Behind the scenes

A Place of Hope

Did you know that New Life Home Trust was one of the first children’s homes in Kenya to take in infants infected or affected by HIV and AIDS?

When New Life Home Trust began over two decades ago, it was just a small group of concerned people wanting to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable infants and, in particular, in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the early 1990s, seroconversion was a fairly unheard of concept. Hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of infants impacted by the disease and had little hope for their survival. Many abandoned infants who initially tested HIV-positive wound up dying from malnourishment, much too early for seroconversion to take place. Many had parents who passed away from the complications of AIDS, leaving their children as orphans.

It was a season of despair that brought people together seeking solutions. New Life Home Trust created a modest solution – a sanctuary for abandoned infants infected or affected by the crisis. As New Life staff took infants into their care, they began to notice that many of the babies who came in HIV-positive ended up testing negative for the virus after just a few months. New Life infants experienced a conversion rate of at least 80%. This incidence baffled even the medical community at the time to the extent that the Kenya Institute of Medical Research (KEMRI) conducted a study to test the phenomenon and concluded that it was actually true.

Almost 25 years later, we have witnessed the fruit of our labour with nearly every child reunited with biological family members or adopted or fostered by loving parents, and a 90% seroconversion rate amongst infected infants. What an incredible opportunity we have had to be a place of hope amidst a time of despair. As Desmond Tutu once said: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Your continued support helps us save the lives of the most vulnerable and continue to be that light for abandoned infants. Please consider donating this month to support our life-saving work.

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The importance of family – a response to J. K. Rowling

As an organisation who has proudly supported the rescue of abandoned children across Kenya for over two decades, New Life Home Trust UK felt a responsibility to respond to recent articles about J.K. Rowling’s criticism of children’s orphanages and volunteer travel.

First and foremost, New Life Home Trust was set up to care for abandoned babies until they could be reunited with biological family, or placed in a loving adoptive family. On account, many of the children in our care are not orphans, we simply do not know who or where their parents are. Our goal is to place all children in families as soon as it is safely possible.

As a charity, we value family – something we wish for all the children in our care. Our rescue centres ensure the children are continually cared for whilst on the search for a forever home.

Most of our babies in our care are released to adoptive families within the first 1-3 years of their lives.  We are therefore primarily offering temporary refuge while a satisfactory (non-institutional), long-term solution is found.

It is only when all family options have been exhausted, that children stay with us long-term. Nearly all of the older children in our care are classified as having health issues (HIV or disabilities), which means they cannot easily be placed in families – but our hope for family still remains.

We would like to emphasise that New Life Home Trust is NOT the kind of children’s home J. K. Rowling and others have in mind. We do not keep children unnecessarily and, where possible, try to arrange reunion with their own biological family. We agree that long-term institutionalisation of children should be avoided – looking instead to a family model.

In regards to our international volunteers, our volunteers are culturally-aware people hoping to make a real difference in our homes. Many of our volunteers visit Kenya for a specific purpose – whether it is to administer healthcare training, help to teach staff, carry out repair works, work on sustainability projects, or help to be a temporary family to the babies until their forever home is found.

Over our 20+ years, we have not only rescued over 1,800 babies, but we have placed over 1,500 of these babies into a family. 

We couldn’t do it without the support of our donors, staff, supporters and volunteers. So once again we say a huge ‘thank you!’


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Gail visits New Life in Nairobi

Each year people from the UK fly out to Kenya to visit New Life Homes. Often we hear stories of how these trips are truly inspiring and life-changing.

Gail Brechin has recently returned from her visit to our Nairobi home and we got in touch with her to share her experience from the trip. Here’s what Gail had to say:

I’ve recently returned from a month at New Life Home in Nairobi.  

This is the eighth time I have been with each trip being different from the previous one.

When I arrive, it’s like putting on a comfy pair of slippers as I meet with members of staff I have known for quite a number of years.  I keep turning up!

When I was there I saw children welcomed into New Life Homes and as they arrive there is a celebration with singing, praying and love for the baby.  Their birth is celebrated even if it is a few days or weeks after they have been born.

