Monday, April 13, 2009

Emily, Martha and the Children


Current Needs

  • $200 for paint and labour - to repaint all the inside rooms (several coats)
  • Handmade toys (dolls, felt and cloth animals, wooden toys) for the children's play room
  • Help with establishing NGO status for SOH

How to Donate

As this is a comparatively small project, the fundraising work is entirely voluntary, so every dollar you contribute will go directly through to Emily and the children, and nothing towards administration (hence the no-cost blogg style website!).

Financial accounts are kept both in Australia and Kenya & can be provided on request. Please consider making a contribution, either as a one-off amount or on a regular basis. You can email us for the Australian or Kenyan bank account details - -
The greatest help is ongoing donations which can be set up as a direct debit - even if it is only $10 per month (the cost of 3 coffees!) such a regular donation can make a huge difference.

NOTE: There is no assistance for Emily through Government sources, so her program exists on the charity of others, plus the few hundred shillings collected from the carers each month. It is an endless struggle for Emily to cover basic costs, and often there is very little left at the end of the month for wages.

Current Projects

NEW VERANDAH - July 2010 - paid for from proceeds of a Birthday Celebration - donated by a SOH supporter in the Yukon, Canada

FOOD PROGRAM - Canadian $20,000 to cover a 5 year food program (2 meals a day) commencing Term 2, 2010 - donated by Mike Egan, a retired business man from Toronto, Canada (see photo on left of Francis, the new cook for the food program) ...

PLAYGROUND - Aust $2000 to provide a sand pit with a shade cover and swings, slide and climbing frame, plus a rain water tank and new kitchen benches - donated by the McAuley family in Australia in 2009

Past Achievements / Contributions

Toys and Dolls donated in January 2009 by our West Australian donors - Jo and Paddy

Climbing frame donated by a visiting German carpenter in 2005

As well as what is represented in the above photos, many other donations of materials and equipment have helped the development of S.O.H. over the last few years.
Thank you to all donors for your contributions, large and small.

For the interest of donors:
For the new venue, in 2008, some of your donated money was spent to buy the following:
  • Kikoys and other African cloths (for play cloths and dress ups)
  • Dolls and Wooden toys
  • Balls of wool (for the teachers to knit toy animals)
  • Some large carpets for creative play and rest-time

Sponsored Children

Winnie Mmboga
D.O.B 19/11/05
Tribal Group: Luhya

Winnie started attending SOH in 2009 when she was 4 yrs old. Her mother had recently passed away from an HIV related cause. Her father was out of work and also had remarried a young wife who had a new baby. Emily discussed her concern for Winnie who was quite small for her age, undernourished and very needy. The district nurse reported on a home visit where she found very bad hygienic conditions and an emotionally disturbed father (possibly due to lack of finances). Now that Winnie is attending the Mbagathi Steiner School her father is very happy for his daughters new chance with education and boarding care, and Winnie, according to Ndinda, the house mother, has settled in from the first day as if she had lived there all her life!

Eugene Evusa
D.O.B. 10/8/04

Tribal Group: Luhya

Eugene started attending SOH in 2006 when he was 2 yrs old.He was brought by his uncle who used to take care of him while the parents were admitted in the hospital.Eugene now stays with the parents who were tested and proved to be H.I.V. positive.His father struggles to earn money as a carpenter, while the mother remains at home. Eugene is a loving , happy and welcoming boy.He is also physically fit.

Sponsorship arranged by 'African Leaf' ( in April 2009 for education and boarding at the Mbagathi Steiner School, Masai Lodge Rd, Nairobi (


Brightlight Akinyi

D.O.B. December 2004

Tribal Group: Luo

Brightlight lives in Kawangware with her aunt Elizabeth Akinyi and her uncle Enoch Odovo. Both parents are deceased. Her aunt has casual work sewing clothes and her uncle is a casual carpenter. They have two children of their own, and they live in a two room house made of iron sheet walls and roof and a concrete floor. The toilet is outside and shared by other families. Brightlight has been attending SOH during 2009. Sponsorship has now been arranged by African Leaf in January 2010 for education and boarding at the Mbagathi Steiner School.


