Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Happy Life Story, by Sharon Emecz


I came across this gem of a book written by the wife of one of my publishers. For anyone who wonders what one person or family can do to make a difference in a troubled world, this little book opens a door to possibilities. Happy Life, a children’s home in the suburb of Kasarani in Kenya, Nairobi, rescues abandoned children and finds adoptive homes for them. 

Happy Life started as the brain child of two couples: Sharon and Jim Powell in Delaware, USA, and Peter and Faith Kamau in Nairobi. Both Jim and Peter were pastors, and met through Peter’s brother who had attended a retreat in the U.S., where he met Peter. The program has a three-pronged approach: rescuing children and finding adoptive homes for them; providing a Christian based education that meets their needs according to age; and a hospital, since many of the children come to Happy Life with medical problems related to their abandonment.

The beginnings of Happy Life were small: five children in the Kamau home, 2001, but now it has expanded to two sites in Kenya – Kasarani and, close by, Juja Farm. In 2017, the combined total of children at the two sites was 101. In between those years, as children have been found, cared for and adopted out, 300 had been adopted. Since not every child gets adopted right away (some can take years), Happy Life commits to care for these children until they become adults. School now goes through high school and includes training for life skills, and at Juja Farm, the church and schools are open to the local community. They also have a garden and a bakery.

Funding depends on donations from churches, individuals, businesses, some foundations, but there is no government funding. They have a paid staff, but volunteers also come from all over the world with teaching and nursing skills, or a simple willingness to spend quality time with the children. Sponsors for individual children are also appreciated. The author discovered Happy Life on a short trip and loved the experience so much, she and her husband now spend a few weeks there each December. In his words, “These are some of the happiest children I’ve ever seen.”

The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of the children, the schools and hospital and living accommodations, and the various neighborhoods, as well as wild life preserves in visiting distance. 

You can learn more about the program and opportunities at the Happy Life website.  
You can buy the book HERE

How about you? Do you do any volunteering anywhere? Do you ever get discouraged by today's news of bad happenings and wonder if there's something you can do to help?


Elephant's Child said...

I do volunteer.
I have volunteered on a crisis line with a focus on suicide prevention for over twenty years. I also provide peer support to others with the dread disease.
And thank my parents for instilling in all of us the ethos that we have an obligation to give back to the community.
Hooray for those who support and rescue the abandoned children and give them security and hope.

DMS said...

This sounds like an interesting book- especially because it talks about what the organization does and how it was set up. Thanks for sharing. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I appreciate your comment, Elephant's Child. A friend of mine (years ago) volunteered on suicide prevention and my brother was a great supporter of the program. (He has passed on, now.) Yes,it's so important to give back to the community. Even the smallest effort can have an impact.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Jess, thanks for stopping by. The book goes into all that the organization accomplishes. It's worth visiting their site. And the kids are heart stealers. Lovely photos of everything in the book and on the website.

Rosi said...

I do volunteer. I work in the Outreach and Education department of B Street Theatre. It's fun and I am learning a LOT. This sounds like quite a book. Thanks for telling me about it.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rosi, Ah! B Street Theatre! They put on such good productions and the actors are sterling. Do you go out to schools as part of the Education? If so, what grade levels? To respond to your comment, it really is a lovely book about a lovely project.

DMS said...

You have one a copy of Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China by Sherry Ellis. :) Please email me your address and the book will be on its way.

haightjess at gmail dot com.


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DMS said...

I meant won, not one. :)