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We are available to give presentations by appointment at schools, businesses, churches and organisations, email or phone to request a visit.
Eagles Wings has active projects in the following countries:
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India
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Uganda
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Kenya
Siberia, Russia
Russia
  Current Eagles Wings projects
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Maternity Clinic
Nebbi, North West Ugandaspacer
Girls Home
Elburgon, Kenya
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Street Boys’ Mbarara, Uganda
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Family Centre & Clinic
Ntungamo, Uganda
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School & Medical Centre
Katwe, Kampala, Uganda
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Street Kids & Orphans
Perm, Siberia, Russia
   
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Purpose
  Emergency
Aid
  Training and
Teaching
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Eagles Wings news: UK ladies team visit Nebbi, Uganda
Eagles Wings photo gallery
The Eagles Wings photo gallery gives you a view into some of our work and projects click here

Eagles Wings project:
Girls Home Elburgon, Kenya  

The Elburgon Story – Our first girls home

Elburgon – Kasarani
Elburgon was once a thriving town based on the timber industry, of which there is little left. Environmental pressure on forests to be protected and new governmental controls forced closure of the sawmills, and literally overnight the hotels, businesses and employment collapsed. The Kasarani slum area was badly affected, and with high unemployment, conditions deteriorated for all who live there.

Kasarani is home to over 10,000 people and exudes hopelessness and desperation. Food is in short supply and people live in communal, hand-built wooden shacks with shared toilets and no clean water. There is little or no healthcare, and the region has been hit hard with HIV/Aids.

Eagles Wings Charity: We always treat the girls to a chicken dinner on our visits
Mary holding a chicken, she is currently sponsored by Knutsford Junior School, Watford

With communal living in extended families there is a high rate of sexual abuse by elder siblings and relatives to young boys and girls.

It is a common practice for young girls to earn a few Kenyan shillings by selling themselves for sex to help their starving families who may have not eaten for a few days. There is little law and order and children are highly at risk.

Eagles Wings Charity: there are 33 resident girls in the home
There are 33 resident girls in the home

Help is on its way!
The late Mary Mwangi, a bank employee in Nakuru, had seen the desperate needs and started to visit Elburgon regularly with second hand clothes and food supplies. Together with her husband Moses, they started a small initiative amongst friends to increase this assistance with an eventual dream of building a home to rescue some of the most vulnerable girls in Kasarani.

A year before their tragic death together in a car accident, they had taken Eagles Wings trustee Bruce Oliver to visit the slum and meet some of the girls and their families.

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Partnership with Mark Kariuki
With the launch of Eagles Wings as a charity in 2004, we partnered together with long-term friend Bishop Mark Kariuki to build a home for young girls in the town.

Mark was born in Elburgon and lived there as a young boy.
It was essential that we had local support and he helped us identify land, community leaders, vulnerable families, an architect, local builders and suppliers who could make the project become a reality.

Eagles Wings Charity: visits are made once or twice a year by Eagles Wings
Visits are made once or twice a year by Eagles Wings to ensure that the girls are well looked after and are progressing well

Together, we cut the turf in 2004 and we released funds given by UK schools, businesses, other charities, churches and individuals to start the building work.

 

Learning how to build an orphanage
This proved quite a challenge! Working in another country that works in cash and not credit made it difficult for us to manage and control expenditure. We had to rely on our Kenyan friends to honestly pay legitimate bills for supplies and services. Building on a pay-as-you-go basis has definite advantages for cash flow, but the escalating expenditure as we built up tested us as trustees, and our desire to keep accurate records without available paperwork was a great concern. With an initial estimate of £25,000 for the whole thing to be completed within one year, we soon realised it would be nearer £40,000 and completion in two years.

It did take us some time to resolve our cultural differences. It was nearly a year before I realised that they were building a ‘Rolls Royce’ orphanage to please me, a westerner, rather then the functional and basic accommodation I had in mind!

