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Häuser für Waisenkinder e.V.

Our project 'Houses for Orphans e.V.'

This is a pilot project in the Siaya region in Kenya. It comprises an orphanage consisting of four small housing units, a school for 320 students as well as a training centre, all built in clay building technique.

This pilot project is developed jointly with Mbaga Orphaned Children's Centre (M.O.C.C.), our local project coordinator. M.O.C.C. is responsible for managing the course of events on-site, takes care of the preparatory phase of construction and provides structures for the children's daily lives. The project is supported by the local population and by administration authorities.

Prior to project initiation we cooperated with M.O.C.C. in evaluating extensive research about the demand for housing space for orphans. We visited several orphanages near and far, and what we found were usually insufficient conditions. There is not a single orphanage within 40 km of the town of Siaya. We spoke to the mayor, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health and Gender, the Council Commissioner, the District Commissioner as well as the Governor, giving them a report about our visits to the families and the precarious housing and educational situation in the countryside. The Minister of Health and Gender confirmed that the project region was in desperate need of an orphanage and a school. Local government under Governor Cornel Rasanga Amoth is in support of the project; in February 2014 it assigned a suitable plot of land to M.O.C.C. at no cost.

A total of 22 members of various occupations support Heiko Wäsche, Chairman of the Board, in volunteering at the charity. Our guiding principle is the idea of fostering a cooperative partnership at eye level with our partner M.O.C.C. and of maintaining sustainability throughout the project - in social, ecological and economic terms.

In building the urine diverting toilets we cooperate with the 'Engineers Without Borders' organisation and receive support from the companies 'Solar World' and 'Wefers Gebäudetechnik GmbH'.

Traditional clay building technique

Let us give you a brief look into this technique, which is exemplary. We want to bring back to life traditional clay building techniques in order to promote a more ecological future. Currently, clay buildings in Kenya are built using unfired clay, which is not sufficiently protected from rainwater. This means that the clay erodes within a fairly short period of time. Normally, clay bricks would have to be fired, which would go along with a further reduction of the precious and scant resource of wood when forests are managed in an unsustainable way.

People in West Africa use what is called the rammed earth building technique. Our project helps transfer this clay building knowledge from West to East Africa. The material used is unfired clay. Firewood for burning is not required. The clay is available in abundance on site and can easily be sourced, which helps keep construction costs low.

The clay building technique, reactivated and improved, enables the construction of affordable and sustainable houses. It is particularly the poorer part of the population that will benefit from the opportunity of building affordable houses. This is what makes our project exemplary.

Target Groups

The group homes will accommodate orphans from the Siaya region aged 0 to 14 years whose parents died from AIDS. We want to give these children a home in which they can grow up in a loving and sheltered environment and where they find favourable learning conditions in order successfully graduate from school. The children have two dedicated contact persons to bond with (qualified social worker or educator) and learn to live a structured life. They attend the affiliated school and have a safe home which gives them room to grow up sheltered and develop their own personality.

Our second target group are another 320 children who live with their parents or foster families and don't attend school at all or only sporadically, for various reasons. They either have to help with agriculture to secure the survival of the family, or they don't find a place at the overcrowded local school which usually holds 80 students per class. Other children have to cover very long distances of up to two hours for one way to or from school. These circumstances endanger the successful graduation of many children. It is very often the girls who have to help at home. Enrolment rates for them continue to be lower; therefore at least half of the students that get registered here should be girls.

Aims of the Project

Significant improvement of the living conditions of 32 orphans whose parents died from AIDS. Improvement of child development in physical and mental terms through regular meals, provision of a safe and secure home, and acceptance of their personality. Boosting the confidence and self-esteem of the children in the long term through regular schooling and by living with them at the orphanage in a family context. Strengthening their resilience.

  • We contribute towards the reduction of poverty by giving children and youths a profound education. This way, we secure a sustainable future for them.

  • We help improve environmental conditions and ecological awareness, e.g. through operation of urine diverting toilets and solar energy systems.

  • We raise awareness for ecological sustainability by transferring knowledge about the rammed earth clay building technique and by offering vocational training at the training centre for this profession.