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Kids Profiles

Brightlight

Background

Brightlight’s father died before she was born and her mother died when she was one.   She has no siblings, the only sibling died at the age of one and a half.   She was living with her aunt and uncle and two older cousins in the Kawangware Slum before being sponsored by African LEAF. Their house is two rooms, one small and one medium. The house is made of iron sheet walls, concrete floor, no sealing board on the roof, with simple sofa sets, one bed, cupboard, coffee table, radio, water containers The toilets are outside and shared.

Her aunt is a casual worker who sews clothes and her uncle is a casual carpenter. The aunt who has medical problems does not know what caused the death of Brightlight’s parents.

About Brightlight

Brightlight is 18 years old. She completed her primary education at the Rudolf Steiner Farm School at the end of 2019. After that she joined the Kiseryan Girl Senior Academy where three other African Leaf teenagers from Steiner are boarding with her at the same school. Currently Bright is in form three and she will complete her secondary education at the end of 2023.

Bright is a tall and athletic teenager. The changeover to high school was a challenge for her. Her mentor Pamela was able to guide her through this time, however. Bright is very lucky as Pamela, who was Bright’s house parent at Steiner School, has accepted Bright into her family during the school holidays with the support of African Leaf. Because of the hardship that covid 19 caused in Kenya, Bright was sent to stay with her grandmother upcountry ,8 hours from Nairobi in the far North, when all the schools in Kenya closed for 10 months in 2020. During her prolonged stay with her grandmother which was supported by African Leaf, she suffered from Malaria and a poor diet in the village. Pamela therefore suggested to have Bright stay with her during the holidays after the students returned to their schools. Bright is more than happy about that arrangement. Bright loves drawing, singing and maths. Considering what a hard start Brightlight has experienced it is heartening to see how resilient and strong a person she is, and she is determined to make the best of the opportunities given to her.


Christine

Background

We don’t have much information about Christine’s background. We know that her father is deceased but we’re not sure about her mother. She was living with a middle-aged guardian and her husband along with 5 other children ranging in age from 2.1/2 to 20 years.
Christine has finished Steiner with top marks and she is now in her last year at the Mt Carmel Girls Secondary School near Ngong in form four. It is a highly sought-after academic school and Christine continues to perform well in all her subjects.

About Christine

Christine is 19 years old and a very bright person with big dreams. She wishes to become a doctor and she is working hard towards that goal. Mt Carmel is quite a strict High School, but Christine has handled the system well and seems to be able to keep out of trouble. Her teachers do respect her for her work ethic and for her courage to speak up for others if she feels she must do so and if a situation seems unjust to her. So, she really has a strong social conscience and good self-confidence. Christine loves math and she is like a fish in the water and absolutely adores swimming. She was over the moon when her School bought a bus two years ago to be able to take the girls to a swimming pool once a week. Christine will finish at her high school at the end of this year.

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Diana

Background

Diana’s mother, who has a severe drinking problem, left her children in the house to fend for themselves, sometimes for up to 3 weeks at a time. The neighbours had asked a Community Health Worker to assess the situation as they were having to feed the children due to the mother’s neglect. African LEAF became involved when Diana fell into the fire within the house and had a bad burn to her arm which her mother knew about, but did not seek medical attention. Diana and her brother, Kiki, were wandering the streets, with Diana very weak and in tremendous pain. African LEAF organised for Diana to get medical assistance and then she and Kiki were moved to the Steiner Farm School where they joined the African LEAF Child Program. Being only 2½ at the time, Diana could not board at the Farm School so she was housed (together with Junior) in a little house on the school grounds.  The house and a carer were paid for by African LEAF until both could be enrolled in the Kindergarten at the Steiner School as a weekly boarder at age 4.

About Diana

Diana, also 19 years of age now, has progressed very well and has been identified as a gifted student. At the beginning of 2019 she moved from the Steiner School to the Kiseryan Girls Senior Academy where she is a boarder. She said it was hard at first as she felt shy and knew no-one. But eventually she made friends and started enjoying being at that school. She was delighted that Brightlight, Purity and Winnie joined her later from Steiner at the same school and she was so happy to be able to help her life-long friends from Steiner, to settle at their new High School. She absolutely adores music and dancing, storytelling and singing. She is self-confident and has a good sense of humour and is a very social person. During the holidays she lives with her aunt in a very poor area of Nairobi City. This has taught her the realities of the hardship that her aunt endures in her daily life, as well as noticing the very hard lives and struggles of the other people and families around her in that vast slum. Diana is therefore extra determined to make a go of her improved circumstances in life. African Leaf always supports the carers of the AL teenagers during the holidays.

Find out about the Meru tribe.


