What does Chaffinch do?

Our main aims centre around Food, Shelter, and Education.
Sometimes these ‘overflow’ into other areas associated with caring for the children of Future Stars.

   

What is the problem?

Everyone needs food.
The children who live at Future Stars require balanced meals every day.
However, there are many more children at risk of malnutrition and starvation. When the average daily wage in Kibera is just £1, and many families have four or more children, the money just doesn’t go far. It is not uncommon for a child in Kibera to eat just one meal each day. Adults sometimes go without food to ensure their children can eat.
A lack of food (and the lack of money for food) causes problems in many areas of a child’s life.
Inadequate nutrition in early childhood can lead to stunted growth and impaired brain development. Immune systems are weakened, causing vulnerability to disease. Children who have not had enough to eat find it difficult to concentrate in school and generally achieve lower grades. And when a family struggles to find the money for food, it is very unlikely that there is anything left to pay school fees.
In these circumstances, it is extremely difficult for a child to thrive. And, in a community where 1 in 5 children does not live to the age of 5, a lack of food significantly increases a child’s risk of mortality.

How do we tackle it?

Through Future Stars, Chaffinch aims to provide adequate and varied nutrition for all of the children resident at the centre.
In addition, we try to commit to providing a balanced diet for every child attending the school at Future Stars. These are children at high risk of malnutrition due to their home circumstances. Providing food for these children not only means they can work harder in school, but also reduces the number of days they cannot attend due to ill health. Also, by feeding children at the centre, pressure is taken off the finances of the remaining members of the family. So, feeding one child at Future Stars can mean another member of that family will also receive adequate nutrition as a consequence.
Each month, Chaffinch ensures that basic foods such as rice, beans, and flour can be purchased. When funds allow, items such as meat, fish, and eggs can also be supplied.
The centre also cultivates a small area of land (the steep slope from the centre to the watercourse below), which provides fruit and some vegetables when the weather is favourable.

What can you do to help?

Providing a consistently balanced and adequate diet for the children requires funding every month.
Small donations given on a regular basis make a big difference to this area of our work. When a single hot meal can be provided for just 17p, you can see how far even a small donation can go.
Alternatively, why not commit to purchase a specific item such as a sack of flour or a packet of milk. Simply contact us for current prices.
Child sponsorship is also a great way to give a regular donation and ensure that a child has what they need to succeed.
For suggestions of how you can contribute, for all budgets, visit our ‘ways to help’ page.

 

What is the problem?

Everyone needs food.
The children who live at Future Stars require balanced meals every day.
However, there are many more children at risk of malnutrition and starvation. When the average daily wage in Kibera is just £1, and many families have four or more children, the money just doesn’t go far. It is not uncommon for a child in Kibera to eat just one meal each day. Adults sometimes go without food to ensure their children can eat.
A lack of food (and the lack of money for food) causes problems in many areas of a child’s life.
Inadequate nutrition in early childhood can lead to stunted growth and impaired brain development. Immune systems are weakened, causing vulnerability to disease. Children who have not had enough to eat find it difficult to concentrate in school and generally achieve lower grades. And when a family struggles to find the money for food, it is very unlikely that there is anything left to pay school fees.
In these circumstances, it is extremely difficult for a child to thrive. And, in a community where 1 in 5 children does not live to the age of 5, a lack of food significantly increases a child’s risk of mortality.

How do we tackle it?

Through Future Stars, Chaffinch aims to provide adequate and varied nutrition for all of the children resident at the centre.
In addition, we try to commit to providing a balanced diet for every child attending the school at Future Stars. These are children at high risk of malnutrition due to their home circumstances. Providing food for these children not only means they can work harder in school, but also reduces the number of days they cannot attend due to ill health. Also, by feeding children at the centre, pressure is taken off the finances of the remaining members of the family. So, feeding one child at Future Stars can mean another member of that family will also receive adequate nutrition as a consequence.
Each month, Chaffinch ensures that basic foods such as rice, beans, and flour can be purchased. When funds allow, items such as meat, fish, and eggs can also be supplied.
The centre also cultivates a small area of land (the steep slope from the centre to the watercourse below), which provides fruit and some vegetables when the weather is favourable.

