The Maisha Mazuri Children Centre (MCC) is a joint project of the German association „Hand in Hand für Kenia e.V.“ and the Kenyan association „Youth Support Kenya“ under the leadership of Jimmy Kilonzi.
Thanks to the financial support of „Ein Herz für Kinder e.V.“ we were able to open the children’s home in Nguluni in the Tala region — a mostly rural area — in November of 2015, after a one-year-long construction phase.
Hilmar Henjes of the architectural firm Kröff in Wasserburg lovingly designed a magnificent African-style children’s centre consisting of more or less three roundhouses: a boys’ and a girls’ wing which are connected to one another by sanitary facilities as well as the big communal hall.
Responsible design is especially evident when considering energy and water supply: its big solar panel system, composting toilets, and grey water reuse not only render the MCC environmentally friendly but also independent of all local supply networks and shortages. Yet the architect also strove for sustainability when it came to planning the buildings and construction materials themselves, as evidenced by the buildings’ natural air circulation and the self-molded bricks made from local red clay, which serve as interior walls.
Since many local adults were not only able to earn money on the construction site but also learned quite a lot, they accepted the Centre and its offerings fairly easily. It is a mutually beneficial give and take since we are also thankful and happy for the community’s broad support and friendly and open cooperation.
Aside from supporting the Centre’s children, it is of utmost and equal importance to both of our associations to offer lasting support to the surrounding area in matters of health, education, vocational training, and agricultural/economic prosperity. Only in this way can we stem the tide of rural flight to the slums of the metropolitan areas and beyond and establish good future prospects for the families and especially for the children.
Initially home to nine children, the MCC at present houses 32 children, who come from the slums of Nairobi, the small town of Tala, or are simply orphans from the region. The children are between 5 and 17 years old, often siblings, some suffer from developmental delays due to the circumstances of their upbringing, others suffer from impaired health, but all have big, infectious smiles and exude delighted excitement when they are once again allowed to be children, in an environment in which they are wanted and lovingly cared for.
Moreover, the Matron as well as the Patron live with the children in the Centre. A project manager, a cook, a gardener, a driver/janitor, and two social workers complete the MCC’s team.
An additional 88 children from the surrounding area who live with their families or relatives join the children who reside at the Centre. Together, all 120 children make up the pool for our Maisha Mazuri Partner Program; our two social workers keep an eye on and have a well-developed sense of their needs, their development, and goings on in school and at home.
Lastly, the following are part of the approximately 2 hectare property:
- Academy of Maisha Mazuri Senior Secondary School
- private garden
- playground, soccer pitch & volleyball court
- goat-, chicken- and rabbit coops
- outdoor annex with sanitary facilities, solar plant and gatehouse
- an outdoor kitchen