The story so far
Back in 2009 Laura Scott plucked up the courage to get involved with some volunteer work through an organised programme. The programme she enrolled on involved living and working in the infamous Kawangare slum just outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Everyday duties included helping out in a rural clinic called the Wema Clinic working under the direction of Dr Guto (George). The residents of Kawangare live in extreme poverty and many cannot afford food or a home let alone medical treatment. Dr George provides an opportunity for these people to get treatment for very little if any fees at a cost to himself. Dr George gets paid a very small amount of money for working long hours. His home and family are 5 hours West in a town called Kisii, he lives in Kawangare so he can help people living in poverty.
Whilst in Kawangare Laura lived with Pastor George and Pastor Regina and their family. They run an orphanage by the name of Grace’s Care Centre, providing a home for 50 – 60 children, as well as a school for the orphans and other deprived children living in the surrounding slum known by Lighthouse Grace Academy. The orphaned children sleep 2/3 per mattress on bunk beds 3 stories high. The rooms are small but have proved lifesaving for many of the children who would otherwise have no home food or education and destined for a life on the streets of Nairobi.
Laura returned home and since 2009 she has raised over £50,000 and has regularly returned to Kenya with the funds to ensure it is used on the projects it has been intended for. All the money has and will continue to be spent on the projects (all flights and other costs are self funded by the volunteers going), it is used to directly buy materials, services etc for projects. Some of the projects which have been completed at Wema include; buying and importing an ultra sound and probes from China, floor and wall tiling, painting and putting privacy curtains in the entire clinic to help reduce infection and improve privacy, installing a well for running water and a septic tank for toilets and sinks, putting vents in the Dr’s room and waiting room, sourcing a new incinerator and a new maternity bed. This year the kitchen and dormitories at Grace’s Care Centre (an orphanage/school) were painted throughout, new ceilings have been put in the dormitories and the orphaned children have been treated to a pizza night. In Kisii this year Laura led a team of volunteers from the UK to provide free medical testing, assessment and treatment for over 5000 people within 6 days at Kisii medical camp which was an initiative by Laura/Patchworking Against Poverty. During the camp 5 orphans were re-homed and a sponsorship programme has been put into place to ensure their safety, well being and education over the coming years.
Support has been overwhelming, so much so Laura founded Patchworking Against Poverty as a UK registered charity on 19th November 2012, our registered charity number is 1149806.
Where we work
Wema Maternity Home & medical clinic, Kawangware, Nairobi. It has 10 beds in 2 very basic wards and 4 qualified nursing staff. It treats 120 patients per day and is run by the incredibly dedicated Dr George Guto.
Kawangware is the second largest slum in Nairobi the population is not known but estimated vary from 200,000 to 800,000.
Grace’s Childrens Home, Kawangware, Nairobi
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Maai Mahu.
Kisii Town Childrens Home, Kisii, Western Kenya
Kisii area (Borabu district) in Western Kenya highlands tea growing region
Year on Year summary
Laura’s first trip to Kena as a volunteer with an established volunteer agency. Here she worked with the Wema Clinic, Graces Care Centre and the IDP camp.
Laura returns the Kenya independently, with a paramedic colleague, having raised funds to buy a new untrasound scanner to the Wema Clinic. Laura raised 100% funds and arranged purchase and import direct from China.
Supporting Graces Orphanage
Work in IDP camp – cementing a library floor and piping water to a school. Purchasing remaining plot of land to give a group of families land ownership and security.
Laura took 6 RAF leadership cadets (in conjunction with the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation) to Kenya
Renovations at Graces Orphanage, Nairobi
Wema Clinic – a new centrifuge installed and tiling the floors to help with infection control and cleanliness.
With 24 NHS paramedics, nurses, and other volunteers and 7 RAF leadership cadets
Wema Clinic – extensive remedial work carried out to prevent its closure by the Health Ministry including – running water via a well, a septic tank, a fitted toilet and sinks, a new maternity bed, an incinerator and privacy curtains. The clinic was painted throughout, and wall vents fitted to prevent the spread of TB
Grace’s Care Centre – the boys and girls dorms were painted along with the kitchen. New ceilings were put up in the dorms – the previous ones were falling down, new school exercise books and equipment.
