How we started
Change a Chapter started in 2011 when an English woman went on holiday to Malindi coast near Mombasa to recuperate from a long period of chronic illness. While she was there she got talking to the hotel staff about life in the area, their villages, families and their education. She discovered that poverty was rife and that work was often difficult to come by. This meant that most people could not afford to send their children to school. One of the staff told her that despite this, there was a wonderful little school a few miles inland. He seemed immensely proud of it even offering to take her for a visit if she was interested. Intrigued the woman agreed and went the next day.
When she arrived, the children were sitting cross-legged on the ground doing their lessons – there were no desks or chairs or even books. When they came to eat they washed their hands passing round a bowl of water filled from a jerry can because there was no running water. Despite this lack of facilities, all of the children were laughing and happy so obviously enjoying the lessons given by the dedicated local African teachers.
However one of the little girls caught the woman’s eye. This little girl stood out because although she was laughing with the other children, there was something profoundly sad about her. For some reason, the sadness of the little girl affected the woman. She felt she must make enquiries about the girl locally. She discovered that she had been orphaned two weeks earlier having lost her whole family – her mother had died of malaria, her sister of chicken pox and her father had drowned fishing at sea. She was six years old.
The lady made further enquiries and discovered that many of the children at the school were either aids or malaria orphans. She was moved by the courage of these small children who despite having lost their families at such a young age were still able to feel joy at being able to attend school.
By the time the woman left Kenya she had decided to set up a charity to help these children (and others like them) attend the local school so that they could Change a Chapter in their lives and have a brighter and happier future.
So far Change a Chapter has
- Funded the school fees of 37 children – as well as maths and social sciences (which includes geography and history), these children are learning to read and write in both Swahili and in English in order to increase their chances of finding a job later on in life (so they can support themselves and their families and lift themselves out of poverty).
- Built two large classrooms according to Kenyan government specifications.
- Set up a food programme so that the children have two square meals a day – breakfast and lunch. A third meal is given to the most vulnerable children/ orphans or those without a regular home life.
- Provided a safe place to sleep for 17 of these children who had no-where to go to at night having become suddenly orphaned due to malaria or aids; providing mosquito nets, sheets and a mattress for the comfort and protection of these children.
- Put in and maintains clean running water so the children can wash their hands before eating and after going to the toilet. Many of the children were suffering from dysentery before Change a Chapter came to the school because there was only one bowl of water that all the children used to wash their hands in throughout the day.
- Provided clothing especially shoes to prevent the children from cutting their feet when they are walking to school; provided underwear especially for the girls to try to prevent opportunistic sexual abuse of these vulnerable little girls when they are out and about.
- Provided food/Christmas lunch for 50 children, and their guardians for the past three years.
Our overheads – what overheads?
Because Change a Chapter is a small charitable project run by unsalaried volunteers, every single penny/cent/euro of the funds you donate is spent directly on change a chapter projects helping a Kenyan child.
At Change a Chapter we help to write a new chapter for a child and this is possible because of an act of kindness from another person. Perhaps that person may be you?
To read a more in depth account of our projects please click here: Chapters