By Grace Disabled and Orphans Centre is based in the Kenyan capital city
. It is situated on the eastward part of
at the heart of the sprawling Kayole estate in Embakasi Division. The few
all-weather roads that cut through the estate are so narrow and difficult to
navigate. With the teeming population of this sprawling estate and the absence of
pedestrian footpaths, driving in this part of the word is not for the faint
The Centre is surrounded by numerous slum dwellings, which include
, Kwa Ngurue, Kibarage, Mworoto, Matopeni and Humama. These areas are
characterized by inadequate infrastructure, squalid housing structures, abject
poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, acute HIV/AIDS prevalence, disease, crime,
and family violence.
The hardest hit and affected by these conditions are the
children, especially those orphaned through HIV/AIDS and crime. The Centre takes
care of children who have been orphaned by providing free education,
accommodation, food, clothing, healthcare, individual skills enhancement and
spiritual support to the children. Counseling is an integral aspect of the
services provided at the Centre, especially to traumatized children whose
parents have succumbed to HIV/AIDS, or who have a history of physical and/or
The Director of the Centre, Ms. Salome W. Muturi,
has seen it all. Countless are the times she has attended burials of parents of
children now under her care. These disadvantaged children, some of whom are
disabled, look up to her as their only hope. In turn she does not disappoint;
for she is a woman of faith, faith in God and in His ability to take care of His
By Grace Disabled and Orphans Centre was registered by the
Kenyan government in 2002 under the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and
Social Services. The Centre has several local Kenyan volunteer workers who include teachers,
counselors and cooks for
the 300 children, 200 of whom are boarders - and an
additional 100 children from very poor households. The children are fed
and educated for free at the Centre.
The Centre has 15 six-by-ten feet classrooms for various grades (from
Kindergarten to High school), which also double up as dormitories for the
boarders. At night, the children spread their beddings on the floor where they
lie down to sleep.
History of the
volunteer service to the community, Salome came face to face with the ravages of
the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The plight of children whose parents had succumbed to the
deadly virus was too much to bear for Salome. So, she decided to take action.
In the early days,
Salome would assist in getting sponsors for the families and children with
needs, most of who were afflicted by poverty. Hardest hit were parents infected
with the HIV/AIDS virus, and those who were too weak to take care of their
children. Getting sponsors
for these children was a daunting task. A task further compounded by the fact
that the few sponsors she would get could barely afford to provide for a child’s
Soon, parents who
were infected with HIV/AIDS started dying, leaving their children with nobody to
take care of them. Most of these children had already dropped out of school to
look after their ailing parents. Even after the government started offering free
education in primary schools, it was very difficult for the ailing parents to
afford uniforms and other school requirements for their children, which the
government could not provide.
After the parents
died, the children could not go back to school since they had to take care of
their siblings. Hungry and helpless, many went to the streets to pillage in
garbage sites, in desperate search of food. Others were kicked out of their
parents’ rented houses, leaving them with no choice but to hit the streets.
Unable to accept
the unfolding scenario, Salome started looking for a shelter for the children
where she could house and feed them. She also decided to set up a school for
these children. With no money, but a big faith in God, Salome rented a nearby
building where she put up the children.
In 2002, By Grace
Disabled and Orphans Centre was registered by the Kenyan government under the
Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services.
Salome rallied the
community to support her with food, clothing, etc. Many are the times she would
get people to donate just enough for the day’s meal to the children. Although
those were very difficult days, God was always at hand to provide.
With more people volunteering to teach the
children, formal learning was gradually introduced at the Centre. Despite the
fact that there were no desks, the children had to learn while sitting on the
bare floor or standing. Today, with the support of a few volunteers, both local
and international, there are a few desks and reading tables. The need however,
is still very high as a number of the children continue to sit on the bare floor
Wambui Muturi has four girls. Apart from assisting in community work,
Salome had a small-scle dressmaking business before God called her into the
ministry of taking care of the children.
she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in 1994, God started
ministering to her to assist the needy in her community. God had impressed on
her to take up the work of looking after the destitute children. She decided to accommodate the orphans at her house despite their
However, as days passed by, the numbers swelled and they could not fit in her
rented two-room house anymore. Salome rented a few rooms on the first floor of a
nearby flat, where she started putting up the children as they came, usually
after their parents had passed away. Despite the severe hardships she was going
through, Salome did not turn away any child. Instead, she trusted God for their
provision. God, in turn, did not disappoint her.
is a woman of strong faith. As the children continued to increase, God started
bringing other volunteers to support the work. Although the need is still
overwhelming, the children are happier, healthier, and full of hope - thanks to
our sponsors and volunteers. For all this we give God the glory.
By Grace Centre has a Board
of Directors involved in the running of the centre. The members comprise of:
- Ms. Salome Wambui
Muturi: Director; Founder of the Centre. She oversees the day to day running
of the Centre.
- Ms. Jane W. Nderi: Treasurer; Bachelor of Arts in
Sociology; assists the Director in the running of the Centre and maintains
active correspondence with partner organizations.
- Bs. Absalom Ndungo: Presiding Bishop of Kenya Redeemed Church
- Ms. Sonya G. Atkinson:
Overseas Administrative Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator; Bachelors of Arts Degree in
Sociology and Anthropology; an English as a Second Language Teaching
Certification, and a Masters of Education degree in Literacy.
Fennessy: Member; Master's Degree in Psychology. She is a full professor at
Richland Community College and an adjunct professor at Millikin University. She
is also the advisor of HOPE CLUB (Helping out People Everywhere), which is a
student organization that raises funds and awareness about the orphans at By
Garce. She has been making frequent trips to Kenya to do volunteer work at By
Grace since May 2005.