What is Bala? The
Bala Mercy Orphanage and Children’s Centre exists to love
and care for the children, providing food, clothing, an
education and medical care as they have no-one else to
look after them. The Centre, located near Homa Bay in
South-Western Kenya, currently looks after around 410
children from the surrounding area, a number of whom were
street children. Most of them are placed with local families –
this is the Kenyan orphanage model. The Centre is a source
of real, practical help and support for these children,
and it provides pastoral care to nurture the children and
make up for what their parents can no longer give.
Where is Bala?
The Centre is 175 miles from Nairobi, the capital of
Kenya, and Homa Bay, the nearest major town, is 15 miles
away, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Seasonal flooding
periodically makes the local roads and tracks impassable
which brings communications to a halt.
It is 15 miles NE
of Homa Bay, 40300 Kenya
Where do the children come from?
Bala serves a catchment which is defined by how far
the children can walk – up to 12 miles. This area is
rural and has no towns, but is densely
populated by families living in settlements in the
bush. The main activity is subsistence farming.
founder, Bishop Dominic Ochoo, who started taking children
into his home in 2000, is a man of great integrity who
commands respect from all who know him. He has a great
love for the children, and has a very practical focus on
what Bala is trying to achieve, and
how the children can fulfil their potential.
Bishop Ochoo says:
|"We intend to
help these orphans who otherwise would have little
hope for the future. We have the will, but need the
funds to help us provide the basic necessities and
to develop a long-term solution and to enable the
orphanage to become self-sufficient."
Bishop Ochoo is well
qualified to provide the day to day administration of the
orphanage but project finances will be administered in the
UK. Professional advice will be sought to ensure the best
options are provided, be it for building, farming,
vocational training, or education aspects.
Current work at Bala Education is at
the centre of the work at Bala. The primary school is staffed by a
headteacher and twelve fully trained teachers. Schooling
starts at age 3-4 years of age. Most of the children only
speak the local languages, Luo and Kiswahili, at this
stage. They stay until age 14 when most of them take a
national exam to enable them to go on to secondary school. Children are
taught all the usual subjects in English. The school aims
to provide uniforms for the children, plus two meals a
day. The pastoral care side of Bala is vitally important,
and two pastors provide daily care for the children. There
is close, ongoing liason with the families with whom they
live. The Centre is a
Christian-run establishment: there are church services on
Sunday, and the curriculum includes Bible study. Bala is a
well-organised, professionally-run establishment,
providing quality education. The school is registered and
regularly inspected; careful and detailed records are kept
for each child who attends.
Stop Press We are excited that
Burt’s Crisps are very kindly supporting Bala by putting
our details on the back of one flavour of crisps from 1st
March, 2012 for six months and also donating 1p for every
packet sold. We will let you know which flavour is chosen.
Buy Burt’s Crisps!
Planned projects There are a number of
planned projects which will develop the capacity and scope
of the Bala Children’s Centre:
See how to help page for more
How you can help
The children and staff at Bala badly need
your support. There are two ways in which you can support
the work at Bala:
Become a sponsor.
Just £15 a month supports a child at Bala – food, clothing
and education. Sponsorship support is particularly
valuable to Bala as it provides the Centre with regular
income for everyday provisions and running costs.
development plans. A donation of £50, £100 or much more
makes a real difference to what Bala can do for the
children in its care. Bala needs enlargement and
development to enable the Centre to look after the
increasing numbers of children, and to offer them more
facilities and resources to help them reach their
potential. These projects cannot be paid for out of
regular income, so project donations make a real
difference to the quality of provision at the Centre.
Facts of Life for
Children in Kenya. There are now over
2,500,000 orphans in Kenya. Almost 25% of the population
live on less than $1 a day. 10-30,000 children are caught
up in the sex trade. Only 15% of under 5s have a mosquito
net. Many children suffer with repeated attacks of malaria
which is debilitating and can be fatal, especially for a
Visits A team go
out to spend time with the children and staff at least
once a year. It will also be possible for gap-year
students and others to stay at the centre. If you might be
interested, please get in contact.
To donate to
Bala Orphanage please complete the
Gift Aid form.
For more information,
please feel free to
or view our
information leaflet online.
Every penny you give goes to Bala
Bala Orphanage Registered Charity No.