The Rotary Club of Nairobi hosts a farewell for retiring Rotary Cura Home Founder Manager and two equally long-serving house-mothers
On 26th November 2016, Ritesh Barot, Nelson Mburu and his wife Waithera Gaitho and Kevin Mududa joined Evelyn Mungai and Mike Eldon to host a retirement party for Rotary Cura Home Founding Manager Moses Machara and two of the home’s house-mothers, Grace Kabetu and Irene Ngugi. There were speeches, and then gifts were presented to the retiring trio, a fridge for Moses, cookers and gas cylinders for the ladies, plus cash, all so well earned. Food had been brought for the children by the Rotarians; there was dancing and singing; and the atmosphere could not have been happier – including thanks to the wonderful catering by the Windsor Hotel.
Here below is the speech delivered by Moses Machara:
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all in the name of Jesus Christ.
I am deeply delighted to welcome you all in this very important function of giving thanks to the Almighty God for providing us with an opportunity of serving these children as well as celebrating the retirement of three of the pioneer members of staff – myself as manager and two housemothers.When I rewind my memory to 14 years ago, without any doubt in my mind I take great pride for the illustrious service that has been rendered to these children and to the Cura community in general.
Allow me to very briefly remind those who might have forgotten and inform those who do not know how this Childrens’ Home came into being. It all started in the year 2002 when Mrs. Evelyn Mungai was President of Rotary Club of Nairobi and she visited Cura Primary School accompanied by other Rotarians.The deplorable condition the school was in greatly disturbed her, and without hesitation she and her fellow Rotarians undertook to refurbish the school.
The old age desks and forms were replaced with lockers and chairs and dusty floors were cemented, completely changing the learning environment of our school and subsequently creating confidence, motivation and a friendly learning atmosphere for both teachers and pupils.
While this work was going on, it became apparent to Mrs. Mungai how devastating poverty was in this village. This prompted her to bring experts from Community Based Organisations to bring social and economic activities which would transform the livelihoods and lifestyles of the many who benefitted. These projects included the cultivation of tissue-culture bananas through Africa Harvest; better farming methods thanks to FarmChem Pioneer Seeds; bee-keeping with Honeycare; and weaving and spinning.
It was during this time that the HIV epidemic was at its peak, and Cura was no exception.This again became a concern for Mrs. Mungai and so without shying away from the problem, she approched the church leadership to provide a plot where a childrens’ home could be built. The church embraced the idea and identified the place. Thanks to Rotary the building was put up and officially opened, and the 1st batch of 20 children arrived on 6th January 2006. In June of the same year 30 more joined, to make 50 – 27 girls and 23 boys.
We embarked on a task that lay ahead of us with 50 toddlers all from different backgrounds;most of them malnutrilized;some jigger-infected etc.With a skeleton staff of a Manager,3 house-mothers,cleaner and a watchman;all giving volunteer service,there was no looking back. We were determined to give these children what they were supposed to have but were lucking wherever each one of them came from.
Members of the first Board of Management, which worked tirelessly to establish and see this project move forward, included Rev. Peter Nyoro Gachii, Board Chairman; Rotarian Evelyn Mungai, Project Manager; Mr. Moses M. Kamau, Project Manager; Rotarian Mike Eldon; Rotarian. Bimal Kantaria; Rotarian Prof. David Ngugi; Mr. Stephen Ng’ethe; and Mr. Daniel Kimenyi.
Our main objective was to lift the burden of despair from the orphans and vulnerable children by providing them with hope and love; with food and clothes and shelter; with education; and above all to accord them human dignity.
I can confidently state here without any fear of contradiction that as I exit the project, these objectives have been achieved. The firm foundation that was laid during the formative stages is still very strong, and it is up to the present Board to take the project a notch higher.
As I mentioned earlier this project was propelled and was aimed at bringing transformative economic and social change to the Cura community, and also to improve the education standard and infrastructure development – which were terribly lucking. On this basis therefore the Rotary Cura Home became the pivotal point of mobilisation and implementation.
Hence the construction of the Cura Secondary School as well as the community water tank, besides many more others, like the distribution of wheelchairs; the revival of Cura Clinic for the sake of our children and community by Mr. Mike Eldon; the beddings and other items from Sleeping Children Around the World; containers packed with books, computers and other items from Rotarians in Canada; the rehabilitation and partitioning of the computer laboratory and library by Bonny Sutherland and her team from Canada; free medical camps organized the Rotary Club: all these were due to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Evelyn Mungai and Mr. Mike Eldon.
While all this was going on the greatest emphasis was on seeing these children grow – physically, mentally and emotionally, giving them an education that will make them self-reliant.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to tire you but I can confidently state here that I am indeed very happy to have been fully involved in the implementation of all these activities, together with other community leaders who were always ready and willing to support these activities.
Finally, as I bid goodbye to these children whom I love very much, to all the staff, to the members of the Board, I wish to in particular and very sincerely extend my deepest gratitude to Mrs. Evelyn Mungai and Mr. Mike Eldon, whose invaluable support and encouragement enabled me to steer this project to what it is today, and to the members of the 1st Board for the confidence they exhibited in me and who gave me the opportunity to serve as the pioneer manager of the Rotary Children’s Home.
I also thank our Diocesan Bishop the Rt. Rev. Timothy Ranji, to whom the project was handed over by Mrs. Mungai in January 2015. He retained me as manager until now that the rules and regulations have to see me retire men due to age. I also thank all the vicars who have served here during this period, together with the church elders and all the Cura community for their support.
To you all who have graced this occasion I say thank you very much, and may the Almighty God bless you all.