Zuri Watoto Wote

About Nyumbani

Posted in AIDS in Africa, AIDS Orphans by Lynn Ouellette on 11/22/2009

Children at the Nyumbani Children's Home with its founder

The Nyumbani Children’s Home was founded in 1992 by Father D’Agostino, a Jesuit priest and physician, in response to the need of the increasing numbers of abandoned and orphaned HIV+ children. Today the orphanage at Nyumbani, located outside of Nairobi, is home to 110 HIV+ orphans who receive medical care, psychological services, and attend public school until they can become independent adults.

The Kibera slum

Nyumbani launched the Lea Toto Program (Swahili for “to raise a child”) in 1998. It is an outreach progam to HIV+ children providing home based care to them so that they could access medical care,  psychological support and even basic needs such as food and safe drinking water.  This program provides services to children and their families in the most impoverished areas of Kenya including the Kibera slum outside of Nairobi where over  one million people live in an area smaller than the size of New York City. It is the largest slum in Africa and the second largest slum in the world.

Satellite view of Kibera slum

There are many videos like this one posted on u.tube about Kibera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9crGUNUP22I.  It’s hard to imagine without seeing some video footage and I imagine it will be overwhelming to be there in person.

Nyumbani Village in Katui

Nyumbani Village was built on 1000 acres of property given to the program by the government. The village was established to address the needs not only of orphans but also of the elderly who in the past have relied on thier children to be available as part of their extended family but have been left without them as the middle generation has succombed to AIDS. At the village, grandmothers, or shoshos, live in cottages with 10 children and create new blended families that foster healing, hope and opportunity while the HIV+ children receive ongoing medical care,  psychological support and attend school. The grandmothers also receive support and care in this extended family environment and community setting. In addition the village operates a sustainability program with solar energy, farming, and other resources.

During our trip we will be volunteering at each of the Nyumbani sites.

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  1. miriam freidin said, on 12/28/2009 at 5:37 pm

    Dear Lynn, I have finally read through all of these comments about gratitude which are poetic as usual. I am very moved by your sense of appreciation of life and upset that I could not talk to you about the rib pain. the fear must have been terrible. I cannot wait to see your photos and talk with you about th experience of the children and being with Tom as wel s meeting many special new people.
    regards, miriam

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