High school hosts Kenyan fundraiser

Leaside High School recently hosted a fundraiser for Mully Children’s Family (MCF), a home and school in Nairobi, Kenya for abused and abandoned children.

At the Nov. 9 gathering, they sang traditional Kenyan songs to raise awareness of homeless children in the African nation. The funds raised increase their ability to do outreach in the community, where they currently employ 600 and provide food and shelter for over 2000 children.

Dickson Mulli, MCF head of missions and son of the organization’s founder, said the children are an investment in the future. The school has programs to help children become strong leaders and self-reliant citizens of Kenya. Along with their formal education, they learn ethics, sharing and how to avoid vices such as corruption.

“Some are already in government now, some are already in a private practices,” Mulli said. “When you teach them all these things and godly principles, it helps to bring up better leaders.”

Lydia Akinyi’s parents died of HIV/AIDS when she was just eight years old. She, her twin sister and younger sister were left homeless and starving.

“My relatives ran away from us because in Kenya if your parents die of HIV/AIDS, you are seen as a curse,” she said.

Akinyi’s grandparents took her and her sisters into their home. She said that her grandparents were old and poor, and that she and her sisters would go many days without food. The family lived in a mud hut with thin walls and little protection from the elements.

Akinyi’s twin sister died in 2001 from malnutrition. While she mourns her loss, Akinyi said she is blessed now that MCF has taken her and her remaining sister in. She said she’s grateful to the Mulli’s for giving her hope, as well as love, clothes and a safe home. Akinyi said she now sees a future and the possibility of a successful life for herself and her sister.

“When I finish high school I’d like to go to university to be a doctor,” she said. “I want to go back and help my family in any way I can. And even go back to my community and help them. They rescued me and my younger sister in 2001 and I really thank god so much.”

MCF takes in street children, child labourers, child prostitutes and sexually abused children. The school provides rehabilitation through education, a tuition program for the students who are accepted to college, and free healthcare. Its recreation and development program has character-building activities such as art, dance, music, soccer, acrobatics and karate.

Esther Mulli, known to the children as Mommy Esther, is a midwife and helps pregnant children deliver their babies. During the day, she watches and cares for the newborns so their mothers can focus on their studies. As a newlywed she cared for her husband’s siblings briefly.

“These kids reminded me of when I was younger, how I didn’t have shoes,” she said. “I think god was preparing me for the big task of taking care of these children.”

Dr. Charles M. Mulli, also known as Daddy Mulli, was abandoned by his parents at the age of six, and founded MCF 20 years ago. His son, Dickson Mulli, said that once, local homeless children stole his dad’s car. He wanted to help the children, but soon forgot about his car and the homeless children who stole it. One day Mulli’s dad thought he was sick and started to drive home from work. Instead he drove for hours. Mulli said his dad parked the car and began to cry.

“He tried to forget about it and just let it go,” Mulli said. “But he remembered how he was homeless once too. It kept bothering him and he said he heard a voice telling him that he had to help the children.”

Mulli was three years old when the first child entered his home. He was very confused and uncomfortable with the idea of living with homeless children. He said the more children that entered the house, the more luxuries he lost.

“We had all this money but (dad) kept on using it on the children and he sold off all his assets,” Mulli said. “We lost the cars, the chauffeur, and now I had to share a van with all these kids who I did not know.”

But Mulli said his parents were a great support. He said his parents’ guidance made him realize the importance of helping these children. Today, Mulli raises awareness of the problems in Kenya and hopes the Mully Children’s Family will help create a better future.

“I was about ten when I understood that my parents were doing something important,” Mulli said. “The only bright future is in investing in the children and guiding them.”