On June 22 a demolition crew and 200 armed guards arrived at Cheryl’s Place, an orphanage in Kibera, outside of Nairobi, Kenya, the largest slum in Africa. Eighty children were witness to their lives traumatized once again.
The demolition crew was following the law as they destroyed homes and churches in this beyond poverty-stricken slum. If you’ve seen Disney’s Queen of Katwe – which takes place in neighboring Uganda – you’ve seen the poverty and also the hope that education offers.
The land in Kibera is owned by the railroad and residents knew that someday they would have to vacate, still people were devastated when the time came. For almost 20 years this orphanage had offered children a safe haven. The railroad only delayed the demolition until after the highly contested national elections — it wouldn’t look good for the government to evict desperately poor people before. The foreman, however, gave Cheryl’s Place a brief extension, which allowed them to dismantle and salvage some building materials to rebuild dormitories, classrooms and the chapel in a temporary location.
Despite their dire situation Cheryl’s Place has friends. Naperville’s Good Shepherd has been supporting Cheryl’s for several years and only recently were able to email them because of the generosity of American businessman. The home’s director had contacted travel agents and asked them to bring interested tourists to visit the facility. CEO’s from Las Vegas came, saw and donated Wi-Fi and computers. Kenya Build.com has also provided building supplies.
Cheryl’s Place is fortunate to have friends, but still their resources are sorely stretched with the forced move. Good Shepherd has allowed them to continue operating with financial support; and members on mission have helped with building, repairs, school supplies and even taken students to the movies and for ice cream.
They’re not without hope, but they need prayers and more.
For more information visit www.worldshand.org/index.php/volunteer-programs/kenya/140-cherylas-children-home.