The Safe House
We need your help to ensure the long-term sustainability of this incredible children’s shelter in Kawangware Slum, Kenya.
The safe house was set up by our partner, the Real Hope Youth Community Organization (RHYCO), to rescue children from homes where they were being brutally beaten and sexually assaulted during COVID-19 lockdowns. In less than a year, RHYCO has rescued dozens of children from their abusers. This safe house has been one of the most exciting and impactful projects we’ve seen.
We’re now turning to you, our most influential supporters, to help us secure property ownership so RHYCO can continue to transform lives.
When we started this project, we knew the renovations would increase the property’s value, which would likely lead the landlord to either a) increase the rent to a level RHYCO couldn’t afford or, more likely b) sell the property to a new owner. To mitigate this risk, we suggested RHYCO include an option to buy the property at the pre-renovation price when the lease expires at the end of October 2022.
The situation has indeed unfolded as expected, and buyers are knocking on the door with purchase offers. It’s critical that we help RHYCO exercise this option to purchase; if they lose the property, the children and the community will suffer a great loss.
Life in Kawangware
Kawangware Slum, which sits just outside of Nairobi, is home to more than 600,000 people who live in overcrowded shanty houses and filthy conditions. Residents live under the grip of extreme poverty, which makes life a constant struggle to survive. Without a stable home life, many children turn to the streets to escape physical and sexual assault at home. Girls are often forced into the sex trade, and many boys join criminal gangs to get the sense of belonging they lack at home.
The safe house helps the children discover a life that’s better than prostitution and crime.
In 2014, we partnered with RHYCO, a child welfare organization in Kawangware, to open a drop-in centre that gave children and youth a safe place away from the dangers of the street and the abuses of home life. The centre provided nutritional support, education, mentorship, psychosocial support, and hygiene care.
The RHYCO leadership team is remarkable. They all grew up in Kawangware and have a heart for helping children rise above their challenges.
Crisis During COVID-19
When the pandemic hit, Kawangware saw a sharp rise in physical abuse and sexual assault of children, often by family members. This crisis was overwhelming for the RHYCO leaders who, within a matter of weeks, rescued several of these children into their own homes, as there was nowhere else for them to go.
So, while the original drop-in centre still served a great purpose, the RHYCO team realized they needed to add a shelter for these most vulnerable victims.
And the Safe House was Born
With financial support from donors in Canada and the UK, RHYCO moved quickly, signing a lease for a new location in November 2020. Renovations and construction also happened quickly, and the new drop-in centre and safe house opened its doors opened in January 2021.
The new compound has capacity for up to 70 children at the drop-in centre and up to 20 children at the safe house, allowing the work of transformation to continue and grow.
The cost to purchase the Safe House Compound is CAD$418,000, to be paid by October 2022.
We’re funding this project in collaboration with Marafiki Trust, a UK charitable organization that shares our passion for vulnerable children in Nairobi.
We’ve each committed to raising $209,000.
Will You Support the Safe House?
In Canada, we need to raise $209,000 as quickly as possible. Our hope is to find 20-40 partners who are willing to donate ‘support shares’ of $5,000 or $10,000. Are you willing to offer your support by donating one share (or more)? We can do this together!
If you have other ideas fill out the form, and our Executive Director David Marshall will contact you.