What can you do to help?

Providing a consistently balanced and adequate diet for the children requires funding every month.
Small donations given on a regular basis make a big difference to this area of our work. When a single hot meal can be provided for just 17p, you can see how far even a small donation can go.
Alternatively, why not commit to purchase a specific item such as a sack of flour or a packet of milk. Simply contact us for current prices.
Child sponsorship is also a great way to give a regular donation and ensure that a child has what they need to succeed.
For suggestions of how you can contribute, for all budgets, visit our ‘ways to help’ page.

What is the problem?

Over 100,000 of Kibera’s children are orphans. Whilst some are cared for by other family members, there are more who find themselves completely alone.
Other children are abandoned by their families. Perhaps the parents find they cannot sustain themselves in Kibera and decide to return to one of the rural villages. Many believe that their children will have a better chance of a positive future if they stay in Kibera. This results in children being left to fend for themselves on the streets of the slum.
In some instances, a family simply cannot afford to sustain the number of children in the home. Perhaps there is not enough money for food, or maybe there just isn’t the space in a 12 foot square room to accommodate everyone. This can lead to children being forced out of the family home once their parents believe they are old enough to survive alone.
Then there are the runaways – perhaps escaping abuse, or disagreements with parents.
The ‘streets’ of the slum and the surrounding areas become home to many children who are then unable to access education and often unable to feed and clothe themselves adequately. Many become addicted to glue, alcohol, or other drugs. The girls in particular are vulnerable to abuse and initiation into the life of a prostitute. Some are as young as 6 or 7 years old.
Children living on the streets sometimes find it necessary to steal in order to get a little food or money for water and other essentials. Sadly, both individuals and the police can be harsh on these young people. There are no official statistics to reveal the fate of many of these children. However, the stories of beatings and lethal shootings by the authorities abound.
Even if a child has a place to live, the same problems exist in Kibera as they do across the world. Some children are the unfortunate victims of abuse and exploitation, perhaps exacerbated by the difficult conditions in which they live.
Without help, most of these children will have very little hope of a positive, safe, and productive future.

How do we tackle it?

Future Stars is a development and rescue centre. It exists to help the most vulnerable children of the slum whenever such help is needed.
Some of the children who come to live at the centre arrive having been recently orphaned.
Others have lived on the streets for some time. These children are often identified, by charities working specifically with street children, as in need of a place of safety or simply as having a strong desire for a different life. It can be difficult for these children to adapt to living in a home environment and attending school each day, but for those who integrate successfully the future becomes a lot brighter.
Still more children arrive at the centre having been referred by concerned family members or neighbours. These are usually children who are at risk of serious abuse if they remain in their current environment. It is often the tribal chiefs who request admission for a child they have identified as being in danger.
Future Stars provides a home (and everything that goes with it) for these vulnerable children. However, the centre is not a children’s home and every attempt is made to find a family placement for each child. This can involve much effort tracing living family members who may be able to offer a home for their relative. Some children do, however, remain at the centre until they graduate high school and begin their independent adult lives.

What can you do to help?

In order to be there for these children when they are at their most vulnerable, Future Stars needs to maintain an adequate living environment. This involves having space to accommodate them as well as the ability to provide all the essentials of daily life.
We find that the best way to provide support for these children is through child sponsorship. This does more than just ensure funds for the basics. It also, and possibly more importantly, shows a child that there is someone in the world who cares about them – even if that person is thousands of miles away. It reassures them that they have value as an individual and does a lot to combat the negativity that frequently results from abuse, abandonment, or loss.

 

What is the problem?

