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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Extraordinary Young Lady-Ms Wamaitha Mwangi...

Ms Wamaitha Mwangi is not only a very intelligent and beautiful young lass but also a phenomenal woman in her own right!She recently won the prestigious Pillar Awards Africa under the Humanitarian category in 2011.Find out in her own words what makes her a truly extra-ordinary young lady.
Wamaitha Mwangi- Humanitarian 2011 Pillar Awards Africa Winner.

 

My Heritage:
I am born and raised in Kenya and I am third born child in a family of four siblings. Two older sisters and a younger brother. By my parent’s estimates of all the kids, I was definitely the last one they would have imagined ever having.
My Passion:
But even in all my ups and downs, youthful madness, rebellion there was one thing that undeniably remained consistent within me, my love for kids. I was especially drawn to children with special needs. So in High School I became chairlady of the rangers club and I made sure that most of our trips were to children's homes and continued visiting different homes after high school to volunteer.
Further Studies in Ausi:
I went college in Australia. Initially I   wanted to study Special Education but I did not qualify for the course. However, to keep in line with my passion I opted to study Psychology at Notre Dame University with an emphasis on Child Psychology. While in Australia, I worked part time at a private home as a nanny to a boy with special needs for three years before I came back to Kenya in 2008.
Back Home:
When I came back home, I wanted to work with children so I went and enrolled for the Montessori training, but that didn't do it for me although I learned a lot from it. I always wanted to start a Home since I was about 21, so I decided that was the right time to do it.I started visiting Homes for research, some owners were harsh and others were very secretive. Not many people supported me especially at the very beginning. Family, close friends, relatives and even strangers felt that I was too young to do it.But thank God for the stubbornness my family feared…Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you my passion and my calling:
How it all began:
My initial dream was for the Centre to be for children with special needs but the startup costs were very high for me especially in terms of the therapists, equipment, medicine and all. But with the resources that I had I decided to focus on infants. We registered Angel Centre for abandoned children with the NGO board of Kenya and got inspected and given the green light to take in the babies.
Our Humble Beginnings:
We started in a 1 bedroom apartment in Limuru where we had to finish the renovations ourselves. I met a lady in Tigoni who does the same thing and she really encouraged me and even donated two baby cots from her home to us. That was huge for me and the Home at the time because we had nothing. We started with 2 babies and 2 nannies who were full time volunteers.
We’ve come a long way:
A year and a half later and we have 11 babies aged between 1.5 months to 2 years old. We have 10 nannies, a watchman and social worker who are all on payroll. We are currently renting a 4 bedroom
House in Rironi Limuru.
Our biggest success:
3 months ago we had our first adoption from the home through KKPI Adoption Agency. Baby David was a year and two months old.
Challenges:
Though it’s been a rewarding year and half with the babies we have faced some very tough challenges, the hardest being losing baby Harrison on 9th February 2011. He had hydrocephalus and spinal bifida. He succumbed to this illness at 7 months old. He had been with us for 6 months. Further to that we have faced other challenges namely: Salaries-We struggle with their salaries because we run solely on funding from well-wishers. Medical Cover-We are not able to pay for the children's medical cover. We rely on Government hospitals and free medical checkups. Lack of Donors-This has been our biggest challenge as I mentioned above we run solely on well-wishers and although the children have never lacked food or clothing, we have a limited resources.
But I won’t give up: