History

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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Where it all began…

We’ve been proudly rescuing abandoned babies for over 20 years, but where did it all begin?

Our founders Clive and Mary Beckenham always hoped to build a children’s home and worked towards this from a young age. Mary says she dreamed of setting up a children’s home in Africa from the age of 7.

Clive and Mary prepared themselves for the fruition of this dream, by training to be ready to serve abandoned babies – Mary trained as a nurse and Clive trained in engineering. Although this dream wasn’t fulfilled until the couple were both 50 years old.

Arriving in Kenya in 1989, the couple began a 2-year assignment at a local Bible college. Towards the end of the assignment in 1992, Mary read an article in a local newspaper about HIV positive babies being abandoned in Kenyan hospitals. Reading the article ignited Mary’s dream and passion to start a children’s home in Africa, and she began researching and making enquiries with other Kenyan homes. Through her research and speaking to Dr Paul Wangai Jr (a doctor already working with HIV positive adults), Mary realised there was no one working with HIV positive children.

After a couple of years of praying and seeking advice, Clive and Mary found a building in Loresho in 1994, using the downstairs to establish the children’s home, and living upstairs with their own biological children. The staff team was very small, and everyone was involved with everything at the home. All staff entered the home untrained, but were trained on how to appropriately care for the children, and using the facilities.

Since then, New Life Home Trust has rescued over 1,800 abandoned babies in Kenya, and are committed to increasing this number and making an impact on the lives of children affected by HIV.

Here in the UK, we are committed to raising funds to send over to Kenya to continue this valuable work. Could you help support the work of New Life Home Trust? Visit our fundraise, donate and volunteer pages or contact us to find out more.

 

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