Sunday, 31 March 2019

Happy House tales: Janet

Happy House has taught me how to care ... those are the words spoken by Janet in this video.
Janet was one of the first children to arrive at Happy House Children's Home when it opened in 2010.
She and her two younger brothers, Evans and Oscar, were in need of a home having suffered loss in their lives.
At Happy House, with Mama Sue and Papa Dave, they found a new and loving family and a new set of values.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Happy House tales: John found a family

In coming to Happy House, John found a family.
He came to us from a rescue centre in Mombasa in 2016,  along with his younger sister Diana, and brother, Daudi. 
He had not been in school and was unable to read.  
But being at Happy House where he was welcome by the other kids as a new "brother" he found security, love, and the encouragement he needed to help him grasp the opportunities open to him
At Happy House school he has learnt to read and so much more. He is still behind at maths but has the support he needs to improve.
He is grateful to Mama for all she has brought to his life. 

Friday, 29 March 2019

Happy House tales: Auntie Velma

 Auntie Velma, school secretary and one of Mama Sue's right hand women at Happy House, today, seven years on, tells us a little about how coming to work at Happy House has changed her outlook on life.
She starts with when Mama invited her for an interview and instead of being bombarded with questions was asked: Tell me a bit abut yourself. Velma's story was something of a revelation Mama did not expect.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Happy House tales: Our family strength

Understanding that everyone is equal, recognising strengths and weaknesses,  helps to make the Happy House a family and a very special one.
Evans, one of the first kids to come into our care when we opened in 2010,  says all the kids look upon themselves as brothers and sisters,
Regardless of where they come from, or their differences, they  have learnt to care and share. 
The result is a bond as strong as any that will see them through the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Happy House tales: I can talk to the world says Rukia

Speaking in front of an audience, with confidence, now comes easily to Rukia.
And to her it is one of the gifts she has gained from growing up in the Happy House family.
She came to us a small girl in 2010 when her grandmother, who she loves dearly, was unable to give her the home she needed.
Rukia is bright and articulate and with Mama Sue, Auntie   Auntie Velma as her role models she knows that women can achieve their ambitions, with determination and hard work.
In this video she is talking to a gathering of teachers, many of them new to our staff.
 Mama had brought them together to give them an insight into our family and what makes it tick so that they have a true understanding of our ethos which runs through all we do at home and in school.
Over the next days, we will be bringing you video glimpses of what was said by some of the children in our family and staff who work with them.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Prefects at work

Prefects play a important role at Happy House School.
Deputy head teacher, Mr Khamisi, explains how the students chosen as primary prefects assist by taking on  their own areas of responsibility.
Some keep an eye on the neatness of the banda or helping at mealtimes, while others monitor the toilet block or check the classrooms and the compound.
Prefects encourage their fellow students to take a pride in their school and their surroundings.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Kidz Club celebrations

There were two birthdays to celebrate at Happy House Kidz Club this week - Joyce Kimanzi and Eric Safari, who have both turned nine.
We were thrilled to welcome visitors - Auntie DawnHeather, Auntie Linda, John and Sarah Flanaghan and Carol.
The kids had planned a programme of activities to entertain the visitors including a playlet of Three Billy Goats Gruff, dancing, catwalk fashion and Papa's Army!
not left behind with Papa inspecting the army.
In the choir competition between the boys and girls, girls were crowned by judges Sarah and Carol.
Room captain Rukia received the Room of the week Award on behalf of her room mates.
Afterwards our visitors joined the kids in some dancing showing off their moves!
Pictured are top left: Sarah with Eric; top right Carol with baby Victor; bottom left Linda with Joyce and bottom right, John with Rukia and her roomies.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Acts of Kindness: Uncle Ronald

Happy House social worker, Uncle Ronald, brings our series of videos on Acts of Kindness to a close.
Here he talks about the kindness of two women, from different worlds, whose kindness has been such an influence on his life.
Firstly, his grandmother who, after the death of his father, took on the responsibility for him and his four siblings.
It was extremely difficult for her, but she saw the kids through school giving Ronnie the education he needed to go on to qualify as a social worker.
Our own Mama Sue's belief in the potential of this young social worker when he came to Happy House on an internship, has also had a huge effect on his life as she was later to offer him a full time post.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Joys of visiting Happy House