Over 100,000 of Kibera’s children are orphans. Whilst some are cared for by other family members, there are more who find themselves completely alone.
Other children are abandoned by their families. Perhaps the parents find they cannot sustain themselves in Kibera and decide to return to one of the rural villages. Many believe that their children will have a better chance of a positive future if they stay in Kibera. This results in children being left to fend for themselves on the streets of the slum.
In some instances, a family simply cannot afford to sustain the number of children in the home. Perhaps there is not enough money for food, or maybe there just isn’t the space in a 12 foot square room to accommodate everyone. This can lead to children being forced out of the family home once their parents believe they are old enough to survive alone.
Then there are the runaways – perhaps escaping abuse, or disagreements with parents.
The ‘streets’ of the slum and the surrounding areas become home to many children who are then unable to access education and often unable to feed and clothe themselves adequately. Many become addicted to glue, alcohol, or other drugs. The girls in particular are vulnerable to abuse and initiation into the life of a prostitute. Some are as young as 6 or 7 years old.
Children living on the streets sometimes find it necessary to steal in order to get a little food or money for water and other essentials. Sadly, both individuals and the police can be harsh on these young people. There are no official statistics to reveal the fate of many of these children. However, the stories of beatings and lethal shootings by the authorities abound.
Even if a child has a place to live, the same problems exist in Kibera as they do across the world. Some children are the unfortunate victims of abuse and exploitation, perhaps exacerbated by the difficult conditions in which they live.
Without help, most of these children will have very little hope of a positive, safe, and productive future.

How do we tackle it?

Future Stars is a development and rescue centre. It exists to help the most vulnerable children of the slum whenever such help is needed.
Some of the children who come to live at the centre arrive having been recently orphaned.
Others have lived on the streets for some time. These children are often identified, by charities working specifically with street children, as in need of a place of safety or simply as having a strong desire for a different life. It can be difficult for these children to adapt to living in a home environment and attending school each day, but for those who integrate successfully the future becomes a lot brighter.
Still more children arrive at the centre having been referred by concerned family members or neighbours. These are usually children who are at risk of serious abuse if they remain in their current environment. It is often the tribal chiefs who request admission for a child they have identified as being in danger.
Future Stars provides a home (and everything that goes with it) for these vulnerable children. However, the centre is not a children’s home and every attempt is made to find a family placement for each child. This can involve much effort tracing living family members who may be able to offer a home for their relative. Some children do, however, remain at the centre until they graduate high school and begin their independent adult lives.

What can you do to help?

In order to be there for these children when they are at their most vulnerable, Future Stars needs to maintain an adequate living environment. This involves having space to accommodate them as well as the ability to provide all the essentials of daily life.
We find that the best way to provide support for these children is through child sponsorship. This does more than just ensure funds for the basics. It also, and possibly more importantly, shows a child that there is someone in the world who cares about them – even if that person is thousands of miles away. It reassures them that they have value as an individual and does a lot to combat the negativity that frequently results from abuse, abandonment, or loss.

What is the problem?

The Kenyan government introduced ‘free primary education for all’. But, as Kibera is not officially acknowledged, and only a small percentage of births in Kibera are registered, this ‘guarantee’ does not actually extend to the children of the slum. There are no government schools in Kibera.
This does not mean there are no schools in Kibera. However, all of the schools are private enterprises and therefore are able to charge whatever fees they choose.
In addition to the basic tuition fees at these schools, a child will be expected to purchase a uniform, exercise books, pens and pencils. There will then be a charge for items such as soap and toilet paper, plus the cost of examinations at the end of every term, for extracurricular activities (often compulsory), a meal at lunchtime, and of course a registration fee to join the school.
With typical costs for a class 5 student being around 2000 shillings per month, and an average adult earning around 3000-4000 shillings per month, the economics often just don’t add up. The result of this is many children unable to attend school, or families cutting back on food, water, and fuel in order to provide an education for their children.
It is estimated that only 40% of Kibera’s school-age children are actually in school on any given day. Whilst a higher percentage may be registered, they are frequently sent home from school if their fee payments are not up to date.

How do we tackle it?

Future Stars provides a completely free education for children who would otherwise be unable to access a primary education.
Whilst contributions are welcomed, no child will ever be turned away due to an inability to pay. Items such as pencils and exercise books are provided free of charge by the centre. There are no costs for exams, for registration, for food, or for tuition.
Currently, this is only possible due to the amazing generosity of the staff at Future Stars. All of the teachers are volunteers, often working a second job after hours or during the night in order to earn the money they need to live in Kibera. They receive token payments when there is something to spare and they eat at the centre with the children. Unfortunately, these teachers can rarely afford to volunteer their time for very long and this can lead to frequent staff changes that interrupt continuity in the classroom.
Some of the residential children at the centre have graduated from the free primary school at Future Stars and became in need of a high school education elsewhere in Kibera. Attaining a secondary leaving certificate gives a young person greatly improved employment prospects. Chaffinch therefore works to guarantee that all of the residential children can complete the four years of high school. To do this, we need to pay the fees for this education.

