Girls’ Welfare

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Some of the younger children drinking Porridge

The beds in the new Dormitory building 2012

Meal time

DancingVumilia is currently caring for 27 orphaned and vulnerable girl children, aged 4 to 17 years old at our home and farm in Bukhaywa village. 6 other older orphans live offsite, pursuing their higher education with Vumilia’s support.

Vumilia responds to alerts it receives from the local community about vulnerable and abused girls. Abuses include under-nutrition, enforced domestic and farm labour, denial of education, physical violence, sexual abuse, and forced early marriages. Orphans are especially vulnerable to these forms of abuse and exploitation, particularly when left in the care of male relatives or strangers.

A professional and experienced Vumilia team works alongside the community to ascertain when a child is in danger, and how best we can help. Sometimes we are able to speak with and counsel their guardians, and support them to change their behaviour and attitudes so often driven by poverty and ignorance, especially when they themselves had experienced brutal and deprived childhoods. When necessary and possible, we rescue girls in dire need, and look after them with shelter, nutrition, medical care and education in a secure and caring environment until they are old enough and ready to live independent lives. All Vumilia’s rescue and sanctuary interventions are carried out in liaison with the Kenyan government’s Children’s Welfare department in Kakamega County.

However we do not alienate the girls from their extended families and whenever possible Vumilia helps them to remain in contact. Family members are encouraged to visit the children who are always kept informed of their background and their family situation. We work hard to avoid any of our children becoming institutionalized, and to maintain a connection to their roots. It is touching that many of the girls’ grandparents come to visit them and bring small gifts for them and the home. And we have also seen a softening of feelings and changing attitudes among some of the former guardians from whom the girls were rescued, as they begin to appreciate what Vumilia is doing. A few have made their own contributions.

Note on HIV/AIDS

Some of the girls are HIV positive. We take special care of them, ensuring that they have their ARV (anti retroviral) medication, and their status and CD counts are regularly checked by doctors at Webuye Hospital. We have found that with ARVs, a good healthy diet, and leading a busy active life of learning, play and exercise along with the others, they are doing very well, and looking forward to the future.

What We Need Help With

There is a lot of work involved in managing the rescue and welfare program, doing the community work and later clothing and feeding and otherwise caring for over 30 children. All this incurs many expenses as you may imagine, not just food.

To ensure the children’s well-being it costs about $793 (£519) per year per child, or $15.25 /£9.97 per week.

We try to keep costs down yet maintain high standards, and while we rely on a spirit of voluntarism and service among Vumilia support staff. But we recognize that they have families to support too, and must earn something to keep them going.

Right now nearly half the costs of our welfare program through to December 2014 are covered by the generous contribution of Aids & Child Foundation in Switzerland. And others too have contributed, but we still need help! We invite you kindly to add something to their donations to be sure we can provide fully for all the girls in our care all year round. Every donation of any amount will help.