Newsletter April 2023

News from Kisumu

 – Isa in Kisumu 

– St. Clare children day care 

– Therapy: NHIF

 – Urusi: New Year’s celebration / start of competition 


 – Book fair ceremony

 – New stuff 


– 15 April 2023: Confirmation Langenboom 

– May/June 2023:  three-day walk Langenboom 

– 6 April 2023: Changemakers Day Heerbeeck College 

News from the board

 – Board visits Kisumu

 – Amara is looking for volunteer(s)

 – Amara celebrates 15th anniversary in Kenya

Hey, I’m Isa and I could  to Kisumu with Aunt Lisanne!! What I expected in advance? Very little actually…… What was it like? Indescribable ……  The road from the airport to our stay looked like a movie. People with all kinds of things on their heads, pots, fruit, whatever And everywhere motorcycles, cars and buses milling about. Aunt Lisanne showed me from different sides what it’s like in Kisumu. For example, we walked with Ayub through the slums near our house and also went for a more chic meal in a rooftop restaurant with a view of Lake Victoria and the city of Kisumu. The differences were enormous.  Together with Aunt Lisanne I went to all projects of Amara Foundation. I was present at many conversations and played football at Urusi football club. What impressed me the most were the visits to the children of St. Clare. All with their own worries, but always with a smile throughout the day. How helpful they are to each other and how hard they try at school. They always did their best to achieve what they wanted, even if it was the smallest of things. For example, some of them couldn’t speak English, which didn’t stop them from making contact with me. They just figured out how to visualise it or re-say it so many times and point to things that I understood anyway. I hope they will all maintain that determination so that they achieve as much as they want.

The last few days have been quite difficult. After 6 weeks in Kisumu, I know that I am leaving, that I am going back to my life in the Netherlands. Where I can eat anything I want, go out with friends and whatever you can think of. And they stay in the same routine, have such a different life. I would love to give them all the opportunities I have. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I always thought they overdid it in movies, but everything turned out to be the reality anyway. I now look at Kenya with different eyes and how beautiful everything is in Kenya. The differences are still hard to realise but I do know how well-off we are in the Netherlands and that we can really appreciate that a bit more than we often see as normal. I hope to go back to Kenya sometime anyway! It was amazing!! Isa.

Care: St. Clare children

Arriving at St. Clare always feels very familiar. Sister Lucy, Sister Dorothy, many staff members, teachers and also a number of children have been familiar for years. Now, after more than three years of not visiting St. Clare, there were only a few children I, Lisanne, still know. (The reintegration policy is aimed at children from 9/10 years old living with family again, so in three years many children have moved in with family.) The group of children consists of 21 at the time we arrive. The youngest child is almost 3 years old, there is an 11-year-old child, the other children are between 3 and 9 years old. In the week that we went home again, three more children (brothers) were born.  The policy at St. Clare remains aimed at taking care of as few children as possible in the 24-hour care. This only if there is really no other way. Unfortunately, these situations are common, especially now that things are also getting worse economically. The government in Kenya is in favour of this policy, but there is no financial support from the government to implement it. There is regular consultation, regional and national, to raise this issue. So far, however, without result, unfortunately. The stories of a number of new children are truly harrowing. Sister Lucy discusses the problems with us and asks if we can possibly provide extra help in a number of situations. We will have to talk about this as a board. During her stay, Isa organised a campaign among friends and acquaintances for extra school materials, school uniform, sweater, socks, shoes and underwear. It was great to be able to realize this. Thanks to all sponsors! We enjoyed the pleasant moments with the children, but it was also nice to be able to discuss the daily worries about children, organization and future.

Therapy: NHIF 

Will you also support a family with an NHIF card in 2023?! Mom Clinton, Mom Steve and Mom Lavine thanked us for paying the NHIF health insurance. They ended up in the hospital recently because they were seriously ill and could no longer stay at home. A few situations were touch and go. Full of emotion, she told us that without insurance they would not have been there. Fortunately, they are now doing well again due to the right surgery and medication. And that for €60,- per year! With this amount, the whole family is insured! From 1-1-2019, Amara Foundation pays for all therapy children and their families a so-called NHIF card, a health insurance for the whole family. For € 5.00 per month / € 60.00 on an annual basis, a whole family is insured.

