From Footprints Orphanage to The Footprints Family
With growth and success, change is inevitable and so for those reasons in 2020 the UK Charity amended its name to The Footprints Family, and widened its objectives to enable the charity to continue to support the children it has cared for and supported over the years, who have reached 18yrs and guide them further into a life of Independent living.
How 'Footprints' was born...
In November 2007 Kerry Watson from the UK spent 3 weeks as a community volunteer in Kwale County situated on the South Coast of Kenya, East Africa. She was shocked but immediately humbled by the community's daily struggle to survive and was especially affected by the plight of children who had been orphaned or neglected.
In January 2008 she returned to Kenya for 3 months with a vision to build a home for orphaned and vulnerable children who lacked even the most basic needs of shelter, food, medical care and education and the love and protection in a family environment.
After 3 months of researching and the realization that the Kenya government had very little resource to protect these vulnerable children, Kerry personally purchased an acre of land in the rural village of Majimboni in the Shimba Hills where she had witnessed the greatest need and where it could also benefit the local community.
Kerry came back to the UK in March 2008 and set up the UK Charity Footprints Orphanage and began single handed the huge task of raising funds to begin the constructions on the land.
With the belief and support of friends, family and local businesses, schools and churches, enough money was raised to employ local Kenyan people to begin building the first structures of what was to become The Footprints Family home.
Then Kerry was presented with immense challenges, lack of running water and electricity in the village including badly made roads which made the transporting of materials exceedingly difficult. It was during this period Kerry found the trust and support from a local Kenyan, Patrick Wanjala whom became her link and support and project managed the entire construction while Kerry was busy fundraising in the UK.
In 2009 the buildings were made liveable and Kerry gave up her working life in the UK to live in Kenya and alongside Patrick, worked with the Kenya government local community, village elders and churches to identify the most desperate children, witnessing truly tragic circumstances and personally researching each child's horrific situation and history.
A small team of caregivers, many from the local community were recruited to help Mama Kerry and Uncle Patrick, as they became to be known and in April 2010 Footprints Orphanage rescued its first 5 children, Footprints Orphanage opened its doors providing them the with care and protection they desperately needed so they could begin a childhood they could only have dreamed of.
Over the following years of continued financial support and belief in the charity Mama Kerry and Uncle Patrick have rescued over 40 more vulnerable children who have been given hope for the future.