First Medical clinic held in Kisii. 4-5000 patients treated in 6 locations over 6 days. These are primary care medical services with local (paid) medical staff. Services include nurse triage, doctors, dispensing pharmacy, laboratory (HIV, malaria, STD etc tests), dentist (extractions), opticians
Logistic arrangements include 4 wheel drive safari buses, drug stocks, security guards, catering, volunteer accommodation (tents)
Four children from a disadvantaged family 1 orphaned child disabled with polio re-homed in Kisii childrens home and funding sponsors for each child in UK established.
Late 2012 Laura founded a dedicated charity to support her work – Patchworking Against Poverty.
24 NHS staff and other volunteers and 6 RAF cadets
Wema Clinic: Shipping container installed and fitted out ready for xray machine at clinic. Running water (from well), shower and indoor toilet. New laboratory fridge bought.
Graces Care Centre: Avoided government closure due to the kitchen being re-tiled and a stainless steel work top bought, they can now open the high school with desks and 45 chairs purchased by PAP and JTYAF in time for the new school year starting
Kisii: Second medical camp held. 4-5000 patients treated in 6 locations over 6 days. 11 Patients sent for (paid) cataract operations.
Kisii Childrens Home: New shoes for all 80 children. New wheelchair for Brian (sponsored polio boy).
No travel to Kenya due to UK F.O. advice against travel that year. Fundraising activities continued throughout year.
10 NHS staff and volunteers from UK travelled to Kenya
Wema Clinic – X ray machine and processor installed and comissioned. New incinerator, barbed wire security fence, replaced stolen water pump, pumped out and painted outside toilets.
Graces Orphange – 50 new mattresses provided for 100 children Pizza night for children.
Kisii Childrens Home – the number of children housed had increased from 80 in 2013 to 138. We arranged from the field fundraising in UK to purchase 15 bunkbeds and 30 mattresses. Brian (polio victim) is now walking after sustained rehabilitation by staff.
Kisii Medical Camp – 2500 patients seen in 6 remote locations over 6 days. One 6 year old girl presented with a congenital heart defect living in desperately poor rural circumstances. Travel and diagnostics arranged in Nairobi for her and a specialist charity to fund heart surgery found. On return to UK successfully raised outstanding balance of £ 2000 (10%) to enable surgery to take place. 9 Cataract operations for patients funded locally. In the 2013 medical camp we identified a major need in the rural Kisii region for sexual education and awareness (rape and domestic abuse are not uncommon). In 2013 the first women’s talks and clinics were held (and a school talks). In 2015 this was continued with notable success in particular how local staff had continued the work PAP had started in 2013.
Laura visits Kenya early 2016 and visits the 6 year old girl with heart defect and her family and the sponsored children at Kisii childrens home.
Our fourth medical camp saw 3292 patients in 6 days. Some heartrending stories made this camp it an emotional rollercoaster for many.
A visit to the Kisii childrens home was made to handover the sponsorship money and enjoy time with the children. Each year there are so many more there and they are so overcrowded and short of funds on a day to day basis.
Thanks to the amazing charity Chain of Hope our little girl with congenital heart defect was given a place at the Madgi Yacoub Heart Centre in Aswan, Egypt. Professer Yacoub and his team successfully completed the major heart procedure and she returned home just before Christmas. Read more in our Case Studies page.
Planning the next medical camp for March 2019.
The fifth medical camp ran successfully in March 2019. Key Data: Patient Attendances: 3300; Cataract Surgery (at Kisii Eye Hospital): 97; Surgical Removal of Tumours: 13; Glasses dispensed: 800; Cervical Smears: 260; Diabetic Patients sponsored (3 months): 8; Sickle Cell Anaemia Referrals: 2; Dental Extractions: 440; HIV Positive Tests: 8; Malaria Positive Tests: 0.
A visit to the Kisii childrens home was again made to handover the sponsorship money and enjoy time with the children. We were impressed and delighted to see so many improvements to the general care and infrastructure being made under the new home manager. Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Lincoln Colonia we commissioned the repair of bunk beds for 80 children. We also commissioned the repair of the site well.
Later in 2019 we heard that our little girl with congenital heart defect, who we had seen in a healthy and active condition in March, was seriously ill. Working with Chain of Hope in London and our local colleagues we arranged urgent transfer to a specialist hospital in Nairobi. She is now slowly recovering in the main public hospital.