Upendo School and Children’s Home (also known as Upendo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre) is an NGO Certified orphanage and school located in the rural Murang’a East district in Kenya’s Central Province. Upendo, founded by Eunice Komotho in 1997, began as an organization that provided local needy children with food, clothing, medication, education as well as counseling. In 2002 it expanded its scope and began an orphanage for seven young girls. These seven young children ranged in age from eight months to three years old and were cared for by a house mother, assistant and a night guard. With the help of the local community, The Upendo Children’s Home was built and consisted of a dormitory and a kitchen.
Present Day at Upendo
Since 2002, Upendo has expanded to become the home of 39 orphan girls and a primary school for over 200 local children. Upendo is run by a dedicated staff consisting of a social worker, two housemothers, three farm assistants, two night guards, and 8 teachers along with a Board of Directors. Six classrooms have been constructed in addition to volunteer quarters and a water tank since 2002. Upendo’s goal of self-sufficiency reaches back to 2007 when a posho (grain) mill was purchased to allow Upendo to mill the corn they grow and to process corn for local villagers to increase revenue. The school has built a fish farm on their land to help decrease food costs while selling excess fish to the local community. Finally, additional revenue is received from the day students who are charged tuition fees (based on their family’s ability to pay) to attend Upendo Primary School.
Thirty-two of the orphans at Upendo have graduated primary school! We are proud to report that in 2017, twenty of the girls will be in secondary school. In 2016, an additional 8 Upendo orphans graduated from secondary school and are awaiting exam scores and university selection. In 2017, ten of our Upendo girls will be in college, something we never thought possible.
Upendo’s Plan for the Future
Upendo plans to continue and educate the 39 orphan girls through scholarships to secondary boarding school. These scholarships allow the girls to continue their education while learning a sense of independence that will carry them through the rest of their lives. A secondary education will allow them to escape the cycle of poverty they currently face in rural Murang’a.