Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Transformation in Nguluni Seen Firsthand By Staff

Nairobi, Kenya — In June, Bright Hope staff members, Mike Rutter and Henry Chu visited our project Nguluni for the first time. Nguluni is a bumpy, 1.5 hour drive southeast of Nairobi.

This project has been under the leadership of Robert and Rose Gitau since 1989. To see their cumulative work over 21 years in one of the poorest rural areas in Kenya was inspiring and a powerful lesson of what can be done little by little over time. In the not-for-profit world, everyone talks about sustainability. But how many people are committed long-term to work with a poor community to get there? The Gitau's have done that and they are still doing it.

Peering into their world, the staff saw what they were doing to transform this rural community. Today, the Nguluni Center operates two school (Countryside and Good News), an orphanage, a medical clinic, a sewing facility, a computer lab and two small farms. The place is reasonably self-contained with water, shelter and electricity. The school has about 400 children in attendance with about 55 orphans living on site. Most kids are picked up by their two buses (one large and one small) early in the morning. In this rural area, getting a ride to school is a big deal as there is no real alternative. Some children travel a full hour to and from school every day.

When Mike and Henry were there, construction work was just being completed on a new building with a dining hall and bedrooms for orphans. Previously, they were eating mostly outside even if it was raining. The children were quite happy and gathered in front of the building to give them thanks.