07 Apr Faces of Children of Hope: Auntie Peninah and Auntie Petty
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.
In both of our homes, women play a very important role and are responsible for the care of our 100 kids. This is a tough job that leads Aunties from the Kikuyu and Kitalale homes to wear multiple hats throughout the day in order to create and maintain a loving home that promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of our kids. In this piece we come together to bring awareness, recognition and appreciation for the 15 incredible Aunties that help shape the leaders of tomorrow.
In Kenya, women are faced with systemic and cultural challenges including unequal representation in politics and uneven distribution of resources. To help close this inequality gap, our Aunties serve as role models for our girls and help them recognize their potential. They provide guidance and support for them to break through any glass ceilings and succeed. By encouraging them to do well in school and follow their dreams, our girls learn a large number of skills that set them up for success in the future.
What does it take to be an Auntie?
When looking for an Auntie, the one trait we look for is selflessness. It takes a very special kind of person to be able to do this job so we look for individuals that have a great willingness to give and are able to love each of our kids as if they were their own. We are incredibly grateful for the support and dedication that we’ve received from each of our Aunties that have been with us for years. From the first day that an Auntie comes into our home, they immediately start developing relationships with the kids they will care for. Two examples of the many wonderful aunties that have shown tremendous amounts of care and love from their first day are Peninah from our Kikuyu home and Petty from our Kitalale home.
Meet Auntie Peninah
Whenever there is a vacancy in either of our homes for a position as an Auntie, we start off by looking for candidates within our network and reaching out to our past volunteers. In 2018, we, unfortunately, lost one of our longest-serving and dearest Aunties to our children. With the need to fill this position, we had big shoes to fill and immediately reached out to Auntie Peninah who had previously served as the matron at the Kikuyu home. Knowing that Auntie Peninah had already connected with our kids and had a big heart, we prayed daily for her to come back.
When we finally received her call accepting the position, we knew that God had answered our prayers and we were blessed to have her warm personality and energy again in our Kikuyu home. Aside from treating the kids with popcorn occasionally, Auntie Peninah has a warm personality and heart of gold which is the reason why our kids respect her and love her.
Meet Auntie Petty
In 2015, we were fortunate enough to cross paths with Petty as we were interviewing candidates for the Auntie position at our Kitalale home. Auntie Petty immediately stood out, she was a trained community health worker and had over five years of experience in this field. With six kids of her own, she knew how to handle a household full of kids so we knew she’d be perfect for the position. Auntie Petty has been an incredible advocate for teaching our kids how to be compassionate towards others and to always extend a hand to those in need. As soon as she joined our family, she created a bond with a few of the younger boys who were struggling in school and mentored them.
Day in the life of an Auntie
Our Aunties form incredible relationships with all of our kids and are able to inspire them and push them towards success. They get to spend the most time with them teaching them life skills or playing games. In the video above, Auntie Rose is playing and singing with the kids. We love the joy and playfulness that Auntie Rose brings to our kids.
Every day, our Aunties have to wear multiple hats and engage with the kids in many ways. In the mornings, they are in charge of waking up the kids and getting them ready for school. As the kids get ready, the Aunties bathe and feed the babies and help out any other kids who may need an extra hand. Being in the front lines, the Aunties are the first individuals who are able to tell and keep the temperature for when the kids are getting sick or need additional support.
In the afternoons, the Aunties make sure all of the kids have been fed and spend some time helping with homework and their studies. Once they’re finished, depending on the weather, they would take some time and organize some sort of game for the kids to burn off some additional energy before bedtime.
Towards the end of the day, the Aunties sit down to enjoy dinner with the kids and spend some quality time connecting with each of them. One finished with dinner, the kids get some time to do their devotions, pray, sing or seek any last-minute help on their homework. During this time, the Aunties will be coming around the home starting to put some of the kids to bed and wishing them good night.
We place great emphasis on creating a strong team that cares about our children on a deeper level. We see the importance of providing strong female role models for our kids from a young age in the absence of their birth mothers. It all comes down to being more than just a children’s home. Our Aunties create a loving, safe, warm environment.
With the help of our amazing Aunties, we are raising the citizens and leaders of tomorrow. Your contribution towards the General Fund helps fund the overall care of our kids including nutrition, healthcare and education for our growing kids. Take action and be part of the change.