Belated Happy New Year to All!

Watoto Kicheko starts 2017 with a lot fewer children than this time last year. In January 2016 we had 11 girls and 11 boys, having dropped from a peak of 26 in 2015. Now, we only have 5 girls and 4 boys. A few children were adopted but most were reunited with their families and communities. Indeed, there may be several more going home over the coming year.

In the next few months we will be welcoming some more children who are referred by social welfare. They will be children deemed to have no alternative but to live in a place like Watoto Kicheko, at least temporarily. While they are here we will continuously monitor and assess their needs, relating to healthcare, education and anything else that needs to be addressed.

Visitors often ask where the children staying here come from, how they end up here and why they are not with their families. Occasionally children are said to be abandoned but it is more common for them to be looked after by an orphanage because their parents are somehow unable to look after them.

For example, some parents are sick, some have mental health problems and some may have died in childbirth. It took a long time to find out why some children were at Watoto Kicheko last year, so we need to know more about children who come here in the future. Then, when the children are ready to be reunited with their families, they can be returned home. Just as social welfare need to oversee their admission, they also need to oversee their discharge.

Watoto Kicheko will shortly move to their own center, which will be developed into a safe and nurturing environment for the children. Five of them are already at school and the education of the other four will be considered once they have reached certain milestones, once they are ready!

We look forward to welcoming visitors to our new center. The location will be announced as soon as we have moved. Meantime, we wish all our visitors, neighbours, donors, sponsors and other associates a very happy new year!

By Simon Collery

Simon Collery has been an online content writer and blogger since the late 1990s, developing content for an information industry website, and later, writing about development, HIV, human rights and other subjects, mainly in East Africa. He is a co-founder of the Don't Get Stuck Collective, a group of people who write and agitate for greater recognition of non-sexually transmitted HIV and other bloodborne disease, especially through unsafe healthcare, cosmetic and traditional practices, mainly in Africa and Asia. He also blogs about media depictions of African people, unethical practices by publicly funded western institutions in African countries, mass male circumcision programs carried out in African countries using mainly US funding, and other subjects. He has a particular interest in Kenya and Tanzania.