Mama Orphans Children’s Home is located in Busia town in the Western Province of Kenya. It borders Uganda to the West and Lake Victoria to the South. In Kenya, a woman with children is known by the combination of the title “mama” and the name of her eldest child. So “mama orphans” is the name given to Monica Oduor who runs the home. The Orphanage began in 1996 when Monica Oduor, a long time resident of Busia, took in six young boys who had lost their parents to AIDS and had been living alone on the streets of Busia.
Monica Oduor “Mama” with 9 of her children
From these humble origins, the orphanage has grown to house 136 children ranging from 0-18 years old, many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS and have no one else to care for them. Originally, Monica housed the children in her own home, but over the past 15 years the orphanage has had to grow and now the children are housed in a newly built dormitory block. Orphans in Kenya are frowned upon as they have a stigma attached to them for carrying HIV / AIDS. This means they often find it very hard to find a local school that will accept them and so many do not get any education at all. The orphanage has found this one of the hardest things to cope with as Mama believes that for the orphans to have a future, education is key. At the moment there very few teachers at the orphanage who are trying their best to do what they can. The orphanage is run by a group of trustworthy and selfless individuals and the financial support that the orphanage received from various international organisations is testament to this. To further highlight what a fantastic place it has become in 2010 it won an award for the “Best Orphanage in the Western Province.”
The orphanage compound now consists of a dining hall and kitchen, a church, a small office, a sick bay, a Nursery known as the David Moore School with five small rooms, a small library and a small garden growing vegetables. There is also an outdoor open area in the middle of the compound that serves as a playground for the children. All of this has been gradually developed with a lot of hard work, determination and support from various volunteers and charities.
The new dormitory
Clean and safe water
Land to play
Primary School Education
Most of the children at the orphanage are at the age of attending primary school. Only a few of these children are allowed to attend the local primary school and so the orphanage has had to adapt and overcome this serious boundary. Chalkboard Kenya intends to give these orphans the chance of a good education by bringing in some much needed teachers. Here they will teach a programme Chalkboard Kenya has set up along with the help of the orphanage to create the education these children deserve.