Footsteps International started when, moved by the story of 12 orphaned and abandoned children in Mombasa, one of Martin Print's work colleagues gave him £5, telling him, "For goodness sake, go and do something to help!"
This is our story...
Footsteps International was inaugurated and started to provide food for twelve orphaned and abandoned children in Mombasa, Kenya.
We also funded a few wheelchairs made by people who are themselves disabled at the Bombolulu centre, Mombasa.
The charity was registered with the Charity Commission, and we bought land (with our partners Education for Life) in Mombasa to build a new children’s home.
We started to provide funds to help the Naivasha Polytechnic which was facing closure due to the withdrawal of a major donor, and we also started to support the education of poor children.
We continued to support the orphans in Mombasa while building a new home for them.
The project scope was enlarged to provide a school with a capacity of over 400 children for our partner Education for Life.
This ramshackle house in Mombasa was 'home' to 12 orphaned and abandoned children
The Tumaini Centre in Mombasa – a school for over 400 children and a home for 24 orphaned and abandoned children - was opened in February 2004.
The same month, we started a feeding programme for street children in Naivasha, central Kenya, which culminated in the construction of the Sunshine Home. We took in over 60 street boys and provided them with food, shelter and education or training.
We provided support for the construction of a new school building for the Mercy Nursery School, Burma.
The Sunshine Centre started in 2004 when we took in 50 street boys
The number of children at the Tumaini school and children’s home grew steadily.
We purchased 8 acres of land for future development of the Sunshine Home and increased the number of children on the educational sponsorship programme.
We provided new homes for widows in Kenya.
We provided support for the No More Tears children’s home in Kamakwie, Sierra Leone.
By the end of the year we were caring for 28 children at the Tumaini Children’s Home, 70 former street boys at Sunshine Home, and nearly 100 children were receiving education sponsorship. We purchased 69 wheelchairs, helping some desperately needy disabled people.
At the end of the year we purchased a piece of land near the Sunshine Home to build workshops to provide employment for our ex-street boys. We started construction of a new Sunshine Home in partnership with Mission Care.
We had the excitement of seeing our first street boy getting married in February. Kamau and Jennifer now have a small house of their own.
We commenced construction of the Sunshine Workshops where ex-street boys can start to earn a living.
We bought 50 wheelchairs, helping many disabled people, and also assisting APDK survive a major financial setback.
Kamau was our first former street boy to marry. He and his wife Jennifer moved into a small house.
Following the presidential elections, violence erupted across Kenya in January, affecting all the areas that Footsteps works in. We thank God no-one we knew was killed or injured, but the impact of the riots was felt throughout the year.
Despite this, we were able to continue the care of 70 street boys at the Sunshine Home and the 28 children at Tumaini, several of whom completed secondary school.
The number of former street boys we care for at the Sunshine Home increased to over 90.
We now have an effective system for getting boys of the streets, off glue and drugs, and into education and training. This sustained support means that it is highly likely that they will be able to find paid work and become independent.
We continued to provide care for 26 children at the Tumaini Children’s Home in Mombasa, and several of these children completed secondary school and started work.
Despite a gloomy economic outlook, 2010 was a year of achievement and progress with our work.
We received gifts that enabled us to invest in projects that will help our work become more self-sustaining in the future:
The Sunshine Borehole - providing water to the community and income to Sunshine
A greenhouse at Sunshine Home to increase the amount of own-grown food
Fish-farming project at Sunshine Home - providing extra nutritious food
Tailoring project at Naivasha Polytechnic - increasing local income.
We also cared for 90 former street boys, 27 orphaned and abandoned children and fed 260 children at the Church on the Rock School.
Our first greenhouse at the Sunshine Centre kick-started our drive to improve the sustainability of the project
The droughts which affected NE Kenya drove up food prices across the region. Despite the hard economic conditions, we managed to make good progress on our projects.
The Sunshine Home provided care for 93 boys, with former street boy James Maina securing a prestigious job as a ranger with Kenya Wildlife Service. With the support of Canadian friends we put up more greenhouses at the Sunshine Home to provide fresh food and local income generation. Mission Care UK funded construction of the older boys’ dormitory.
Extra donations meant that we were able to increase the provision of school meals at the Church on the Rock School from 3 days to 5 days a week.
We continued to care for 28 orphaned and abandoned children in Mombasa, and extended the care to include 3 children who are fostered with families in the local community.
The Naivasha Polytechnic received a donation of computers from Computers4Africa which enabled the IT course to be expanded.
A nutritious school lunch strengthens education. In 2011 we increased provision from 3 days to 5 days a week
Another successful year!
