When we first found Caleb he was living on the street and was well known as being the 'trouble-maker' of the group. He used to be very addicted to glue and loved to fight with the other boys. We saw a softer side to Caleb, however, when he insisted upon seeing some of his friends in the hospital, handing over his glue to us during his visits. Caleb has since moved into River Jordan Orphanage; he is in class 3, no longer sniffs glue and is the goalie of the orphanage’s football team.
Brian was 13 years old when we met him. At that time he asked us to take him to the hospital to get circumcised, a coming of age tradition in Kenya. Children must first receive approval from a parent before getting circumcised, therefore Children of Bungoma traveled with Brian to find his mother and father. Neither could be found, making Brian an orphan. He moved to Busia, a town on the border of Uganda because he was told by other children that he could make more money in Uganda. We went to Busia to get Brian, bringing him back to Bungoma to live with Mama Abduallah. After Mama’s passing, Brian dropped out of school and ran back to the streets of Busia, but has since returned to Bungoma.
Kevin is one of 11 children in his household. When we visited his family, we learned that he first ran to the street to make money for his family. Specifically, he has helped pay the school fees for his older sister to finish high school. Of his own schooling, Kevin finished primary school to class eight, but his family was unable to pay the exam fees, so he did not qualify to move to high school. During the visit, we also learned that from class 1 through class 8, Kevin was number one in his class; "clever" his father called Kevin. We are working with the family to send Kevin back to school at Chwele Boys in January so he can move forward with his education.
In January, Moses will be starting class 6 at Epico Jahn's Primary School in Kabula, Kenya. He was living on the streets of Bungoma from 2008-2011.
In 2011, Moses was given housing and put into school. Children of Bungoma is now providing Moses with his housing and school. Moses went to the streets when his mother suddenly developed a health problem and his father lost one of his legs in an accident. With his parents unable to care for him emotionally and financially, Moses now finds comfort in his new house that he shares with 12 other boys and 4 adult supervisors.
Nancy Wamalwa began working with Children of Bungoma in January 2013. She cooks, cleans, and helps wash the kid's clothes. With the help from her husband, the two help provide a safe, and stable household for the children living in the home.
Daniel Wamalwa is a Kenyan from Bungoma. He and Nikki first met each other in December 2011 and created a partnership for Children of Bungoma's prosperity while Nikki returned to the United States. Daniel's current role, as the Education Director, allows him to work directly with local schools to provide education for the boys.
Nikki Reising started Children of Bungoma in January of 2012. During her time at Indiana University, Reising studied abroad in El Doret, Kenya. After leaving the program, she ended up in Bungoma where she met the boys on the streets and became a mentor and caring adult in their lives. In May 2012 Reising graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Non-Profit Management and the Undergraduate Volunteer of the Year Award. After graduation, Reising moved to Bungoma to make Children of Bungoma her full-time job.
Jeremy Gotwals has been part of Children of Bungoma since June 2012. After successfully starting his own business at Holon Publishing, Gotwals has been a great addition to Children of Bungoma in providing guidance and ideas for fundraising, raising awareness, and working with other locals and businesses.