Our mission is to build a society where all children receive the necessary love and care essential to survive and thrive. We aim to promote the social integration of orphaned and other highly vulnerable children in Kibera who are in urgent need of protection and access to education and other support services.
Our founding members have been collectively engaged in outreach efforts within Kibera since the 1990’s. Formally registered as a Kenyan Nongovernmental Organization in 2004, our founders met as church volunteers who came together to help elderly people in the community to combat poverty.
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic began to soar, many of the elderly people being supported were struggling to care for grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. St. Vincent’s made the decision to transition its focus to directly support children who had lost parents and assist their guardians to support and care for them.
In 2000, we established the Nursery School to provide early education, nutrition, and protection for children ages 3-7 years. In 2005, St. Vincent’s established the Rescue Centre for orphaned and other extremely vulnerable children who have experienced abuse or neglect in their homes and have nowhere else to turn. Since this time, our programs have grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of our families and community.
Kibera is one of Africa’s largest informal settlements. Residents lack basic services like electricity, running water, and health care and most are living in extreme poverty. Soaring unemployment together with high rates of food insecurity, HIV and AIDS, malaria and violence create high vulnerability among residents, particularly women and children.
Very young children are often left home unattended during the day while guardians are out seeking work, while older children may be withdrawn from school due to lack of resources or to support the family financially. Abuse and neglect of orphaned children living in extended families is common, as the burden of caring for additional children strains already limited resources.
Our work is designed to help children and families overcome these immense challenges, by creating a supportive safety net through access to education, nutrition, protection, and shelter services.
Lucy Kayiwa – Lucy or “Shosho Manyanga” (swahili slang for cool granny), has been the driving force behind St. Vincent’s work since the beginning. Lucy is the initial founder of St. Vincent’s and currently serves as Director. A Ugandan national, Lucy has over 40 years of experience teaching primary school in Kenya, dedicating her life to ensure that even the most vulnerable have access to education so they can work their way out of poverty. In 2000, she played a vital role in establishing our Nursery School program and upon retiring in 2004, set up the Rescue Centre.
Mr. Oloo has over ten years of experience working in accounting in Kenya. Currently, Mr. Oloo works in the Office of the President as an accountant. A Kenyan country national, Mr. Oloo has been involved with St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organizations work since he was in high school and has served on the organization’s Board since 2000.
Alice Wanjiru – Currently serving as the Program Administrator, Alice joined St. Vincent’s in 2013 as our Nursery School Head Teacher. Alice received her degree in Social work from Tangaza University and is a certified asa teacher in Early childhood development . A resident of Kibera, Alice is passionate about serving children in her community and ensuring they have a safe and loving environment in which to learn and grow.
Betty Egesa – Betty joined St. Vincent’s in 2017 as a student teacher in the Nursery School while pursuing her degree in social work from Tangaza University. Upon her graduation, Betty joined our play group class as the Assistant Teacher and moved into her current role as Head Teacher at the beginning of the 2021 school year.
Grace Muthanje – Grace, or “Mathe” (mother) as she is
known in our Rescue Centre, joined St. Vincent’s as House Mother
of the Rescue Centre in 2002. Grace brings an infinite
amount of love, patience, and understanding to her role, creating
a true home and family for children at the Rescue Centre.