Nakuru Hope

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10 / 10 after 19 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.nakuruhope.org

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It's really hard to put into words the amazing and life changing experiences I have had at Gabriel school over the past 2 weeks, but I am going to try my best. For years I have wanted to do some voluntary work abroad with children but never had the guts to do it. This year I just decided to be brave and go for it. I looked at many different voluntary organisations, most of them seemed expensive and didn't really stand out to me. I then spoke to a friend who recommended I got in touch with Susan to find out more about Nakuru Hope. I am so glad I did, as from the start Susan was very patient and helpful, I had many questions to ask and she was always very quick at responding to them. After speaking to Susan I quickly realised that this was the project for me and I booked my trip to Nakuru.
As soon, as I got off the plane I was collected by a taxi which had been arranged by Susan. I was then taken to the Niarobi Club Hotel, where I stayed overnight. I was collected in the morning by a man called George (the school often use George to collect volunteers.) I had chosen to visit the Giraffe park and Elephant orphanage, so George took me to visit both of these places before driving down to Nakuru, George was very friendly. As I travelled down to Nakuru we drove past some of the slums. When I saw them it hit me I wasn't at home anymore, and the slums were what many people in Africa were living in. I was fully aware that many people in Africa live in slums, and had seen them many times on T.V. But nothing can actually prepare you for seeing it in real life. When we eventually arrived at Gabriel School I remember thinking oh my god I am actually living in the slums (although I knew that was where I was going, but again nothing really prepares you for it.) When I arrived at Gabriel school I was greeted by one of the teachers. She then took me to the home stay where I was greeted by another volunteer and the housekeeper called Lucy. I was made to feel welcome from the moment I stepped through the doors of the school. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the home stay was, I was expecting it to be very basic but it had everything we needed and more.
For the first few days there was just me and one other volunteer staying at the home stay. I was very grateful for that, as it allowed me to adapt to the different culture. It took a couple of days to get over the culture shock, but I soon realised that I just had to adapt to the African culture otherwise I was not going to get the most out of my experience. Within the first day I was introduced to all the children and teachers, everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I was made to feel like part of the family from the moment I got there. Christopher (the headmaster) was also very welcoming and within the first few days he would often come by to say Hi and see how I was. As I was shown around the classrooms, the children would greet me by singing songs which made me feel so welcome.
Before I even started my trip I was certain that I would feel emotional seeing all the children (especially the ones in the orphanage.) However, I was wrong, I never once felt emotional when spending time with the children. This is because all the children seemed so happy to be both getting an education and feeling safe in the orphanage. When you hear some of the orphans stories it's no wonder they are happy to be living at the orphanage. A place they are loved and have a safe and secure place to live. All the children were so welcoming, the older children loved coming to have a conversation with you (and they spoke very good English). The younger children, also seemed to enjoy my company. They were happy just to hold my hand and just wanted affection. They also liked playing circle games with me and teaching me some of their Swahili songs they like to sing. I enjoyed spending time in the classrooms, I work in a nursery back home so it was very interesting to see how the education differs. I went into class 3 one day where the children were so happy to have me there. They were very eager to ask me questions about England. They were also very keen for me to teach them English, so I spent a short period of time teaching the English class. After that they all made me some beautiful cards which were full of lovely words; there writing and English was amazing. I also enjoyed going into the top class with teacher Gracie, she is a brilliant teacher who is full of energy. She gets the children up singing regularly and keeps the lessons fun but also educational.
I was also lucky enough to visit the farm during my time at the school, Christopher showed us around the farm which is absolutely brilliant. Whilst we were at the farm some of us were helping to build a shed for the cow they are getting, as others were helping to collect the beans ready to take back to the school kitchen. All the food grown on the farm is used to feed the children at the school. Whilst I was at the farm I got the opportunity to speak to Christopher. He was telling me all about the farm and how he hopes that one day in the future he will be able to grow enough food to feed the community as well as the school.
During my time at the school I also got the chance to take part in some home visits with Christopher and another volunteer. This experience was eye opening and really brought to light the harsh reality of what these families are exposed too. The houses we visited were not much bigger than a shed! Inside them there was often a huge mattress that was up against the wall and a small sofa and that was it. The houses were often very dark and had no light, there were usually a big family living in these houses. As we visited the families we took them food and sometimes money. The families seemed very happy to see us and were very welcoming. We walked quite a long way through the slums to visit these different houses. At that point it hit me that this is the walk the children do every day on their own to get to and from school, including the younger children. I also got the chance to go on a house clean, the mother was an alcoholic who seemed to have lost hope. Christopher and Susan wanted us to go and clean the house to show the mother that we still had hope. When we got there the house was filthy so we took everything out and began cleaning the house. The mother was nowhere to be seen and she had left her little boy all on his own, I would say he was about 5-6 years old. The mother had still not returned by the time we had finished the house clean so it was decided that we would take the little boy back to the orphanage with us, feed him and let him have a good night’s sleep. The little boy came with us happily and when he got to the school I remember just watching him as he ran around with the other children looking very happy and content. The mother did not turn up to collect him so he is now living in the orphanage with the other children and seems to be happy and has settled really well.
Christopher and Susan are two of the most incredible and inspirational people I have ever met. We need more people like them in the world as it would make it a much better place. I was lucky enough to spend time with Susan as she was at the school the same time as me, which was brilliant as I learnt so much from her. Susan and Christopher don't just look after the children and community but they also make sure all the volunteers are safe and happy. I was worried at first about not feeling safe out in the slums but having Christopher and Susan around made me feel incredibly protected. Christopher and Susan do not just want to help the children but they also have want to help their community too. Christopher often said that we need to do home visits regularly to ensure that the families are ok, he believes that by visiting the families it can help to give them hope, and show them that people do care. One of the many things I love about this organisation is that it is not just about helping the children, it is also about helping in the community. Thankfully Nakuru have Christopher and Susan, as without the amazing work that these two incredible people do the children at Gabriel’s School and orphanage would not have access to an education, or a loving and caring home. Instead they would be living in the slum somewhere with no prospects or chance of bettering their lives.
I have recently returned home from my adventures and it is proving hard to adjust back into normal everyday life. I never thought I would say this but I am missing the slums and cannot wait to return next year. Since returning home all I have been thinking about is what I can do to help raise money for Gabriel's School.
For anyone who was like me and felt like they could not do this experience alone, trust me you can and once you have done it will change you forever.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 12, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Leanne28
Age:
28