What can you do to help?

The best way to guarantee a continuing education for any of the children is through child sponsorship. If a child has a sponsor, whether the child is residential or not, we are then able to fund their education right through to high school graduation. This is an area in which our child sponsors really do make a huge impact.
There are many other items needed for the free school to function. Consumable items such as exercise books and pencils are always needed and are purchased within Kibera, providing income for a small-scale shopkeeper and allowing Chaffinch donations to reach further than just the children of Future Stars. So contributions for these items are always much appreciated.
The other major area we would love to improve upon regards salaries for our volunteer teachers. At present, there are simply not the funds to provide any significant payment for these generous individuals.
With a packet of pencils costing less than £1 and a full set of exercise books costing just £2.50, even seemingly small donations can have an impact.

 

What is the problem?

The Kenyan government introduced ‘free primary education for all’. But, as Kibera is not officially acknowledged, and only a small percentage of births in Kibera are registered, this ‘guarantee’ does not actually extend to the children of the slum. There are no government schools in Kibera.
This does not mean there are no schools in Kibera. However, all of the schools are private enterprises and therefore are able to charge whatever fees they choose.
In addition to the basic tuition fees at these schools, a child will be expected to purchase a uniform, exercise books, pens and pencils. There will then be a charge for items such as soap and toilet paper, plus the cost of examinations at the end of every term, for extracurricular activities (often compulsory), a meal at lunchtime, and of course a registration fee to join the school.
With typical costs for a class 5 student being around 2000 shillings per month, and an average adult earning around 3000-4000 shillings per month, the economics often just don’t add up. The result of this is many children unable to attend school, or families cutting back on food, water, and fuel in order to provide an education for their children.
It is estimated that only 40% of Kibera’s school-age children are actually in school on any given day. Whilst a higher percentage may be registered, they are frequently sent home from school if their fee payments are not up to date.

How do we tackle it?

Future Stars provides a completely free education for children who would otherwise be unable to access a primary education.
Whilst contributions are welcomed, no child will ever be turned away due to an inability to pay. Items such as pencils and exercise books are provided free of charge by the centre. There are no costs for exams, for registration, for food, or for tuition.
Currently, this is only possible due to the amazing generosity of the staff at Future Stars. All of the teachers are volunteers, often working a second job after hours or during the night in order to earn the money they need to live in Kibera. They receive token payments when there is something to spare and they eat at the centre with the children. Unfortunately, these teachers can rarely afford to volunteer their time for very long and this can lead to frequent staff changes that interrupt continuity in the classroom.
Some of the residential children at the centre have graduated from the free primary school at Future Stars and became in need of a high school education elsewhere in Kibera. Attaining a secondary leaving certificate gives a young person greatly improved employment prospects. Chaffinch therefore works to guarantee that all of the residential children can complete the four years of high school. To do this, we need to pay the fees for this education.

What can you do to help?

The best way to guarantee a continuing education for any of the children is through child sponsorship. If a child has a sponsor, whether the child is residential or not, we are then able to fund their education right through to high school graduation. This is an area in which our child sponsors really do make a huge impact.
There are many other items needed for the free school to function. Consumable items such as exercise books and pencils are always needed and are purchased within Kibera, providing income for a small-scale shopkeeper and allowing Chaffinch donations to reach further than just the children of Future Stars. So contributions for these items are always much appreciated.
The other major area we would love to improve upon regards salaries for our volunteer teachers. At present, there are simply not the funds to provide any significant payment for these generous individuals.
With a packet of pencils costing less than £1 and a full set of exercise books costing just £2.50, even seemingly small donations can have an impact.

What is the problem?

Taking care of vulnerable children and working to give them the best chance of a positive future requires more than just food, shelter, and education.

Imagine what you need to go about your life for a single day.

