Dr Ruth Chapman from Linking Arms with Rescued Kids (LARK), came to speak to us about the work done by LARK. They are based in Kings Sutton near Banbury and support the work done by the Eldoret Children’s Rescue Centre in Kenya. LARK was set up specifically to support the Rescue Centre because its founders had a personal contact with the first Director of the Centre.
The Rescue Centre in Eldoret is a safe refuge for about 200 children and young people who have been living on the streets. Its focus is rehabilitation and it provides a safe, caring environment, health care, counselling and education – key to enabling the young people to gain independence and to grow into useful, productive members of Kenyan society. It is an exciting, challenging place, dealing as it does with children rejected by society – abandoned through extreme poverty, orphaned, and those who have run away from an abusive situation. The School has a choir and a very successful football team .
In 2009 the Trustees of the Children’s Community Society (the charity in Eldoret responsible for the Centre) signed the lease on the land occupied by the Centre plus an adjacent field – a total plot size of 20 acres. A volunteer UK architect has drawn up plans for the development of the whole site and continues to be responsible for all detailed planning. The plans involve replacing the old wooden and galvanised huts with purpose built stone buildings and developing the overall facilities. Some stages of the development have been completed including the administration building but others like the vocational training block are on hold due to lack of money.
LARK regularly supply about 2/3’s of the funding needed by the Centre as it only gets limited local funding in Kenya from a few local churches and individuals. The LARK funding contributes towards maintenance costs (food, staffing and so on) together with funding for secondary school and vocational training fees, and for special projects. Extra funding is sent for Christmas presents. June is the main local point of contact and she along with 25 staff run the Centre on a day to day basis. Dr Chapman noted that £100 pays a teacher’s salary for 1 month, there are 4 teachers at the Centre.
Over the past five years several of the LARK Trustees and others have visited the Rescue Centre to undertake voluntary work, to support the Director and staff and to ensure that the funding is being properly deployed.
The picture is from the LARK website and if you want more information on what they do go to http://lark.btck.co.uk/