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Catching up with founders Clive and Mary

As New Life Home Trust celebrates 27 years we thought it would be timely to check in with the charity’s founders, Clive and Mary – who last year made the bold move to retire and return to the UK.

In March 2020, Clive and Mary along with their youngest son CJ returned to the UK to retire in a peaceful village in northern Cambridgeshire. Here they share their story, how they are feeling about leaving Kenya, living through a pandemic, and their thoughts for what the future might hold…

“This last year has certainly not been what we, or anyone, expected! In some ways returning to the UK after 31 years and having to live under certain restrictions has been a good opportunity for us to reconnect with family. On our return we moved back in with our son Wesley and his triplet girls. Our Granddaughters, who were born in Kenya, are now 17 and we’ve been very grateful to have time getting to know them again. Our daughter and her family are also back living in the UK and, although we haven’t seen them as much as we would have hoped, we certainly feel closer to them knowing we are all in the UK – which when living during the unprecedented events of the last year has brought us peace of mind. 

“However the lockdown has unfortunately made it impossible for us to be able to visit our eldest Son Mark and his wonderful family in Sweden but we are grateful for FaceTime to at least be able to keep close contact which we do every week.

Keeping in touch

“Although we are now back in the UK we have certainly not lost touch with the homes and those who have taken on the running of New life. We have weekly calls and keep in regular contact with the trustees, receive regular updates and weekly prayer requests and, one of the nicest things is the text updates we receive from the carers telling us about how the children are doing or when a new baby arrives. Mary in particular would not have coped over the last year without knowing what was going on.

In safe hands

The babies abandoned at a Kenyan hospital that inspired Clive and Mary to start New Life Home Trust.

“Choosing to retire and make the move back to the UK has been something we have spent the last 8 years planning for. It was not a decision we took lightly but one that we knew was right for us. Being back with our family has been precious and knowing New Life would be in safe hands has helped make our return easier.

 

“The team in Kenya is amazing and so experienced. Made up of people with experience in education, medicine, legal, finance we knew New Life was in a good position. Some One of the trustees – Dr Paul Wangai  Jr and his wife have been involved in the charity since we started it back in June 1994. They too had the same vision as us and have been with us on the journey for the last 27 years.

“Along the way we have caught others with our vision. Having people involved in New Life with the same values and vision has been so important. We are thankfully that God has been able to provide the right people at the right time to help us deliver what’s been needed. Together we have been able to build New Life into a charity that the Kenyan Government holds up as an example of what can be achieved and how to do it.

Some of the staff and babies at New Life Home Trust in 2005

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain

The impact of the Covid pandemic

“With the pandemic hitting countries across the world last year we were very grateful that God had brought us the right people to create such a strong leadership team to run New Life. We were confident that New life would survive and it has. Not only that but they were the first homes to be able to re-open up and take in babies. Having doctors on the board of trustees has ensured that the homes were able to get set up quickly with quarantine units and the right process and practices in place to not only keep the staff and children safe, but also allow them to take in new babies that were being abandoned.

“How the homes have coped with these unprecedented challenges that have been thrown at them over the last year is a testament to the teams running them and the board of trustees, and not least of all Janet Mutinda, National Director. She is doing an amazing job navigating the staff through these difficult times.

“This reassures us that we have made the right decision and that New Life is in strong hands. New Life Home Trust is a Kenyan charity that is being run by Kenyan’s, some of whom came from the slums and were trained up to become caregivers, caretakers and groundsmen. They all show integrity, love, care and compassion and we couldn’t have asked for a better team.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our international supporters and partners from the UK, USA and Europe. Your support through donations, volunteering, teaching and spreading the word with others about the work of New Life has helped the charity grow from strength to strength.

The future

“I don’t think any of us are sure what lies ahead. What the Lord has in store for us we will see but health wise we are limited. We are ready for a slower pace of life now and although we may like to go back for a visit that will depend on health. We feel in close contact with all the staff and they know we are here and happy to help provide information and advice should they want it. We look forward to watching the charity grow.”

To learn more about what lead Clive and Mary to set up New Life read the blog post A Place of Hope.

 

rescued baby

One of the rescued babies who weighed just 1kg baby at one month old. Clive’s wedding ring goes right over his hand up his arm. 

Mary and one of the babies

An abandoned baby brought in by police after a good samaritan had rescued him from a dump. He weighed 1.3kg Mary put him in a bowl after his bath to show how tiny he was.

The first group of babies rescued by Clive and Mary back in 1994 when they set up the charity.