Growing up too young

Kisumu seems to be screaming out a story of abandonment.

Parents die at a young age, with their children being forced to grow up far more quickly than they should.

That’s exactly what happened to the neighbours living beside the Milele Centre. The four children, aged six to 16 years old, have been living alone for the last two years after their mum died. She was their last living parent.

From a young age, they’ve had to provide for themselves and somehow put food on the table. And what’s more, the youngest two are HIV positive, so they’ve had to manage clinic visits and all that goes with such a terrible illness.

While struggling to make it work, they received yet another blow. Their house collapsed earlier this year after damage from the rains. They are now renting a house at a nearby fishing village, but at the moment need money for rent and food supplied by the Milele veggie farm.

The children have extended family living nearby, however they aren’t stepping in to support them. Without family support, it’s difficult to settle these children into school, and the older siblings are more focused on generating an income and food provisions than school.

But finally, there’s some good news!

The Milele Centre is part of a community effort helping to rebuild their house, and as I write this, construction is underway. Rebuilding this home will keep the children close to their relatives and safeguard their inheritance. Plus, the HIV positive children will be close to health care.

The dream for Milele is to help support many more children like this. Frank and Lindah are looking forward to opening The Milele Centre’s first rescue home, enabling them to provide preventative support, rather than just reacting to the needs around them.