  • You crawl out from under your blankets or duvet.
  • You grab toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, and soap.
  • After ablutions, you open the wardrobe for a set of clean clothes.
  • Before heading out of the door you need a bowl for your cereal, a plate for your toast, and a mug for your morning coffee.
  • By midday you’ve acquired a headache and swallowed a couple of painkillers.
  • Then perhaps it’s time to get a haircut before going to the shops to replace the shoes that are either getting too small or are developing holes that let in the mud and water.
  • In your free time you might kick a football around, or read a book, or listen to music.
  • Perhaps your headache has turned into something worse and you need a visit to the doctor and a prescription for more medication.
  • That’s a lot of ‘extras’ from clothing and toiletries to bedding and medical bills.

How do we tackle it?

Chaffinch is involved in every aspect of life for the children who use the centre. This means catering for each and every need that arises, whether expected or unexpected.
It is important that we are able to provide funds to cover emergency medical fees when a child becomes unwell. There are so many dangerous diseases endemic to Kibera that prompt treatment is vital to ensure a positive outcome.
We are also working on providing more of the things that are often taken for granted outside the slum. From building a new toilet block to buying bowls and mugs, it is important to give the children the opportunity for both a safe and a happy childhood.
It is impossible to give a list of interventions that Chaffinch provides or will provide when necessary. So ‘everything else’ really does cover everything. This aspect of our work is the most unpredictable as needs cannot always be determined in advance.

What can you do to help?

A fantastic way to help Chaffinch meet emergency needs is to react to any urgent appeals. Whether this is to make a donation, to share a post on Facebook, or to talk to friends, family, and colleagues, the faster our vital message is spread the more likely we are to be able to react quickly.
Of course, donations made at any time may well be used to finance some of these additional expenses such as the purchase of new shoes, plates, bedding etc.
Parents of growing children can also be wonderfully helpful by saving the clothes that their children outgrow but that are still in serviceable condition. Each time a trip is made from the UK to Future Stars, donated clothing forms a large part of what is transported. The children are always overjoyed to receive ‘new’ clothes and accessories.

 

What is the problem?

Taking care of vulnerable children and working to give them the best chance of a positive future requires more than just food, shelter, and education.

Imagine what you need to go about your life for a single day.

  • You crawl out from under your blankets or duvet.
  • You grab toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, and soap.
  • After ablutions, you open the wardrobe for a set of clean clothes.
  • Before heading out of the door you need a bowl for your cereal, a plate for your toast, and a mug for your morning coffee.
  • By midday you’ve acquired a headache and swallowed a couple of painkillers.
  • Then perhaps it’s time to get a haircut before going to the shops to replace the shoes that are either getting too small or are developing holes that let in the mud and water.
  • In your free time you might kick a football around, or read a book, or listen to music.
  • Perhaps your headache has turned into something worse and you need a visit to the doctor and a prescription for more medication.
  • That’s a lot of ‘extras’ from clothing and toiletries to bedding and medical bills.

How do we tackle it?

Chaffinch is involved in every aspect of life for the children who use the centre. This means catering for each and every need that arises, whether expected or unexpected.
It is important that we are able to provide funds to cover emergency medical fees when a child becomes unwell. There are so many dangerous diseases endemic to Kibera that prompt treatment is vital to ensure a positive outcome.
We are also working on providing more of the things that are often taken for granted outside the slum. From building a new toilet block to buying bowls and mugs, it is important to give the children the opportunity for both a safe and a happy childhood.
It is impossible to give a list of interventions that Chaffinch provides or will provide when necessary. So ‘everything else’ really does cover everything. This aspect of our work is the most unpredictable as needs cannot always be determined in advance.

What can you do to help?

A fantastic way to help Chaffinch meet emergency needs is to react to any urgent appeals. Whether this is to make a donation, to share a post on Facebook, or to talk to friends, family, and colleagues, the faster our vital message is spread the more likely we are to be able to react quickly.
Of course, donations made at any time may well be used to finance some of these additional expenses such as the purchase of new shoes, plates, bedding etc.
Parents of growing children can also be wonderfully helpful by saving the clothes that their children outgrow but that are still in serviceable condition. Each time a trip is made from the UK to Future Stars, donated clothing forms a large part of what is transported. The children are always overjoyed to receive ‘new’ clothes and accessories.

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