Eleven years ago we opened the doors of Kithoka Amani Children’s Home (KACH) to 10 young children who had lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Today we house and take care of 73 orphans. 63 of these children have lived in KACH since schools were closed in March this year due to COVID-19. Having 63 kids at home has been a huge responsibility and a hard work to keep them fed, healthy, clothed and meaningfully engaged for the last six months.
During the school year, our children go to school for a total of nine months with three months of holidays. In a year, we have the children at home for three months. The rest of the time they are in school. This year, we will have the children home for nine months!
Having the children at home has been a blessing in some ways. We have spent quality time together working as a team to keep our home running since all our staff went home due to COVID-19. The children have taken up roles of management at the home. The Housemother, Housefather, cooks, housekeepers and teachers have been our older children – those in university and high school. We have been building a boy’s dormitory because the house at KACH has become small now that all the kids are home. The construction crew has been our older children in high school and university. We have done a lot of work to improve our farm and home together. This has built a whole new level of closeness among the children.
The university students have been teaching high school students and the high school students have been teaching the primary level children. Everyone has been responsible for an area that needs care. The younger kids have been taking care of the compound. The ten to thirteen year olds have been cleaning the floors. The older kids have been cooking, washing clothes and ensuring everyone else is doing what they are supposed to do. Everyone has been busy and occupied.
We also have had some challenges. In a space such as this, there is the one or two people who will be the odd ones out. We have had to talk to some children to remind them of why we are at KACH. Fortunately for us, the kids came from very challenging situations, so when we remind them that the choice to go back there is theirs, most reform fast. We are blessed to have largely well behaved children and older ones who are very disciplined. They understand that they may be orphans, but they are not the ones who are dead. They now have an opportunity to transform their lives and break the cycle of poverty in their lives and their families.
To go through the next three months, we are asking for help to keep the children fed, clothed and healthy. In six months, kids tend to grow fast. We have outgrown our shoes, clothes and other things. Support us to replenish the kids clothes and shoes. Euro 20 will enable me to buy a pair of shoes, shirt/blouse and trouser/skirt for each child. Euro 120 will help me feed each child per month.