Comments

Hello Leanne, Thank you for this review… not only ws it fun to spend time with you and you wonderful accent… but also to show you that at times we are all scared to make that jump, but you did… and how wonderful was it for you? .. and for our children. I only hope that when you return I will be there as well.. Keep jumping into life, you have the courage now.. and trust me it wont let you go.

I am so thrilled that there is a site that you can actually say how you're volunteering was so that others can see for themselves, I didn't have this when I was searching for a volunteering experience, I wish I did.
I spent just over 5 weeks at the most amazing school and orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya called Gabriels, which is Nakuru Hope's centre and it's amazing!
Right from the beginning when I finally came across Nakuru Hope through Google and sent an enquiry which actually went to the founder of Nakuru Hope, her name is Susan Saleeba, within a day I got back everything that I needed to know, what I was going to do, where it was, what the costs were and all that information that you just want straight away because you can't wait to go.
I emailed Susan with my concerns and there was some, like safety, diseases etc, and what I liked was that she was straight up and explained all the facts and that if my parents or friends were concerned she was available for a Skype discussion to alleviate any concerns.
I got an account of the charges, and there wasn't one for organising everything, because its done voluntarily from her office in Perth, Australia. It was great to get it early so that I could budget.
When I arrived I was met at the airport and had an overnight stay which was organised at a really interesting historical Club just over from the city of Nairobi. I was picked up the following morning and had a choice to go to the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Park, I did both, it was pretty cheap as well and glad I did as it was my first time in Africa and to see the giraffes up close as well as the elephants it was an experience. The we drove through Kenya to Nakuru, its a big town with everything that you could want, supermarkets, banks etc. We arrived at these big yellow gates and when they opened for the van all the children ran to welcome me, I was with four other volunteers from different parts of the world, I had met them at the same club overnight. The children are amazing, lots of laughter and big smiles.
My first day was a bit daunting as this was all new to me, one of the other volunteers was making her second visit. Where we would be living for the next few weeks was really great, its like a dormitory but we all have curtains plus there's is a bathroom and proper toilet, a little kitchen where we had our breakfast and dinner was prepared each night by a lovely Kenyan lady, her name was LUcy and she cleansed and looked after all of us. The days were filled with countless experiences. Working in the classroom with the kids, playing and teaching them songs. I went to the farm where they grow vegetables and it was great to see how they feed all the children with fresh vegetables like kale corn spinach and there were tomatoes going in as well. The kitchen work was fun we had a day making chapatis for all the children and talking to Josephine and Julius who work in the kitchen just talking and learning about each other. Christopher is the head of the school and orphanage and he is amazing with all the children, he comes out with funny little thoughtful sayings that make you think and understand so much more. We had plenty of time to ourselves as well but I really just wanted to stay where we were, some of us frequented the local cafe and went shopping. Its hard to sit and have a hamburger and thick shake when you know that there are so many children out in the slums that we visited that had nothing no food nothing to sleep on. Chris took us out many times to visit families of the children so that we could see for ourselves the lives of these little ones. It really is shocking but the wonderful thing that Nakuru Hope does is calls them all their family and they are right there to help whenever they can with whatever needs doing. One lady burnt her self really badly on the coals that they cook with, Chris straight away got her to the hospital, took the children into the orphanage bathed, feed them and looked after them with the staff helping so that the mother could get better. Anyway I just wanted to let others know that everyday meant something to me and I know now how important it is to help and to care about those who really don't have anything except for Nakuru Hope. I am thankful for Susan for right away helping me with my doubts and making all the arrangements and for Christopher who runs everything with the most amazing staff. I always felt safe, needed and it was very sad the day I had to leave it was like leaving my family, I hope that one day I will return what I do know is that the donations that they get really are given for the needs of the kids there is so much that is done. I hope one day you may also have an opportunity to visit and if you do I hope you too will feel at the end of your stay that you have made a difference. Its been 4 months now since I have returned to my own home, lives not quite the same now, i guess i look at things a whole lot differently. I am also hoping that when I get to Perth which is across Australia from me here in Melbourne that I will meet the most remarkable lady who began Nakuru Hope's Gabriels, she is as amazing as all that is accomplished.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 15, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
21