Silviah Njagi
Silviah Njagi is a Kenyan woman aged 34 years, and is currently the lead teacher at the Kileleshwa Waldorf Kindergarten in a central part of Nairobi. She is an experienced early childhood teacher with a diploma in both mainstream and Steiner kindergarten
work. Silviah has offered her services as ‘mentor’ and visits SOH on Tuesdays. Silviah also helps with the email communication that has proven to be an invaluable link between Kenya and Australia.

'Healing Through Stories'
Susan is a 58-year-old Australian whose ‘work’ passion is early childhood teaching, story writing and storytelling. For the last 26 years she has been documenting stories from other cultures, writing stories and telling stories to groups of children and adults – all this woven in with a career in teaching and teacher training in both Australia and Africa. Read more about Susan, her work and her published books on Susan met Emily and Silviah when she was teaching in Kenya from 2003 – 2006 and feels privileged to be involved with such committed and heart-driven women.



Meeting Emmily Agisa

In July 2003, John and Susan Adam packed up their house on the far north coast of NSW, Australia, and headed over to commence three years work in Nairobi, Kenya - Susan as an early childhood trainer and mentor, and John with a wealth of building knowledge. Through their varied involvements in Nairobi, they met a local Kenyan woman, Emily Agisa, who worked at a day-care centre for orphaned and needy children. This centre was initially set up by a group of families who live in Kawangware, one of the many slum communities in Nairobi. They recognised the urgency for the care and safety of the needy children in their community and, with no funding from any sources other than themselves, started a day-care centre staffed by volunteers. It has been an ongoing struggle on many levels!

In 2004, following John and Susan’s involvement, a timely visit from Byron Bay by Paul Kelly, & the subsequent financial support of a few Australian individuals & groups (including the Byron Based NGO, African LEAF) the day-care centre moved to a more suitable building - the initial tin shed (see photo above) was replaced by several rooms of a solid brick construction.

Many improvements were made to the new space to provide a quality educational environment for the children, both inside and out – these included the addition of books and toys, carpets, tables and chairs, plus a climbing frame and fenced playground.

2006 - The birth of ‘SAINTS OF HOPE’

Emily, supported in her work by attending the 3-year / 10 modules East African Steiner Teacher Training Program (her training was funded by the Freunde der Erziehungskunst) has since taken over the running of the Centre. With enthusiasm and a positive outlook, she has re-named the Centre ‘SAINTS OF HOPE’. Her aim is to provide young children with a good early childhood education, a safe and healthy environment, and the opportunity to grow through their young years surrounded by love and care.

2008 – the big move!

Last year (2008), with the help from many sponsors, S.O.H. moved to a bigger, better and safer venue on the edge of the slums. Their new home has two classrooms, a waiting room, an office kitchen, four toilets and a big grassy playing ground (see photos at top of blogg site).

Emily Agisa is the founder and long-term Director of SOH and Martha Akinyi is her assistant. Sylvia Njagi (an experienced kindergarten teacher in Nairobi) has offered her services as ‘mentor’ and visits SOH on Tuesdays. Silviah also helps with the email communication that has proven to be an invaluable link between Kenya to Australia.

Emily reports that since moving to this better venue, they have had a wonderful time with the children over the last four terms. In Term One, 2009 28 children have been attending 5 days a week - 12 boys and 16 girls, ranging in ages from 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 years.

On their grassy plot, they have played with balls, skipped ropes and had many ring games. The teachers have also been telling many stories and doing craft work.

In the Kindergarten there are three groups of children … those with two parents who apparently pay a low fee; those with poor and single parents who cannot pay in time (or at all) and those who are needy and orphaned and cannot afford to pay a single cent. Four of these children (whose parents have died or are dying of AIDS) have been shifted to the Mbagathi Steiner School over the past three years, and we are in the process of finding full time sponsors for some more very needy ones.

In the past few years several donors have helped by taking toys and art/craft materials directly to SOH during their visit Kenya – many thanks to Paul Kelly and Eva Shaeffer (and their wedding guests) and to our West Australian supporters, Jo and Patrick Blundell and Paddy Frere.

Please know that all contributions (no matter how small) are extremely important to the continuation of this little kindergarten, an oasis for 28 little Kenyan children.

We hope in 2009 you will continue with your support.

(Note: John and Susan have since returned to live in Australia, but continue to co-ordinate fundraising and mentoring support for this worthy project).