THE ORPHANAGE’S HISTORY
The predecessor of the present St. Joseph Orphanage was founded back in 1882 by the French Holy Ghost missionaries for boys only. The guardians of those boys not only took care of them, but also taught them different handicraft trades: they trained them to be carpenters and bricklayers.
In 1909, the Precious Blood Sisters settled in Bura, as well. They created a foster home and school only for girls. Recognizing the importance of supplying their own successors, the nuns taught the girls arriving to the home from the year 1928 how to take care of children. Later these girls became the first Sisters of Saint Joseph. By then, taking in both boys and girls, they founded the Saint Joseph Orphanage, which our foundation has been supporting since 2006.
THE LAYOUT OF THE ORPHANAGE
At present, multiple buildings belong to the orphanage, which in local circumstances are considered to be modern architecture. The younger children live in the main building, with the recently built bedrooms for the bigger boys and girls on its two sides. This way they can all study in a peaceful environment.
In the neighbourhood of the orphanage, we established a kindergarten, a place that not only the orphans but the children from the village can attend as well. The initiative came from the locals: they suggested finding a solution together so their children can be under trained supervision during the day while provided three meals a day, something that in Kenya is considered a scarcity.
So we transformed a storage room made of pisé (stiff clay building material) and slowly renovated it, adding a bathroom, dining room, and a kitchen. Additionally, in 2009, with the help of the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya, we were able to build a new room.
In 2011, the Sisters founded a primary school in the immediate neighbourhood of the orphanage; this does not institutionally belong to the Saint Joseph Children’s Home; however, our foundation aided in their furnishing it as well as assuming some teachers’ salaries, because the quality of their education is essential for the children’s future.
Later, with the help of Vodafone Hungary, we also constructed a playground.
Another part of the building is an apartment row made up from four smaller homes. In one part of it the staff resides while the other part is rented out. These apartments don’t meet European standards, as they only consist of a 1.5x2 meter (5x6.5 feet) living space without any comfort, and for bathing, water has to be carried from a nearby tap.
Besides the buildings, a mini-farm is operated, providing space for the domestic animals and a kitchen garden. In it they mostly grow corn, beans, cabbage, and fruits. The farm has chickens, pigs, rabbits, goats, and the cows provide milk sometimes for the whole orphanage. However, most of the milk gets sold in order to regularly raise some cash, even if not a large amount. All the children help out in gardening and taking care of the animals. The older ones get their own little plot to learn the basics of husbandry.