DawnHeather White has been visiting Happy House since it opened nine years ago.
She's been so many times she's lost count!
Now, on her latest visit DawnHeather, from Northern Ireland,  has enjoyed being at our ninth birthday party on the beach and catching up with all our developments and family news.
In this video, with our newest arrival in her arms,  she looks back over her visits and the joys of getting to know our children.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Chairs in production

Mama Sue believes in supporting the community.
Not only by providing employment for those working in our Happy House children's home and its schools but also by shopping locally.
And we are using locally-bought materials in our joinery workshop where our joiner, Unce Charo, and his assistant are busy making 250 chairs that are needed by school.
They have quite a production line going of beautifully made chairs.
If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of a chair, approx £20 each, please go to 
In this video our social worker, Uncle Ronald, talks to Charo in the workshop abut the job in hand.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Meditation, mindfulness and merriment!

 A group of visitors, from Estonia, visited Happy House School to meet some of our students.
After an introduction from Mama Sue, they talked to some of our top primary and secondary students about the importance of mindfulness,
They spoke about staying in touch with your emotions and feelings, and those of others, and of staying true to yourself.
They also illustrated the benefits of meditation.
We were grateful to the group, on a meditation course in Watamu, for taking the time to visit and Mama Sue invited them back the following day to meet all our children living at home at Happy House.
The kids were delighted to see them and to put on a show for them including catwalk fashion, acrobatics and a dancing competition.
Our guests had such a good time they got up to show our children some of the dancing from their own country.
They also gave Mama Sue a donation which will be used to buy sports equipment.
We are grateful to them for taking time to come to see us. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Donna's Diary: Having Fun

There were some twists and turns to a morning with our kids for our friend Donna McNamara.
She had a lovely time at Happy House entertaining the smaller kids and introducing them to the  game Twister,
They started off with some stories, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar before moving on to Twister.
The game proved a great hit with everyone!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Birthday beach party

 Happy birthday Happy House!
A party on the beach in Watamu was a wonderful way to celebrate our ninth birthday.
Mama Sue, Papa Dave, good friends Donna McNamara and DawnHeather White and all the family enjoyed a fun morning.
The kids a ball playing on the sand and in sea, with the older ones looking after the little ones.
Afterwards there were beef burgers for everyone to tuck into.
Back at the Happy House there was another treat in store - birthday cake specially baked in our kitchen.
But before it was served our excited family was in full voice to sing Happy Birthday Happy House.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Donna's Diary: Forging Friendships

Forging friendships between youngsters in at Happy House and those in Northern Ireland was the aim of a letter writing session held with our friend and first-time visitor, Donna McNamara.
Among all the wonderful items she brought to Happy House that had been donated by her family, friends and colleagues, were gifts and letters from number one Allstar cheerleading team, the Galaxy Allstars.
Donna held a session with some of our kids to give out the letters and to ell them about their new friends.
Our kids were excited to see photographs and get to know something about the girls who had written and were eager to write back to share news of themselves.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Today, Happy House is nine!

Today, Mama, Papa and the family celebrate the ninth birthday of Happy House.
It's been a long road - paved with love, laughter and tears - for our founder Sue Hayward and her husband and soulmate, Dave.
Together, they have overcome every obstacle put in their way (and there have been many) to create the most wonderful happy home for children who have come from backgrounds of tragedy, trauma or neglect.
Healing young lives with love, guidance and kindness,  they have weaved their magic on hundreds of children and young people.
they and their team have ensured that where possible children have not stayed in care longer than they needed to - successfully repatriating many into family homes in the community.
And they haven't stopped at the Happy House believing that education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty, they have built a school that is second to none - taking children from school starters to secondary leavers.
Mama Sue and Papa Dave's commitment and their honesty, has generated support from all over the world. Child sponsors,  fundraisers or donors are all regarded as members of our extended family.
Without their backing there would be no Happy House.
Raising money and generating income is an uphill battle, small charities like our own struggle to compete with the bigger ones that can afford to use resources to promote their cause.
We are grateful to every one who helps us.
Today, we hope you will think of us celebrating our anniversary with all our family at a birthday party on the beach. 
We will be thinking of YOU.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Donna's Diary: In the classroom

Our friend Donna McNamara made an impact in our school at Happy House when she delivered a business class to secondary students.
Finance director Donna, who works with her husband in their construction business in Ireland, introduced them to some essential skills.
Applying her practical knowledge to their text book theory brought the subject to life for the young people who are in their final year of school and who will be taking their KCS exams in November.
Thank you Donna for offering your valuable skill to help in school.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Right formula for success

Practical science in Happy House School lifts the subject from the page of a text book into real time.
And how our kids enjoy the experiments.
But we must have the right stock of chemicals and equipment to get the right formula for teaching science.
And they cost a lot of money.
So we are extremely grateful to those people who have made donations to keep our stores well stocked.
Our thanks to, as always, to Soroptimist International of Blackpool who met the costs of building the lab and would paid for the initial equipment.
That  funding came from the Christine Walker Memorial Fund.