Eugene

Background

We knew Eugene from Saints of Hope, a kindergarten that we supported for many years in the Kawangware slum of Nairobi. His parents split up and he was living with his dad and his step mother until his father died. He found it very hard to get over the death of his father. He couldn’t live with his mother who had remarried as, according to the custom of the Luhya tribe, the new husband does not acknowledge any children of his new wife from a previous marriage, relationship or encounter. So, Eugene went to live with his grandparents before being sponsored by LEAF and joining the Steiner School.

 

About Eugene

Eugene, who is 18 years old now, finished his primary education at Steiner in 2019 and joined ‘the Apostles of Jesus Kiserian Junior Seminary’ for two years. But due to covid 19 and the long school closures in 2020 in Kenya, his high school lost many teachers who went back to their families in the countryside, never to return and leaving Eugene’s school without teachers in the classroom. Therefore, Eugene changed to Pumwari Boys Secondary School early this year, which he will finish at the end of 2023. Currently he is in form three.

Eugene is boarding at his school and stays in Nairobi with his older brother Denis and his mother during the holidays. His mother separated from her former husband (who was not Eugene’s father) and is now surviving with manual jobs and with the help of her older son. It is a constant struggle for the family to survive the harsh economic situation in Nairobi. Eugene is working hard to achieve good marks as he is aware that his mum needs him when he is grown up. During the pandemic Eugene and his brother worked tirelessly on Eugene’s education at home when the schools were closed. Eugene is a born dancer, a very good soccer player, a good artist, a dedicated student, someone who always made everyone laugh at Steiner, someone with endless energy and joy. Above all, he is very dedicated to make good of his future by working extremely hard.

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Junior

Background

Junior and his sister Faith were abandoned by their extremely desperate mother and had been taken in and were living with another family in the village of Mitaboni, near Machakos. But like so many dependants living in poverty they became bottom of the food chain in this household. Faith was underweight, beginning to show signs of malnutrition; she was filthy and wearing soiled clothing, no underpants and no shoes. Faith was being used as a work slave to do all the chores around the household while the other children played.

When first seen by African LEAF, Junior was having trouble standing up, his legs were swaying and he appeared to be very weak. His clothes were filthy and were hanging off him. There was a piece of cord tied around his waist to hold up his shredded trousers, his feet were bare and dirty.  He weighed nothing, had a huge bloated belly, his rib cage was sticking out, he had baggy skin around his neck and arms, his eyes were yellow and he had bad fluoride damage to his milk teeth.  He was too young to board at the Farm School so he was housed (together with Diana) in a little house on the school grounds.  The house and a carer were paid for by African LEAF until both could be enrolled in the Kindergarten at the Steiner School as a weekly boarder at age 4.

About Junior

After Junior finished his Steiner School education, he joined the high school “Masai Group of Schools”, in Ngong, as a boarder. He stayed there for two years before changing to a different High School, Magnet High school in Nairobi where he just finished form three. That means he has only one year to go before finishing his secondary education. Junior is 18 years old; he stays with a Steiner teacher called Rose and her husband at their farm near Machacos, 3 hours’ drive from Nairobi, during the holidays. He loves helping with managing the farm; he enjoys tending the cows and being in the countryside. Sometimes he stays with his elder sister Faith in Rongai near Nairobi, who lives with Rose’s daughter and grandson. Junior is very proud of his sister who also was supported by African Leaf and who is now working and supporting herself. Junior is rather shy around people he does not know. But when he opens up, he shows much interest in other people, what they are doing, wanting to know more about them and readily participating in discussions and conversations with a very good grasp of English. He loves storytelling, singing and dancing. He knows every song and every word in it when you sit with him around a fire, encouraging others to join in and then always throwing in ideas for the next song!

Find out about the Kamba tribe.


 

Kiki

Background

He and his sister Diana were taken care of by LEAF around 2005, after they had been locked up in a shack in the slum for 3 days without food. It was in the wintertime and Kiki tried to make a fire. His three-year-old sister was badly burned. The children screamed and got attention from the neighbours. The mother is mentally unstable and has no interest in the children. He never sees her or his father. During the holidays he used to stay in the slum with an aunt where six people share one room. They have to go out to get water as there is no running water. there is no running water.