The number of boys at Sunshine Home grew to 110 and our first former street boys went on to tertiary education. We increased the sustainability of the project by installing a new rainwater capture tank funded by a generous donor.
At Tumaini, we took in two new children who needed care. Nine of the older children we have cared for since 2001 left school and are now in the process of looking for work and caring for themselves.
The pupils at the Church on Rock School in the Kware slum of Nairobi continued to benefit from school meals funded by Footsteps supporters and we were also able to replace desks and books. We also managed a few small improvements to the buildings at the Imani Pre-School in the Kibera slum.
We were able to help the library at Naivasha Polytechnic with a donation of library books as part of the Books2Kenya project which arranged for 10,000 books to be delivered from the UK to Naivasha.
Footsteps now provides education support for around 700 students at varying levels at the Naivasha Polytechnic and through sponsorship programmes
Richard and his two siblings are fostered by a local mother in Timbwani village, Mombasa...with help from Footsteps
From strength to strength...
Sunshine Rehabilitation Centre: Over 20 boys have now left the Centre and succeeded in becoming independent and the number continues to grow. Our previous years’ investment in greenhouses on the Centre’s small farm plot is now paying off - the supply of nutritious, home-grown fresh food for the boys has increased and excess produce is sold to stores and hotels to generate local income.
Tumaini Children’s Home: We provided funds for the care of 21 children at the Home (four new children were given places); we also provided partial support to 10 of the teenage children at ‘Stepping Stones.’ As well as funding wages, food, medical care and school fees, we paid for building repairs and replacement of equipment and clothing.
Slum schools: Footsteps provided funds for lunches for the 360 children at the Church on the Rock School and much-needed new cooking pots. We also provided the 60 children at Imani School, Kibera with beans and maize for their lunch, and new pit latrines and a fresh water supply.
At Naivasha Polytechnic, we provided funds to support 50 training places for youngsters from poor backgrounds.
We estimate that we make a positive impact on the lives of 1,000 youngsters each year.
Former street boy Francis Kagotho started his own water delivery business
Celebrating a decade of success!
Sunshine Rehabilitation Centre: In February 2014 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the start of the project. The number of former street boys in our care rose to 118. We continued our strategy of improving sustainability: greenhouses produce vegetables, the rainwater collection and storage system provides good supplies of water and we installed a biogas digester to reduce our use of firewood.
Tumaini Children’s Home: Tumaini Children’s Home: In February 2014 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of Tumaini. During the year we provided funds for the care of 21 children at the Home and partial support to 9 youngsters at ‘Stepping Stones’ including 3 new orphaned boys from the same family who were struggling to survive. We also received a grant to help develop a Special Needs Unit at Tumaini School.
Slum schools: We provided funds for lunches for the 440 children and for new text books for the older classes. We maintained a link between Church on the Rock School and Southwark Park Primary School in London. The schools continued to swap interesting information on the similarities and differences in their lives. We continued to provide the 60 children at Imani School, Kibera with beans and maize for their lunch, and funded roof repairs and new mattresses.
Naivasha Polytechnic: We provided funds to support 50 training places for youngsters from poor backgrounds.
Footsteps trustees Mary Print and Barbara Huntley with former street boy Paul Ndungu who is now a youth drugs counsellor
During 2015, we continued our successful support programmes for deprived children in Kenya, and expanded of our local income generating activities.
Sunshine Rehabilitation Centre: We continued to care for around 120 (former) street boys at the Sunshine Centre, with a record number of them going to university or college – amazing achievements for youngsters who once scrounged on the streets.
Naivasha Polytechnic: We supported the Naivasha Polytechnic which trains around 200 students each year in skills that help them find paid employment. With these skills they can care for themselves and their families. Several of our ‘Sunshine Boys’ took practical courses at the Polytechnic too.
Tumaini Children’s Home: Our home for orphaned and abandoned children in Mombasa continued to provide a safe and caring environment for the children to grow and thrive. And we provided financial support to some of the older orphaned children as they entered the world of work.
Slum schools: During our two visits to Kenya, we were able to observe first-hand how feeding children whose homes are in the slums increases their health, reduces the time they have off school, and helps them to get good grades. This in turn means they have the best chance of eventually getting well-paid employment, so they can leave the slums behind them.
Sustainability: Our drive to improve the long-term sustainability of our work continued, particularly at the Sunshine Centre where our new farm land came under cultivation and began to yield commercially viable crops. We are awaiting the accounts for our first year of operation, and have budgeted to make a significant profit in 2016 which will be ploughed back (!) into the Sunshine Centre.
