’s mum,’’ says Getry.
Getry is one of our teachers, a lone mum of two children herself, who took over the care of Lovinne, now 11, when the responsibility became too much for her elderly mum.
‘’We took the matter to the chief, we wrote the whole story, but nothing happened,’’ said Getry “my mum is old and could not look after her, so I took her in.”
She got Lovinne, who knows the  her the story of her past, into a local school , sponsored by a European  organisation.
 When it withdrew its support Lovinne lost her place, because Getry could not afford the fees.
‘’I tried to find her a place in a Government school but could not,’’ says Getry 
“’she wants to learn and wants one day to be a doctor. I help her with her studies.
‘’I tell her God will provide for you and she says: I won’t cry, aunt,I will just pray, God will find a way.’’
Lovinne has been given a Happy House scholarship, she is overjoyed and so is Getry.
‘’I am happy. The education here is so good and the teachers really love to teach.
‘’It is not like Government schools where teachers sit about and don’t care much about the kids. They may have 80 in a class and it is not possible to teach every child in your class. Some always get left behind.’’

It cost 25 pounds a months to sponsor a Happy House Scholarship student. If you would like to know how you can change the life of Lovinne, or another child like her, please email

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

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

School report: Points well made

Scholarship student Kennedy (left) and Evans
In the week that we welcome our first scholarship students, school manager Madam Rose reports:
Our Happy House primary pupils took part in a debate hosted by Sawa Sawa Academy.
Held in the style of a parliamentary debate, each side had speakers to make their points
Evans was the speaker controlling the debate on the subject: Day school is better than boarding school.
Sifa was timekeeper and our Happy House speakers, making the case for day schooling, were Margaret Kanze, Grace Iha, Kennedy Owino, who  had only joined ourschool that day  as a scholarship pupil, and Joel Shakue.
Mama Sue, Papa Dave, Uncle Billy, Auntie Libby and volunteers Fabiola and Aleka went along with the primary  pupils and teachers to support our team
Judged on confidence, presentation and language, our Happy House won the day.

Well done to all those taking part

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The dawn of their new day

 Put the sadness behind you, and see today as the first day of a new life.
At a special school assembly, Mama Sue welcomed our first 17 scholarship  students, all of whom have suffered loss and extreme hardship.
But all are young people who want to learn. Education should be their right, but as for so many in this country it is not.
Mama inspires with her words, she is proof that with hard work, dedication and focus, dreams do come true. 
 Her Happy House was a dream and her road to reach it has been far from easy but now here she is, her dream realised,  and here are they.
These kids have dreams, career ambitions.
Mama tells them: ‘’You will be doctors, lawyers, pilots, teachers because you have this opportunity of education. 
''We are all the same here, never think you are less than anybody else, but never think you are better than anybody else either.''
Mama stresses that the scholarships come with responsibility. A responsibility to work hard, behave well, to show respect, and to be caring of those around them.
She explains they are now embraced by our Happy  House family. ‘’I will always be Mama to all of you. All of your life you will be a part of our Happy House family.
‘’All of you have told me that you have been beaten by teachers. You will never, ever be beaten here. No one will set about you with a stick, but don’t think there is not punishment here. There is.  If you do something wrong you will be excluded from doing things you enjoy.''
The young people listen intently as Mama tells them of how no have no need to fear. If they have a question, no matter how trivial it may seem, they need never be afraid to ask.’’
They have come to a wonderfully caring school, with caring teachers and pupils.
Mama says:‘’We are going to get the best results of all the schools on the Coast, we will lift you up to be better than the best.

‘’It can be done , if you have a friend who doesn’t want to do his homework, leave him to it. He is the loser.
'' Do your best always. You are here now with an education and can look forward to the future.’’
The kids leave the assembly and run towards class. 
This really is the dawn of their new day.
Please can you sponsor the education of a scholarship student - 25pounds a month will cover the costs of education, books, uniform, shoes and meals.  Please email for more details.