The Footprints' Journey
A world of imbalance of wealth and opportunity...
How we began...
Our Founder, Kerry Watson first visited Kenya as a working volunteer in 2007. Moved by her experience she soon returned and spent 3 months living in the local community, witnessing many horrific situations where children had been orphaned, neglected or abandoned.
Kerry was inspired by their resilience and will to survive, but realised the lack of resource the Kenyan government had to support them. She had a vision to help and provide opportunities that would make a positive difference in their uncertain lives. As an adopted child herself, she also empathised with the difficulties these children faced, not knowing their biological roots.
Kerry was humbled and overwhelmed by the community’s relentless, hardworking daily life without electricity and clean running water and their efforts to find food to feed their families.
Early in 2008, she purchased an acre of land in the rural village of Majimboni, at the foothills of Shimba Hills.
Her vision and mission was to build a home that could cater for not only the most basic needs of food, clean water and clothing but that could also provide care, security, stability, happiness and above all, a sense of belonging to a family; something every child deserves.
Kerry came back to the UK, set up the charity which became The Footprints Family Charity and took on the huge task of raising funds to make a difference out in Kenya.
With the belief and support of friends, family, 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 Mama Kerry's Place.
On the 20th April 2010, Footprints opened and welcomed its first five children.
A Message from Mama Kerry
Our greatest achievement despite the relentless challenges, is the progress of the children and young adults we have cared for and nurtured academically and emotionally. Your support and the efforts on the ground in Kenya have ensured that every young person under our care has not only survived, but is now on a pathway with the skills to build an independent life.
Water is life...
With the support of the Rotary, an onsite borehole was installed to serve Mama Kerry's Place, providing clean and safe drinking water. UK fundraising activities enabled the extension of the local mains power supply, providing electricity.
The site is located deep in a rural area of the Kenyan bush in Shimba Hills, so transport is vital. Over the years, generous donations have funded the purchase and maintenance of vehicles including a school bus, which today collects children daily from the surrounding community and returns them after school, free of charge.
As the size of the Footprints Family has grown, so has the food bill! Sustainability is a key focus, so growing food and producing milk is important. Children are taught farming techniques, they work on and develop the onsite shamba (allotment) providing fresh vegetables and care for the cows. Not only does this reduce the shopping bill, but it helps develop important life skills the children can carry into their future.
Today as Principal of the charity and Director of the Early Years’ Academy, Kerry still works tirelessly raising funds and coordinating the 3 programmes in Kenya, keeping her vision alive.