In 2015 we invested in 3 acres of farmland which will produce crops to provide an income to the Sunshine Centre
2016 was a year of success!
Sunshine Rehabilitation Centre: Our first former street boy graduated! Cyrus Waweru was awarded a 2.1 degree in business and IT from Mt Kenya University. Cyrus came to Sunshine from the streets in 2004.
Tumaini Children’s Home: We also had our first graduate from Tumaini. Emily Nyongesa who was one of the first 12 orphans offered a home in 2003 completed her nursing degree and now works in a children's hospital in Mombasa. We continued to support 8 children who are thriving in their foster families.
Naivasha Polytechnic: The number of students at the Naivasha Polytechnic rose to 250 as more students started part-time courses in subjects such as IT. By the end of 2016, 88% of the previous year's intake had found employment (the exam pass rate was 97%).
Slum schools: We provided school meals, books and new classroom buildings to help 500 children at the Church on the Rock and Imani schools in Nairobi's slums. Feeding children helps them learn better, and 27 of the class 8 31 pupils at Church on the Rock School were offered places at high school.
Former street boy Cyrus Waweru graduated from Mt Kenya University in 2016
2017 - a fruitful year
Sunshine Rehabilitation Centre: During the year we cared for a record number of former street boys (130). Increasing numbers of boys are doing so well at school that they continue to college and university. In October, Joseph Karanja who we rescued from the streets in 2004 got married to Rebecca (an orphaned girl). Our management team organised a hugely successful Kenya Marafun fun run which attracted 250 participants including a small team from UK.We provided practical support to 2 sets of parents of our Sunshine boys who are disabled, helping them to move towards economic dependence.
Tumaini Children’s Home: Emily Nyongesa who was one of the first 12 orphans offered a home in 2003 married Ignatius, and Bonnie Kanyoni married Doreen. We continued to support 8 children who are living in foster families, and developed long-term plans to move all the children to a fully-fostered environment at some stage in the future..
Naivasha Technical Training Institute: We continued to support the Polytechnic which provides around 250 students with technical skills. During the year, 9 of the former street boys from the Sunshine Centre took courses. .
Slum schools: We were able to continue our support to the Church on the Rock and Imani schools in Nairobi's slums, providing the children with nutritious lunches. We were also able to provide much-needed text books..
Ernest, the father of on of our Sunshine boys, broke his back in a quarry accident. We provided wool and a knitting machine so he can now make and sell school sweaters.
2018 - onward, ever onward!
Sunshine Centre: The number of former street boys we cared for continued to rise to 149, almost exactly three times the number we started to care for when the Centre opened in 2004. Many of the boys helped fund-raise by taking part in the Kenya Marafun and the Mt Longonot Crowd Climb.
Maisha Bora training programme: Maisha Bora provides secondary and tertiary education for talented but disadvantaged young people. During 2018, our support for this programme increased so that there were 52 students on the programme.
Tumaini: We continued to provide support for 26 orphaned and abandoned children in the Tumaini Children’s Home and in foster homes in the village around the Home. Preparations progressed for moving the children all into foster homes.
Naivasha Technical Training Institute (NTTI): As well as supporting 250 students at NTTI, we secured a grant for the construction of a new men’s hostel which was completed by the end of the year.
Bishop Wambari Girl’s School: We secured a grant for the construction of a new dormitory which was completed within the year.
Former street boy Peter Kariuki conquered Mt Longonot, one of 126 boys and staff to make the climb in October 2018.
2019 - graduation year
Sunshine Centre: The number of former street boys we cared for stabilised at 142. It was a year of academic success with several of the street boys who first came to our Sunshine Centre when it opened in 2004 graduating from university. Francis Kamau, another former street boy we cared for at the Sunshine Centre now runs a successful welding business in Nairobi, and has employed two more Sunshine Boys in his business as a way of paying back the help he himself received.
Tumaini: We provided support for 27 orphaned and abandoned children in the Tumaini Children’s Home and in foster homes in the village around the Home. We supported Doreen Kagodo who left the home and started at university in Nairobi.
Maisha Bora training programme: We supported the Maisha Bora programme which provided secondary and tertiary education for 45 talented but disadvantaged young people.
Naivasha Technical Training Institute (NTTI): As well as supporting 350 students at NTTI, we secured a grant for the construction of 3 new classrooms which will enable NTTI to expand the number of students and range of courses.
Former street boy Francis Kamau has employed two more former street boys at his Unique Welding Workshop in Nairobi
2020 - Combatting Covid
After a normal start to the year that saw all our projects off to a good start, Covid intervened and at the end of March, the Kenya government imposed restrictions that resulted in schools, colleges, business and churches closing. The disruption was huge and the economic impact was devastating, especially for poor families who always exist close to the limit.
