In October 2019 15 volunteers embarked on a trip to Kenya to build houses for 3 families they had never met before. Over the course of the 2-week trip they worked together, faced some challenging weather conditions, learned new skills and formed lasting bonds; to take on a project out of their comfort zone.
Why did they do it? Each person had their own reasons for wanting to be involved in the experience. From someone taking on a challenge for their 40th birthday, to a few people returning after volunteering with us before, to another couple coming along to our information night and just thinking ‘Why not?’. Whatever each person’s reason for signing up, the one thing they had in common was their thirst to help less fortunate families improve their living situations.
The building project took 6 and a half days to complete, and together with 12 Kenyan volunteers and the GEF staff, the team constructed two 3-bedroom homes and one 2-bedroom home. Not only did the team physically work hard to build, but they also encouraged their friends, families and colleagues to donate towards the project; without this the whole plan wouldn’t have been possible. We raised an incredible £28,921 in total and we are pleased to say that is enough to build a 4th house on the same plot. Thanks to our group of fantastic volunteers, another family will benefit from their efforts soon.
Ten more children now have a safe and dry place to live, with a separate kitchen to protect them from cooking fumes and a solar panel on each house roof so the children are able to study past dark.
Previously, Elizabeth and her 5 daughters Josephine, Fidelis, Catherine, Faith and Margaret lived in a broken wooden house with holes throughout, paying £5 per month rent, and a kitchen so slanted it looked like it would topple over any minute and was very unsafe. Elizabeth is a sister among 9 brothers from a poor family. The brothers were very dictator-like and abusive towards her and the girls so she moved away for their own safety, even though that safety was a rundown house. Elizabeth struggled because she was not employed so she took on casual work when it was available, which gets her up to £2 a day. Now we are pleased to say the girls have a safe place to live and Elizabeth has the chance to grow and sell crops with support from GEF going forward.
Alice and her two boys, Ephraim and Peter, were “chased away” by Alice’s brothers following the deaths of their parents. They were staying in a rundown rental house near where Alice worked. Sadly, she was not treated well by her employer who overworked her despite having a broken hip which has gone untreated since early 2017. Alice fell at work and has been unable to afford the £4,000 required for treatment. Now we are pleased to say Alice is away from this mistreatment and the family have a safe place to live and an area to grow crops for consumption and sell the excess.
Previously, Winlydia, Mary and Kelcy lived with their mother in tiny single room house they rented. Sadly, their father ran away years ago when the eldest Mary was joining high school because he disagreed with his daughters progressing to high school. Their mother, Mercy, is a small-scale trader selling carrots and onions but has been struggling to cater for the family’s education and shelter needs. When Mary returned home from boarding school during the holidays, she slept on the floor and emotionally told us that she is ashamed to live like that. We are thankful to say this is no longer the case for them.
"Myles and Gideon have started an amazing journey and people can't help but be carried along on this wonderful experience to bring hope and love to those who are desperately in need. Get involved now! You'll meet some amazing people both from the UK and Kenya."
Lorraine Lee, 2019 building volunteer from Inverurie, Scotland.
This year we would like to thank EV Private Equity, Atkins and Bancon Homes for their generous sponsorship of our building project, their support enables us to purchase our GEF team t-shirts for all the volunteers taking part and vital materials.
We would also like to say a huge thank you to two particular companies for sponsoring particular aspects of this project:
A huge thank you to Aquaterra Energy for their generous donation! AE have kindly agreed to sponsor the water tanks which will enable each family to collect their own safe and clean water; something they have been without previously!
The 4 families who benefited from this building project did not have electricity previously, making it very difficult for the children to study in the evenings, but thanks to Deep Casing Tools donation each new home received a solar panel to enable lights to each room.