When I went to Kenya, nearly two years ago now, one of the children who struck me was Gereza. He had newly arrived at Casuarina House when I was there - one of the last four children to be admitted. I remember him as having a smile on his face nearly all the time. I remember his joy when I gave him a balloon, and the fun he had keeping it in the air. He was featured in the Christmas appeal from The Sure Foundation this year:
Gereza was just 9 years old when I first met him, his parents had died years before and he had been taken in by a frail old lady. Unfortunat...ely, her family resented Gereza and treated him very badly when she wasn’t around, not feeding him or letting him into the mud hut where they lived; they wanted nothing to do with him. I felt we were his last hope.
I took him back to Casuarina House to see how he got on with the other children, but he just sat in a corner staring at the ground and didn't interact with any of them. He didn't seem to know how to communicate as he’d never had someone showing interest in him.
One of our children went over to him with a hoop to engage him in play and a big smile broke out on Gereza’s face. That was when my heart melted and I knew he just needed the opportunity to grow up where he would be loved, nurtured and cherished.
This year Gereza has worked very hard and finished second in his class at school. As you can see from his picture, he is bright-eyed and very mischievous and always has a cheeky grin on his face. He’s learnt to swim and loves to play football and is often one of the first to offer to help with chores. His affectionate and lively nature is a far cry from the lost little boy I first met and I hope you can see what an enormous impact your support makes.
We are totally reliant on voluntary donations to fund our work with the Utange orphans. Gereza’s home along with 23 other orphans is Casuarina House and it costs £26,000 a year to run. It costs a further £12,000 a year to fund the Feed500 programme for the orphans in the village. If you are able to support us with an extra gift this Christmas we would be so grateful and you can be sure that it will make all the difference to these children’s lives.
Thank you to all who have followed my creations this year, and to those who have commented, or featured my work on their own blogs. You have all had a part in this; you have all helped to feed and support truly needy children who are grateful for what, in Western terms, is so little.