In April we launched and emergency aid programme for the former street boys from our Sunshine Centre and their families. 10 families were provided with emergency packs of food and hygiene products. This was an immediate success and, with the help of several generous donations, we scaled the programme up to cover the young people who attend the polytechnic and Bishop Wambari School in Naivasha (and their families), and we extended it to 100 disadvantaged families in the vicinity of Church on the Rock School in Nairobi.
By December when the crisis was easing we had distributed 2,603 family aid packs reaching up to 1,900 family members a month.
Sunshine Centre's Mama Chege launched the Covid emergency aid programme in early April 2020, issuing packs of food and hygiene products to our former street boys and their families.
2021 – Success in trying times
By taking effective action at the end of 2020 to protect young people and staff from Covid, all our projects were able to return to normal operation at the start of 2021. The legacy of the pandemic lived on in several ways during the year:
1. We had to supply large amounts of sanitizers and other hygiene materials
2. The Kenya government closed schools and told children to return home for 7 weeks over the Easter holidays; during this time we re-ran a limited version of the Covid emergency relief operation that had proved so successful in 2020.
3. To compensate for lost education time, the Kenya government inserted a fourth term into the year, substantially increasing education-related costs such as fees and school meals.
4. Many poor and vulnerable families continued to feel the impact of the economic downturn in Kenya. As a result, more boys went to live on the streets and we enrolled 25 new boys into our Sunshine Centre, and continued to provide a variety of aid measures through our Sunshine Outreach programme to six particularly vulnerable families.
Sunshine Centre: By the end of 2021, we had 78 boys former street boys attending the local government primary school, 46 in high schools, 9 were enrolled on college courses, 8 were taking a vocational training course, and 4 were at university.
Tumaini: We supported 21 orphaned and abandoned children, helping them stay healthy and providing them with a normal family life. We also provided education support for several older children who have left school.
Naivasha Technical Training Institute (NTTI): We supported 350 disadvantaged young people, enabling them to acquire skills that will help them find employment. Specific donations we received allowed us provide new tools and fund a new Digital Learning Centre at NTTI, helping the institute continue to provide training courses that meet the needs of Kenya’s modernising economy.
Future Focus: We consolidated various higher education initiatives for the Mombasa-based children into a single programme called Future Focus.
Church on the Rock and Imani Schools, Nairobi. We boosted the health and education of 380 children in Nairobi’s slums by providing free school meals to two schools.
Bishop Wambari Girl’s School, Naivasha. We supported 11 girl students, three by sponsorship of their school fees, and the other 8 by means of bursaries to offset fee arrears. This action ensured that these girls were able to continue their education uninterrupted.
Three former street boys from our Sunshine Centre in Naivasha, Kenya took their next big step in life. Samson Kabue, Philip Otieno and George Kamau.(left to right in the photo below) all started courses in heavy construction machinery operation at Kilimambogo Highway & Building Technology Institute.
2022 – The Sunshine Centre and Tumaini Children's Home come of age
In February, we celebrated the 18th birthdays of both the Sunshine street boys rehabilitation centre and the Tumaini Children's Home. Most of the staff who were there at the beginning are still with us today, selflessly giving their lives to help disadvantaged children in Kenya.
Boys and staff pause to give thanks for 18 years rehabilitating street boys at the Sunshine Centre on 18th February, 2022
Mary (far left) and Charles (far right) have been faithfully caring for the children at Tumaini for over 18 years.
Naivasha Technical Training Institute (NTTI): Trainee recruitment at NTTI rose and Footsteps supported training courses for over 400 disadvantaged young people, enabling them to acquire skills that will help them find employment. We received specific donations which we used to provide new tools and fund new student kitchens and an extension to the Fashion and Design classroom.
Future Focus: We sponsored14 disadvantaged young people, enabling them to undertake a range of vocational and higher education courses.
Church on the Rock and Imani Schools, Nairobi. We boosted the health and education of 340 children in Nairobi’s slums by providing free school meals at two schools, for each of four terms (an extra term was ordered by the Kenya government to catch up school time lost to Covid in previous years).
Bishop Wambari Girl’s School, Naivasha. We supported 16 girl students, one by sponsoring her school fees in full, and the other 15 through bursaries to offset fee arrears. This action ensured the girls could continue their education uninterrupted.
A generous grant from a donor enabled us to fund an upgrade of the science laboratory, and to provide a range of modern teaching aids.