Donna's Diary: School comes to life

When we were building our school at Happy House, Donna and Luke McNamara were generous with their support and encouragement.
Yesterday, Donna, from Galway, saw it for the first time.
After dreaming of coming to see us for so long, the reality of all that she is seeing is almost overwhelming - it's just so much better than any blog, picture or video can portray.
And all our little people, children like her sponsor children, Stevie, Harry and Austine,  have come to life.
Getting to know Mama, Papa and all the kids is such a joy as Donna's tells us in this video.
The picture above right shows Donna with Mama, Austin, Harry, Stevie and Emmanuel.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Donna's Diary: Kidz Club

Kidz Club is always a special time of the week at Happy House - time when the whole family gets together to share news, celebrate birthdays and to sing!
And over the years, Donna McNamara has been reading about it on our blog.
Now it's become a reality, as on her first visit to our family, she was very much a part of it.
She and her husband, Like, and their two daughters have done so much to encourage and support Happy House and so Mama and Papa wanted to make Donna's first Kidz Club a special one. 
The children put on a show, there was a welcome cake, singing competition and Donna was asked to present birthday gifts to the two boys celebrating their birthdays - Dulla,10, and Baraka Francis. 12. Dulla is pictured top, Baraka below.
She also handed over the prize to John and his roomies for winning the best kept room of the week (top group).
The singing contest was won by the boys choir (bottom group).

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Donna's diary: Day 1

 Mama, Papa, Auntie Rose and some of our Happy House kids were at Malindi Airport to give a surprise welcome to our friend Donna McNamara from Ireland.
Donna has long been supporting our family by sponsoring children and in other ways but this is the first time she has got to visit.
Her plane touched down late Monday afternoon, so being after school there was time for some of the children to join Mama and Papa on their way to meet her.

Yesterday morning she arrived at Happy House to be met by Mama, her staff and our latest arrival, baby Victor.
After unpacking the many, many wonderful items she has brought with her - everything from our wish list and more- all donated by her wonderful family, friends and colleagues, she was able to meet her sponsor children, Stevie, Harry, Austin and Emmanuel.
For Donna,  our family is now coming to life as she gets to know the people she only seen on pictures, videos or read about.
We are absolutely thrilled she has made the long journey to visit and wish her the happiest time with our family.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Showing thanks

 Whenever anyone does something nice for Happy House we like to say thank you.
They give so much, giving up their time to come to see us and bringing gifts.
We have nothing to offer in return, other than our thanks, our friendship, our love - and our talent!
So when members of Anjna Vekaria's Yoga for Serenity  group's retreat in Watamu came to visit our children put on a show to say thank you for all they have done  and are doing for us.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Making new friends

Members of Anjna Vekaria's Yoga for Serenity  group's retreat in Watamu visited Happy House on Saturday.
And Mama Sue, Papa Dave and all the family were waiting to give them a rousing welcome.
The group, from London, have raised £3000 for our family and have brought with them many gifts of essential and much needed items, including clothing,  which will be used as and when they are needed.
Earlier in the week, Anjna had been grocery shopping for our family buying items we use each and every week in the way of food, cleaning materials etc.
Our children, who, on Saturday,  were using the iPads brought recently to encourage learning through educational activities and games, were delighted to show our visitors what they were learning.
The group very kindly offered to buy another 10 for our family after seeing how much they were enjoying using them and how much they were gaining from them.
Afterwards the children put on a show for our guests which will be featured on tomorrow's blog.
Thank you for coming and for all you brought with you. We hope you will come back again soon.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Act of kindness: Katana

Katana first came to Happy house as a five year old, he is now 16.
After being temporarily united with his blood family, Mama Sue saw how he was struggling to cope and when he asked to return to Happy House she and the family welcomed him with open arms.
Mama Sue and Papa Dave are his mentors, his role models and his guides.
They are his blessing, and his act of kindness.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Books bonus