I first met Susan in 2010 when she was taking groups to Nakuru Hope to volunteer. My timetable that year did not allow me to go but I kept it in mind as I was impressed by Susan's passion and commitment. I visited Nakuru Hope in August 2014 for 3 weeks and was surprised by my experience.
The school had opened at the beginning of the year and Susan, her son and daughter had an official opening mid year. I arrived for the last week of Susan's visit and was made to feel very welcome by all. The children's assembly the first morning bought tears to my eyes. I was overcome by there happiness and willingness to learn.
The home stay facilities are excellent and welcome surprise. There were a number of other volunteers who came and went while I was there and meeting and learning from them was amazing.
I helped with classes, as my background is teaching, marked exams, read to and with the students. I was impressed by the English of the 8 year old students. Helping with food twice a day and playing at break times.
Sounds like fun, there were also home visits to see where these children live. It was in a slum area after all. They manage or not on so little. Walking around the slum was no problem. An old man came and shook my hand to thank me for visiting.
I highly recommend this experience to everyone.

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 18, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Willy
Age:
58

This was my second time volunteering with Nakuru Hope. The last time I was here was September 2013 for 5 weeks. I loved it so much that I had to come back as soon as I could. So here I am again for the second time, this time for 4 weeks.
I heard about the organization through a lady back home who had been here before. She told me all about it and how the money goes directly towards the organization. I'd never even travelled before and so my mother was very worried with a lot of questions. Susan was there every step of the way helping out so much with everything and responding very quickly to our emails. It's great to have someone so caring and understanding being there to help you get everything together. I didn't get to meet Susan the first time I came but she was here this time and I'm so happy I got to meet her. She's so loving and lots of fun to be around. She definitely knows how to put a smile on everyone's face and has the biggest heart in the world doing what she does.
The volunteers now stay directly beside the school and the setup is awesome. We have a big kitchen, living room, bunk beds and two bathrooms and showers. The housekeeper, Lucy, is so sweet and does amazing cooking for us. It's really nice being with other volunteers from around the world too, experiencing it all with them.
There are so many things to be done around here that you're always kept busy as a volunteer and helping wherever needed. Not only do you get to help the teachers in the classrooms but we also do home visits about twice a week and clean houses aswell. We go with Christopher (who is in charge of everything here when Susan isn't here) and get things in town like school supplies and other necessities.
It's really amazing to me coming here and actually bringing the money that I fundraised from home and actually buying things for those in need. You know exactly how your money is being spent and that's the way it should be. A lot of other organizations that I've researched are so expensive and the money you give them is not going towards the kids or anything.
The staff here is amazing overall. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming so it's not hard to fit in.
I came back to this organization for a reason and both times I've brought friends with me who also loved it a lot. This will not be my last time here either as I plan on coming back next year aswell.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

I was so lucky to have found Nakuru Hope from this website as I had been looking forever to find the right place to volunteer. I spent 5 weeks at NAKURU HOPE'S Gabriel School which was simply amazing.
I had heard many things of other organisations that it was expensive and when you go there you still had to pay for more, this i had to admit frightened me, but one I booked with the Founder of Nakuru Hope, a really nice lady, Susan Saleeba, I was taken through each step and they don't charge you to volunteer like so many do. Ofcourse I had to pay for my airfare and accommodation but thats normal. My accommodation was great, and meet other volunteers that really enjoyed being there with the kids, who are just adorable. I suppose the best part of volunteering with Nakuru Hope was that it is very hands on, we visited families in their own homes, helped them by getting food, water and even helped in making their little rooms more liveable, i am just amazed still with all that we could do, we just weren't shoved in the back of a classroom, we were made to feel that we could make and difference and by the end of my 5 weeks stay i really felt that i had.
Christopher is the head of the school and works with you in the home visits, he is such a wonderful person, very caring and you can see that he really appreciates all that you do. The teachers are great and welcomed us into help in the class rooms if we wanted to. I liked helping in the kitchen to get the lunches ready for the children, for some its the only meal that they get to eat during the day.
All in all, i am thankful to Susan for all the tireless work that she has done, she began in a little school and now through lots of hard work has a school full of children that have a future, an amazing person, and i got to meet her as she came to Kenya the day before i had to leave. Great sense of humour. I will definitely be back I have to go back as i made so many friends, and saw that all its really true on their website that the money donated goes direct to the many needs of the children and families. I saw this myself, which is amazing nowadays with so many organisations that take money out for big advertisements etc. Susan's work is all voluntary, she has invited me to visit her in Australia and I just might do that one day but not before I come back to Nakuru Hopes school and families. check out the website www.nakuruhope.org

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 19, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: nakuru
Age:
24

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