The Children’s Village
The Children’s Village is the mission of Fr. Francis Limo Riwa, who in 1999 began to rescue orphaned and abandoned children from the streets. Today it is home, family and school to more than 750 children, living on two campuses: the St. Clare Girls’ Centre, the St. Francis Boys’Home and The Hospitality Centre.
The children of the street have been orphaned, abandoned by sickly parents, and surrendered by relatives who, caught in extreme poverty, simply could not care for them. With the founding of The Children’s Village, new hope has been created for these desperate children. The Children’s Village opened with two goals:
- To rehabilitate children from the destructive addictive behaviors they learned on the streets, such as sniffing glue mixed with gasoline to replace the feelings of hunger.
- To provide quality education that will offer these children the same employment opportunities as other Kenyan children.
In the Children’s Village, children are exposed to good health care, hygiene, nutrition, and education. “This is a home and a school,” Fr. Francis says. “This process is slow, but we will succeed. We will not lose hope, because we are their only hope.”
Growth: 11 years ago the Village consisted of 10 orphans sleeping in the church and taking lessons under a mango tree. Today:
- 750 children in 3 schools (K-12)
- Children are tri-lingual (Swahili, English and their native tribal language)
- 16 dormitories
- 25 classrooms
- 2 dining/gathering rooms
- 2 kitchens
- 1 bakery
- 1 technical school of masonry
- 1 dispensary staffed by a religious community of sisters from India.
- 22 workers
- 20 teachers with university degrees
- 40% of food is produced on their farm
- Children come from 17 tribes with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.
Education: The Children’s Village has a holistic approach, operating with four guiding pillars: Prayer, Study, Work and Recreation with a motto of “High Thinking, Simple Living.”
Education, the children’s life line, is taken very seriously. Classes at the Children’s Village, begin at 6 AM, and are taught by qualified Kenyan teachers. Education is done in classrooms but it is also individualized. Students move at their own pace; once they gain competency in one grade level they are moved to the next. Thus an older student can quickly catch up with his/her own age group.
Efficiency: Because the Village depends totally on free will donations, it is run very efficiently. Each child is given two pairs of jeans, two shirts, two undergarments and flip flop sandals; each is responsible for washing his/her own clothing. All clothing is “second hand” and purchased at the street markets for less than $3 USD.
Food is raised on the farm and purchased from local merchants. The grain amaranth is one of the major ingredients in the children’s diet for it is the most nutritious and vitamin loaded grain existing. Through diet the children are kept in good health.