Having new text books brings great excitement to the students in our school.
Having the right books to help them through the syllabus subjects and to enhance their learning and revision is so important to them.
The youngsters in Happy House School never take books for granted - they know they are fortunate to have them.
For the students in our Form Four Secondary, like Nasri, this is their final year of school - in November they will sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Exams.
Passing these exams is the key to their future, so having all the implements and books they need is crucial.
In this video Mama Sue and the students say thank you to all those whose donations have made buying their new books it possible to buy new books.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Foundling finds a loving home

A baby boy, abandoned under a tree,  is settling into a new home, surrounded by love, at Happy house.
He was brought home  yesterday by Mama Sue and social worker,  Uncle Ronald, who went to the children's office in Malindi to meet him.
The baby boy, estimated to be four to five months old, is in good health and has been well cared for.
It is a tragic mystery as to why he had just been left all alone in the early hours of yesterday morning.
A kindly gentleman picked him up and took him to the police station who called in  Children's Services. 
They in turn, called Happy House to see if we could take him. There was never any doubt,  as Mama says: There is always room for another.
He will be given a name by our family and, as a foundling, will take the surname of our wonderful founders Sue and Dave Hayward.
He will join Brian, Harry, David, Esther, Elizabeth Anne and Emmanuel to bring the number of Happy House Haywards to seven - just in time for our ninth anniversary!
If you would like to sponsor our new arrival please email for details. Sponsorship is £20 a month and will change his life - and your own!

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Getting the most out of technology

The 10 iPads Mama Sue bought to help youngsters living at Happy House to engage with educational activities, are also being used in our school.
Rather than let them be idle during school time, they will be used in school to enhance lessons from Monday to Friday.
At weekends they will be available for group use by kids living in our home.
Like everything we have at Happy House they will be used to give maximum benefit.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Room of the Week

Visitor Anja Verkaria had the honour of presenting the room of the week award at Kidz Club at Happy House.
The weekly competition of the neatest and most ordered bedroom went to  Stephano and his room mates.
They were so excited when they were announced the winners and Anjna presented them with a mirror for their room.
She  was also asked to judge the signing contest between girls and boys.
The girls were declared the winners!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

First steps to yoga

Our Happy House kids had a great time getting to grips with yoga.
They were lead through an introductory lesson by yoga teacher Anjna Vekaria, from London,.
Anjna, who is visiting Watamu to host a yoga retreat,  had been in touch with Mama asking if she could visit and have some time showing our kids the basics.
Mama is always keen for the kids to learn new skills and to meet new people and knowing how naturally agile they are knew that they would really want to give yoga ago.
Anjna brought with her resources, books and activity packs, that not only show yoga positions but also introduce children to the philosophy of yoga and concept of mindfulness.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Anjna's gifts of kindness

Visitors to to our Happy House are always happy to share their talents with our children.
Yoga teacher Anjna Vekaria, from London, has taken time to give our children an introduction to yoga.
Anjna, who runs Yoga for Serenity classes, brought with her donation  of yoga books, mindfulness books and activity cards for our youngsters.
Anjna, who is hosting a yoga retreat near Watamu,  has been in touch with Mama Sue for sometime and has raised over £2,800 for our family on her JustGiving page.
Mama was delighted to meet her at last and to be able to thank her personally for her amazing effort.
See the Yoga lesson on tomorrow's blog.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Act of kindness: Brian

Brian Isiaho was nine years old when he came into the loving care of our Happy House family.
Until that time, he had never known kindness. 
His life had been difficult but at Happy House he discovered  what it is to love, to receive kindness and to kind.
In today's video, he tells how Mama Sue has been his guiding light.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Gifts galore

Visitors from Scotland brought gifts galore for our children at Happy House
Maisie Harley, her friend Maudie and her mum, Polly. were thrilled to see Happy House and all the changes that have been made since Maisie last visited four years ago.
Happy House has stayed close to her heart and she was eager to get back to meet the kids and to see our inspirational Mama Sue once again.
We thank them for their gifts which included clothes and toiletries - essential items which will help keep out store cupboard well stocked and which will be used as and when they are needed.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Spot of trouble!

When one child gets chickenpox they all do!
And that's just what is happening at Happy House home and school.
With the temperature soaring, keeping the kids cool and comfortable and covered in Calamine is the order of the day.
Mama Sue has with her Joshua, Jessica, Thomas and Ester, the last four children to be be affected.
They are enjoying a few days off school staying under the fans watching television and getting the odd treat!