About Kiki

Kiki is 22 years old. He went to Rongai High School after he finished his education at Steiner in 2016. It was a very difficult transition for him. At Steiner everyone was his family and he stepped up to be a big brother to all the younger African Leaf students at that school. So, he really missed being part of that family. His academic results were very average, and he struggled through the four forms of high school. But he did finish, and he passed his exams. Kiki is very street smart, he takes initiative, he is a survivor, he loves motorbikes, and he is a very good soccer player. He makes friends easily and he is ready to help others at any given time. For the last two years he has been training as an electrician. He has learned to live on his own, cook for himself, shop, wash his clothes, and survive on his allowance, which is always a challenge. Currently he is studying hard to finish his exams in July this year. We have promised to buy him a motor bike as a reward and as a means to help support himself while he establishes himself in his new profession as an electrician. He can’t wait to start his new life!

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Lincoln

Tribal Group Kikuyu

Background

Lincoln, is a Kikuyu from the Mount Kenya area, North East of Nairobi. His Mother was murdered by his father, a drug addict, who was jailed for life and no-one knows whether the father is still alive. He is an only child. He was living with an aunt in a shack in the Kawengwari slum. The aunt was not in a stable condition and not making enough money selling vegetables to take care of Lincoln.

About Lincoln

Lincoln, 20 years of age now, was taken into sponsorship by African Leaf and boarded at the Mbagathi Steiner School until he left in 2016 to attend high school by the name of “Kikuyu Boys High School” He finished his education there in 2020 with good marks in all his subjects. It took him a while to decide what to do next and, in the end, he decided to train at the PC Kiny Anjui Technical Training College in Nairobi as an electrician. He will finish his training there in September 2023. Lincoln moved into the home of a different aunt about four years ago where he has been much happier and where he is much supported and loved. He currently travels by bus to his technical college every day and back, still staying with his aunt who is supported by African Leaf to have Lincoln live with her. Lincoln is enjoying his studies, aiming to find employment when he finishes his course so that he can earn his own keep. His ultimate dream is to study interior design at university. Lincoln is a gentle and likeable person, has a good command of both spoken and written English, and is a good swimmer and soccer player. His education at Steiner has provided him with his love for drawing and designing and we trust that he will fulfill his dream to become an interior designer in the future.

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Lucky Moses

Background

Lucky was the result of his mother being raped.   She eventually went to a health clinic seeking advice on how to obtain an abortion. Because the pregnancy was about 6 months along, she was counselled to continue with the pregnancy and then place the baby for adoption. After discussing it over 3 days, she decided to continue with the pregnancy, as long as she could get support.  African LEAF was notified of the situation and agreed to take over the care of the baby, after delivery.   He was born on 4/8/07 and the health care staff named him Lucky Moses. The mother remained insistent that she didn’t want to keep the baby, thus she surrendered him before the Children’s Officer – Administrative chief, Riruta Health Care staff member Jane Njogu who subsequently has taken Lucky into care herself under the sponsorship of African LEAF.

About Lucky Moses

Lucky is 15 years old (he shares Barack Obama’s birthday) and he is still under the loving care of Jane and her family who will never give him up and regard him as their own. Jane’s two grown-up sons George and Isaac are most loved by Lucky as they spend a lot of time with him. So Lucky really was given the right name to be growing up in such a family. Lucky is a hyperactive child and is now attending a boarding school for children with special needs. He is an adorable boy, not shy at all, playful and active! He does not have a care in the world and soaks up the love around him. He has a special talent for roller skating and he is brilliant with computer games. Lucky is still attending St Nicholas School for his primary education until the end of this year. After that he will start High School in January 2023. Jane has been talking to Kenya’s Institute of Special Education to make sure that Lucky is afforded special conditions when sitting his exams at the end of this year. Because he has special needs, he requires more time for the exams for example. It is a challenging time for him and crucial for his future to pass these exams as no-one in Kenya can learn a trade if they have not finished high school. So, he must succeed in transferring to high school. Lucky has done very well so far, and everyone is very proud of him.

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Patrick

Background

It is not known who is Patrick’s father or if he is still alive.  His mother remarried a Luhya man and according to the custom of the Luhya tribe the new husband does not acknowledge any children of his new wife from a previous marriage, relationship or encounter. Due to this Patrick has very minimal contact with his mother.  Before being sponsored by African Leaf and relocated to the farm school, Patrick was living with his Grandmother and primary caregiver, Sarah.  Sarah, being old, was struggling to care for Patrick and make a living as

well.  They were living down in one of the worst areas in Kawangware in a tiny room with open sewers flowing outside the door. Patrick was extremely malnourished and weak and had a belly full of worms.