Eagles Wings Charity: the girls home in 2011
The girls home in 2011

Feeling that we had made good progress and had learnt a lot on ‘how to build an orphanage,’ I now look back and laugh when I arrived to officially dedicate the home, only to find that there was no waste disposal or septic tank! They had been too embarrassed to ask for more money because I had made such a fuss over the additional funds we had had to send over. The waste pipes literally went nowhere!

The final challenges concerned the Kenyan regulations for children’s homes, and stamp of approval on the use of the home to house vulnerable girls. I was presented with a multi-paged document with very demanding stipulations that would require many health and safety features. This included detailed requirements for health workers, social workers, matrons, cooking and maintenance staff, and a high security wall to be built around the facility estimated to cost several thousand more English pounds.

We are through all of this with full approval, but I was surprised at such an obstacle when literally hundreds if not thousands of children were living in such dire circumstances around our new home. I felt quite aggrieved that our genuine help should be so intensely scrutinised and onerous demands put on us.

Choosing our girls
I had not envisaged how difficult it would be to select 40 girls who were at risk and vulnerable! I stepped back from the selection process and left it to local community leaders, church leaders and families to put together the final list.

Eagles Wings Charity: Bruce presenting 'Best Footballer' award
Bruce presenting 'Best Footballer' award to one of the girls who has done well at school in Sport

Not surprisingly, we had to scrutinise each tragic story and sift out those who were being proposed only to gain from our western benevolence. I do believe, having talked this through with our current staff, that we made the right choices.

 

Decorating and running the home
One of my ambitions, for any home that Eagles Wings would build or sponsor, was that it should be a real home and not have the ‘orphanage’ stigma. On opening day we took a team of friends and supporters loaded with posters, gifts, toiletries, blankets, books and musical instruments to make the Moses and Mary Mwangi House a real ‘home’. On subsequent visits, I have seen our teddies, Disney princesses, Christmas cards and gifts treasured at the end of each bed.

We now have Rachel employed as house mum and matron, and young James is our resident social worker. The full staff team is made up of matron’s assistant, cooks and site manager. Additionally, a local church leader, Pastor John, has committed the support of volunteers from his church to help the girls and home, and a good friend, Edith Kabi from Nakuru, who looked after our own children over 15 years ago on our first visit to Kenya, is sending us regular reports on the girls and how they are all doing. Edith visits the home and relatives of all our girls and sends us email updates.

Eagles Wings Charity: Mary holding a chicken
We always treat the girls to a chicken dinner on our visits

 

Self-sufficiency
I estimate that it costs around £10-£15 per girl, per month to keep our girls home running efficiently, with a balanced diet and good social care for every individual. To help with this process and to reduce dependency on Eagles Wings funds, we purchased 5 acres of farmland about ¼ of a mile away from the home to grow our own maize, beans, carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbages. This has been highly successful, and has reduced our food bills considerably, also allowing us to sell supplies to gain funds.

Eagles Wings Charity: part of our five acre plot where we grow maize, potatoes, carrots, beans and animal fodder
Part of our five acre plot where we grow maize, potatoes, carrots, beans and animal fodder, Silas lives on site to protect the crops and manage the farm

Using the same principle, we bought dairy cows to provide milk (protein) for the girls. This has not proved so successful financially due to the high costs of feeding the cows and keeping them healthy. Milk production is variable and it is difficult to know what is a high yield cow before you purchase! However, we now have a total of five calves and cows happily paid for by three local schools in England.

Eagles Wings Charity: one of the new born calves
One of the new born calves

With an eye looking forward, we are now working on future employment at the age of 18 for our girls. We have just authorised purchase of a communal sewing machine for training, and are considering computer equipment for them on our next visit.

 

Eagles Wings Charity: new t-shirts all round for the girls
New t-shirts all round for the girls on our last visit with manicure kits, which went down really well

Final summary
This has been, and continues to be a success story. We are proud to have been part of the fulfillment of Mary Mwangi’s dream. We are indebted to the work and support of our partner Bishop Mark Kariuki and his staff, who have faithfully managed this project from conception to realisation. We have learnt so much in the process, and will do all we can to make life better for ‘our’ girls.

 

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