For parents, brothers and sisters:

 – hospitalization is paid

 – research into malaria and malaria medication is free – NHIF reimburses 50% of the costs for operations 

– medication present in the local hospital is reimbursed, etc. 

The therapy costs in the JOOTRH hospital in Kisumu are also reimbursed. All children who participate in the Therapy Project receive therapy there during the school holidays. Any contribution is welcome.   (PayPaymentRequest ( Learn more about NHIF…)

Sport Urusi  New Year’s celebration and start of competition

 It was so great to see everyone from Urusi sports club again, to speak to the board and trainers and to attend the training sessions! We were already hot from doing nothing and yet the training continued. Fortunately, the trainers did take extra drinking breaks. Lisanne and Isa’s first meeting with Urusi was right during the big New Year’s party which had really been well-organised. It’s great that it’s really a party for the children of the club many of whom are from poor families.  They ate and danced. Isa was taught the latest dance moves and was therefore immediately initiated at the football club. For the food that remained, the neighbourhood was also invited, they were very grateful for the food they were allowed to take home. The real sense of community! And even more good news, finally the youth league will start again in April. The trainers are really looking forward to it. In the next newsletter we hope to write more about this.


 Book fair ceremony: 

Thanks to many volunteers all the best books were sorted by category again and offered to all visitors from 13 to 15 January. What a wonderful event it was again this year. Nice to see that browsing and reading in “real” books still attracts so many people. Wednesday 22 March we received the nice amount of € 750 during the meeting from the organization Vincentiusvereniging ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Everyone who contributed to this: you are really the best!

During our visit to Kenya in January / February we were able to bring many beautiful handmade products to the Netherlands. By buying these products we support the people there. With the proceeds from the sale we pay for our projects again, so that an even larger group of people is supported in Kenya. There are new models of cards, angels and napkin rings


15 April Confirmation Langenboom

The participating children were told about the projects of Amara Foundation on 2 March. The money collected from the children and the collection during the Confirmation Service will be a donation to us.  

30-31 May and 1 June Walking three-day Langenboom: 

Walk along in 3 different routes through Langenboom. Raise money in advance for our projects and pay € 5, – registration fee, with which you support us.  

 6 April Changemakers Day Heerbeeck college Best:

 Some students will commit themselves to Amara Foundation. Board member Evelien promoted us in January by telling us about our projects. We wish all students a lot of success and fun and look forward to the result!

Board visits Kisumu

 We had big plans, which we already announced in the previous newsletter. After five years, we as a board will spend a few weeks together again in Kisumu. Unfortunately, the trip for Maria was cancelled at the last minute. Regrettable, both  for Maria and for us. Lisanne is in Kisumu for six weeks with her niece Isa, Carmen and Evelien will join them for the last two weeks.  Our “family in Kisumu” is very happy to welcome us back. We are very proud to see that hard work is done in all projects. We meet enthusiastic, hardworking people with their hearts in the right place.

During this period we visited all projects and talked extensively with the managers, employees, parents, therapists and children. Of course, we talk about the past period, but we also look to the future and receive many new requests for help for the coming period. We can quickly make a decision on some requests for help together. Nice for us but certainly nice for the person who asks for and receives help.
Livelihood has become much more expensive. Many families have greater financial problems. Where our contribution to paying school fees was sufficient, it now appears that the remaining payment is no longer possible for a number of parents. Several mothers turn to us for help. Where possible, we have provided (extra) support. In addition, we have provided two new loans for business to mothers whose child participates in the therapy project. For one mother, it means the start of a shop where she will sell grain and corn. Another mother gets the opportunity to revive her fish business. We wish both of them every success. We have already received news from both women that trade has already started. Top!

Other requests for help, which come with a larger price tag or more complicated requests for help, we take home to talk about in detail.   What a wonderful visit it was to our “second home”!

Amara is looking for a volunteer(s) 

We are looking very hard for a volunteer who has knowledge of wheelchairs and positioning!  Five years ago this month, Lars Rutjes went to Kenya for us to repair the wheelchairs of the multiple handicapped children of our project therapy. Lars left the Netherlands for Kenya with pieces of cloth, tools and all kinds of fixation materials. He stayed there for three weeks and during that time he got to know the children, measured the children and worked with the wheelchair undercarriages of the local APDK. These are sober, but solid wheelchairs. Lars had padding material made in collaboration with Pius, a furniture maker and George, a welder and tinkered for a few weeks to get the wheelchairs completely in order. Now all the children have grown and the padding parts have worn out, but the condition of the undercarriages is still good enough. Are you the person who can and wants to do what Lars has done for us and all the children?! Let us know: 

What is needed:

– a volunteer who works with a hands-on mentality to rebuild the wheelchairs.