I saw children leave with new families and again there is a celebration with singing and prayer along with some cake. Two of the children went with one family, now brother and sister for life.  How amazing is that?!

I always seem to gravitate to the older children.  I love how their characters “show” themselves as they interact with each other.  They have so much energy – as they should.  I have to say I sleep very well at night!

There is so much love given and received by children and staff alike.  You feel this when you step into New Life Homes. It is always such a positive experience.

The downside is that I’m now missing everyone! I will need to start thinking about my next trip soon!

G x

If you feel inspired by Gail’s visit to New Life and would like to make a trip yourself, do get in touch with us to find out more!

Have you been out to Kenya? If so, we’d love to share your stories and photos. Get in touch via email here.


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Celebrating 24 years at New Life Home Trust

Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathi, once said: “I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”

When New Life Nairobi opened its doors, we were just a small team of committed people who hoped and believed we could make an impact in the lives of Kenyan infants who were affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS. As New Life Founders, Clive and Mary Beckenham, describe it: “We did everything together, simultaneously looking after our own biological children as well as the abandoned infants in our care. The first three babies we rescued were one week old, one month old, and five months old. At that time, the staff was very small and everyone did everything. All the staff came in untrained, but we trained them how to care for the infants and the facility. We were blessed with team members who were committed to our vision.”

Now 24 years later, because of that small group of committed individuals, nearly 2,000 infants have been rescued and the lives of staff, volunteers, adoptive parents, and these children impacted in remarkable ways! Of the total infants rescued, 75% have been adopted locally or internationally, 10% have been reunited with biological family members, and the remaining 15% were either transferred to another children’s home or passed away due to medical complications, often a result of the extreme environmental conditions of abandonment.

This month we celebrated 24 years as an organization serving and saving abandoned infants and giving priority to infants affected by HIV/AIDS! With the help of numerous donors and well-wishers along the way, New Life Home Trust has been a standard bearer in Kenya for the quality care of rescued infants. Additionally, we have helped shift the stigmas around HIV/AIDS, adoption, and children with physical and mental disabilities. We continue to be incredibly grateful for the impact that we have been able to have because of your support and the entire New Life staff (nearly 200 Kenyan employees across 4 cities!).

As Wangari Maathai put it: “The little grassroots people can change this world.”

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Our Valuable Supporters

Over the past 20 years, we have rescued over 1,700 abandoned babies in Kenya, but this would not have happened had it not been for our valuable supporters and staff. Hear all about what goes on behind the scenes of New Life Home Trust.

Volunteers: Our volunteers dedicate their precious free time to our charity, and to changing abandoned babies lives. Many will travel to Kenya to help look after the babies and children at the New Life Homes across Kenya. They help to build the personalities of the children in our care and help them to bond with their new parents. Interested in donating some of your spare time to New Life Home Trust? Visit our Volunteering pages.

Fundraisers: Our fundraisers put on fantastic events throughout the year to raise money for New Life Home Trust. From climbing mountains to classy afternoon teas, in the most extreme conditions to a simple church hall, our fundraisers continue to amaze us with their support through fundraising and raising awareness of our charity. For a handy list of everything you need to consider when planning an event, visit our fundraising pages.

Our staff: We’re lucky enough to have a great team who support us with their skills in organisation, administration and publicity in the UK and our Kenyan sister charity has a whole host of staff who keep New Life Home Trust running smoothly. This allows us to keep making an impact on abandoned babies lives and raise awareness of how people can help, wherever they are in the world.

Trustees: Our UK Trustees are an essential part of running a successful charity. Trustees have overall control of a charity and make vital decisions regarding the charity’s direction, as well as keeping it accountable.

Donators: We really value all of our donators, whether they give a one-off donation or give regularly, every little helps support the work of New Life Home Trust UK. Donations can be made through Virgin Money Giving; visit our page to make a difference to the lives of abandoned babies today.

From volunteers to donators, we’re grateful to everyone that contributes to the work of New Life Home Trust. Why not consider becoming part of the New Life Home Trust UK family today?

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