We believe children should not grow up in institutions in isolation from society because of poverty, sickness, disease or death of parents. Children should live in a loving family with dignity without being stigmatised by the cause of their vulnerability.
After Irene Mudenyo found an abandoned baby in her sugarcane plantation on her farm in 2001 in Musanda, a small village outside Mumias, in western Kenya, she decided to look after the baby whom she named Moses. This gave birth to the Noah’s Ark Day Early Childhood Development Centre in Mumias that now supports over 200 HIV Orphans.
However, Irene was still concerned with the number of orphans in her village of Musanda and, because of the distance between Musanda and Mumias, the orphans there could not attend Noah’s Ark. So in April 2006 Irene set up a day care centre in her own home to support the orphans in Musanda starting with 14 orphans.
The Nasio Trust UK decided to support the new day care centre by providing food and medical cover and also paying for a teacher, a nurse and a cook. Then, in 2006, a group of young people from Berinsfield, UK travelled to Kenya to design and build a temporary day care centre next to Irene’s house. This project was managed by Irene herself until 2007 when she was taken ill with cancer. She died on 16 December 2007 leaving the centre with 37 children to support, two employed teachers, a cook and a nurse. Since her death the centre has been named in her honour – St Irene’s Early Childhood Development Centre.
Over the next two years funds were raised and a purpose-built centre was constructed. The new St Irene’s Early Childhood Development Centre officially opened on 25 November 2009 and now cares for 200 children.
A Typical Day at St Irene’s
The children who come each day receive classroom lessons and care, as well as time for playing. They are provided with a meal which often includes ugali (maize meal, not unlike our porridge) or rice with meat or vegetables. For some of the children this will be their only meal for the day. We keep a watchful eye on their health, particularly those who are HIV Positive. There are also a number of children attending the nearby Township Primary School who come for lunch and are they and their guardians are given much-needed support.
Image – St Irene’s 2016 School Photo