– a volunteer who can give training on “sitting and positioning” to all therapists in the hospital of Kisumu and the caregivers.

When the wheelchairs are in order again they must remain in the same condition and it is important that the children are also properly positioned in the wheelchair. Transferring this knowledge to multiple therapists and caregivers is therefore of great importance. At the time, Lars also transferred his knowledge to a therapist and various caregivers, but partly due to turnover, a refresher is highly desirable. So the larger the group to whom the workshop is given, the better. Of course, this can be one volunteer who, just like Lars at the time, has all the expertise. But maybe you have one special expertise and are interested in sharing it in Kenya. That would also be very welcome!  Are you interested in helping us or do you know someone who can and wants to do this? Please let us know as soon as possible.  Do you also want to enjoy the enthusiasm with which Lars wrote about his work in Kenya? Click here for his travelogue.

Amara celebrates 15th anniversary in Kenya 

Tuesday, April 21st… the day of our big party. We celebrated the 15th anniversary of Amara Foundation. We had found a restaurant where they served good Kenyan food: goat, chicken (literally the whole chicken!) and ugali. The party started at 2 pm and yes, we had already taken into account that not everyone would be on time. Therefore, the food was not served until 3 pm. Ayub, the chairman of the football club actually came too soon: “Mzungu time” he said… big smile. The other guests were as expected, just Kenyan “on time”. It was a great party! How beautiful it is to see all our Amara family in Kenya enjoying each other and the good food. We chatted with everyone, cuddled with babies, took pictures with everyone and above all… enjoyed!

For the first time, Evelien was allowed to give a speech in her role as chairman:
Let me start by saying that we are very grateful that all of you were able to come. And we are very thankful we were able to organize this gathering to celebrate 15 years of Amara Foundation together with our Amara-family.
My name is Evelien and as the chairman of the Amara Foundation I speak on behalf of the entire board, being Lisanne, Carmen and Maria who were supposed to be here as well, but Maria sadly wasn’t able to come. And of course I also speak on behalf of Isa who started her Amara journey 6 weeks ago.
The foundation of Amara lies with Carmen and Maria. After they lived in Kisumu for a couple of months they felt they needed to support some people in Kisumu on a more permanent basis. That is why they founded Amara Foundation in 2007.
In the following three years Lisanne and I also joined the board.

We started with supporting some handicapped children and their mothers and the St Clare children’s home which was still located in the center of Kisumu. Later on we started supporting individual business people with giving out loans, whenever they had a link to our other projects and came up with a good business plan. Next to that we started to support a project which we call sport in which we support the Urusi football club of Mayatta. The last project we added are the students of the Klara Foundation. That was a Dutch Foundation which stopped existing and we agreed on proceeding to help these students.

Like many things changed in Kisumu, we also saw changes in our projects. For example, handicapped children could go to school, therapists found a great job elsewhere and children of the St. Clare children’s home were re-integrated into families. We feel these things are great developments.

Our contacts of the separate projects do very good work and we are thankful for the good way of collaboration and the trust we feel among each other. Without wanting to pass someone I especially want to thank Samoo of the therapy project, sister Lucy of the st. Clare children’s home and Ayub of Urusi football club. 

Back home we have our own families and jobs and on a voluntary basis we work to gather funds to support all our projects of the Amara Foundation. 
Just like here, the pandemic was hard on all of us and that makes gathering funds even harder in times. However, we see you and we hear you, and we try our utmost best to help you all, the best way we can. And we feel blessed because of that.

15 years of Amara Foundation is already a long time and we hope we can keep up for many more years.
May God bless you all. 

The speech says it all : we feel blessed that we can help our Kenyan family. And that’s possible thanks to you! So I want to end with a big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors.


Evelien Hommes-Romonesco – Carmen van Bergen – Lisanne Henuy-Rooijakkers 
Maria Vermeer – Martine Plantinga

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