SUSAN Saleeba never dreamed she would have legal custody of 38 Kenyan children when her charity Nakuru Hope was in its infancy 10 years ago.
But two years ago, the South Fremantle resident opened an orphanage as part of the Gabriel Learning Centre in the Kaptembwa slums of Nakuru.
Ms Saleeba, who has two grown children of her own, went through the court process to gain legal custody of the orphans, who range in age from 3-15.
Ten years after making the commitment to start a project with help from friend and now school director Christopher Makokha, Ms Saleeba is in Kenya reflecting on the past decade that has included building a new school to cater for kindy to Year 5 , starting a farm and caring for people in the community.
“My vision has always stayed the same,” she said. “I was determined to not only educate but care for a destitute community. I like looking after our families.
“My very first family was Sagina. Her mother had died and she was left alone with the body for three days, which caused her not to speak… she was four.
“We helped her father, who was a coal seller and won over her trust and eventually over three months with constant caring and counselling she began to speak.
“It reiterated that good can come out of bad.”
As well as an education, the school kids get two meals a day and their families receive medical support.
“There is never a highlight, every day is good,” Ms Saleeba said.
“Another little success during this visit was supporting one of our mothers who gave birth to her ninth child.”
Ms Saleeba said she was now anticipating the opening of a small school library that is currently under construction.
Visit www.nakuruhope.org for more information.