About Patrick

Patrick, 20 years old, has come a long way since we relocated him from Kawangware Slum to the Steiner Farm School. After he completed his education there Patrick attended Olkejuado High School for four years. He finished his last exams in April 2020 with excellent marks after a lot of hard work. After only a short break he enrolled into a computer course for a couple of months and then managed to get into a Chemistry Course at Kenyatta University. Chemistry has been his favourite subject at school, and he was delighted to be accepted. However, after three months of hard studies he decided to change over to a Diploma in Accountancy. He said the regime of study was extremely hard; long hours at university and the travel time to the campus took hours and he just could not continue with the strain of it all. He now has settled into his accountancy study which he will finish in September 2024. Patrick loves board games, drawing, and reading and he is a very good soccer player. He had the honour of playing in the soccer team of his former High School and played state-wide against other schools. Patrick is an amazing young man, very polite and well-mannered and someone who will fulfill his goals as he is reliable and dedicated. He currently shares a flat with another African Leaf family member, Brian, who is living independently nowadays.

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Purity

Background

Purity is the younger sister of Ketty who was formerly supported by African Leaf and is living independently now. Purity was sponsored by African LEAF after she lost her mother in 2013. It was not safe to leave her with the father who is an alcoholic and unstable. She loved Steiner when she joined the school and made friends with the other AL students and felt at home quickly.

About Purity

Purity is 18 years old and left the Steiner School together with Brightlight to attend the boarding Kiseryan Girls Senior Academy High School which Diana was already attending. Purity is in form three now and will finish high school at the end of 2023. She is a very bright student. Her English is very good and her English writing abilities are quite amazing. She also loves drawing, dancing, and singing. Her favourite subject at school is math. During the holidays Purity stays with her elder sister Ketty and Ketty’s young son Paul with the assistance of African Leaf. Purity loves her nephew and is a great help to Ketty during holiday times as she helps to mind little Paul. When the schools in Kenya were closed for 10 months in 2020, Purity showed great responsibility to help Ketty who managed to pick up jobs here and there and without Purity she would not have been able to do so. This struggle in Purity’s family has matured her and made her realize the importance to make the best of her given opportunities.

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Saumu

Background

Saumu lived in a family of 5 siblings and her parents sleeping all in one room. Both of her parents were HIV positive at the time we learned about Saumu’s and her family’s circumstances. They were extremely ill and the family did not have an income, relying on other family members and friends for paying the bills. When we took Saumu into our care it looked as if her parents would not survive for too long. Fortunately they both responded very well to medical treatment and especially the father’s health improved greatly, and he could go back to work. Her mother is still sickly but not terminally ill anymore. However, the entire family was struggling to survive in Nairobi and they moved back to the countryside where Saumu visits them during her holidays.

About Saumu

Saumu is 20 years old. After she left Steiner School she attended Enna Girl’s High School in Nairobi for 4 years. She finished her high school exams in April 2021. Originally Saumu had envisioned to become a banker. But she realized that her marks were not high enough, especially in math. With the help of her mentor Jane Njogu, they brainstormed about other interests of Saumu and she decided on a Diploma in Hospitality Management. It is an international recognized diploma which will give her access for employment overseas. She will finish her diploma at the end of 2023. Saumu enjoys her studies a lot. There are also practical skills of learning, like baking and food preparation and she proudly sends photos of these experiments! Saumu works diligently and has scored top marks in all her subjects. Saumu is a most beautiful person with a big heart and she knows that she has a great responsibility to help her entire family when she starts to live an independent life as they truly will rely on her for support. She now lives with other students near her campus in down-town Nairobi, in a boarding house that also includes meals. She has made good friends and is enjoying her course and she is most grateful to her sponsors to help her get a good start in her chosen career.

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Winnie

Background

Winnie was the last child taken into sponsorship by African Leaf.   After the death of her mother, she had lived with her father and stepmother for 2 years in very bad unhygienic conditions and was small for her age, undernourished and very needy.  She joined the Steiner School when she was 5 years old.  So far in her life Winnie had been a bit on the outside of her family living with a emotionally distant stepmother and her younger half-brother who she was expected to take care of like a nanny. So, when Winnie started living at the Steiner school it was the first time, she really could be playful and carefree according to her age and she loved that aspect of enjoying a childhood she never had before. She also thrived under the motherly love of the house mums at Steiner.

About Winnie

Winnie is now 17 years old. She finished her primary education at Steiner in April 2021 and joined Kiseryan Girl Senior Academy in July that year, where already 3 other former Steiner students supported by African Leaf had started their high school years. That made it easier for Winnie to adjust to her new environment. Academically she is doing well at the school, and she is enjoying her learning experience there. Winnie will finish high school at the end of 2024. Winnie still is a playful person with a big heart, and she does love younger children and has endless energies for spending time with them. So maybe she might look at a career as child educator. During the holidays she goes home to her dad’s home in the Nairobi slum. There she is still confronted with a very harsh reality of survival, hardship, and resilience. African Leaf always supports the father when Winnie stays there as his life is one of struggle.

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