Angel Centre for Abandoned Children: The people behind the angels

Angel Centre for Abandoned Children

We at Courage Stories are no strangers to the Angel Centre for Abandoned Children. If you’re new to Courage Stories, we shared a snippet of their founder’s story here, a wonderful woman called Wamaitha Mwangi. 

Wamaitha Mwangi – Founder, Angel Centre

This year, we wanted to find out a little more about the people behind the centre. And there’s nothing we could say here that could possibly capture the raw emotion we experienced listening to these people – hearing them speak of their lives, their challenges, and their loves.

So instead of telling the story from our point of view, here are their own words. 


Peter Muiruri, 23

Nilianza hapa January. Mamangu alikuwa anafanya job huku. Then last year, akapass. Mathe alifanya nao about 8 years, kutoka 2010. Wengine huja wakienda, lakini yeye alikuwa hapa.

Venye alipass, Wam alinichukua kama mzazi. Akaniajiri, juu hata sikuwa na kazi. Aliniita, tukaanza kuendelea na maisha na yeye. Ndio sasa nikaanza kazi hapa.

Hii kazi imenisaidia sana. Unajua ukiwa mtaani, hakuna kazi. Na kuna mtoi mdogo niliachiwa, so mimi ndio humwangalia.

Vile walinishikilia hiyo time ya mathe, hiyo ndio hunifanya nikae hapa. Juu walinishikilia sana. Ndio maana hata kukiwa na challenges, mimi hunyenyekea juu ninashukuru.

I started here in January. My mom used to work here. Then last year, she passed on. She’d been working here for about 8 years, since 2010. Many come and go, but she was here throughout. 

When my mom passed on, Wamaitha became like a parent to me. She gave me a job here. I didn’t have a job at the time. So she called me, and I started working here. This job has really helped me. There are no jobs back home. And there’s a child I’m looking after. 

They really looked out for me when I lost my mom. That’s why I’m still here. That’s why even when there are challenges, I stay humble because I’m thankful. 


Esther Kamau, 35

Nimekuwa hapa miaka tatu. Hapa nilianza na kuvolunteer. Nilifika huku, ndio hiyo roho ikaniingia ya watoto. Nikaona ni kama hawa watoto ni kama wale wangu tu. Nawachukua kama wangu.

Kuna wakati December tulikumbukwa. Tuliletewa presents, tukafurahia sana. Hata familia zetu zilifurahia sana. Kawaida watu hukumbuka watoto, this time tulikumbukwa.

Kuna challenges kadhaa. Kwa mfano, mimi huomba watoto wapate NHIF. Juu watoto wakingojeka, kutafuta pesa huwa vigumu sana. Saa hii, hakuna pesa yoyote, hata ya rent, hata ya NHIF.

I’ve been here for three years. I started by volunteering, and started loving the kids. I started considering them as my very own, treating them as I would my own. 

One December, we weren’t left behind in the festivities. The people who visited the kids also brought us gifts. We were elated. So were our families. 

There are a couple of challenges though. for example, I’m praying that the kids get NHIF (National Health Insurance Fund – a government-run scheme open to all Kenyans). Because when they get sick, getting money for treatment is usually difficult. Right now, there’s no money at all – not for rent, nor for NHIF.


Nyambaso Rioba, 48

Nilikuwa nafanya mambo ya ukulima. Lakini hakukuwa kinaenda vizuri. Biashara ya mahindi ilikuwa mbaya sana. Hadi saa hii, bado ni kubaya. Ndio nilikuja hapa. Hapa at least nikipata pesa kidogo, natumia watu wangu huko nyumbani.

I used to farm. But things weren’t going well. The maize business was very bad. It’s bad to this day. So I came here. At least here, I get some money, which I send to my loved ones back home.


Jane Wanjiru, 45

Nimekuwa hapa tangu mwezi wa pili this year. I like the way these children treat us. Kama mimi, sina watoto wadogo – wangu ni wakubwa. Sometimes ukikaa nyumbani, unaboeka. Hapa nikija, sina mawazo mengi. Halafu Wamaitha ametuweka vizuri sana. Mambo ya kazi ametuweka vizuri, mambo ya chakula ni sawa… Isipokuwa tu mambo ya salary.

I’ve been here since February of this year. I like the way these children treat us. I don’t have little children of my own – mine are older. Sometimes when you stay home, you get bored. But when I’m here, I’m lighter of spirit. It helps that Wamaitha treats us very well. She does everything she can to make our work easier, and makes sure we’re all eating well… The only thing that’s a problem right now is the matter of salaries. 


Susan Wamaitha, 56

Hapa niko na 1 year. Ni pahali pazuri sana. Tunapenda hawa watoto sana, ndio maana tunajitolea tu. Na hata tunaomba wengine wajitolee pia.

I’ve been here for a year. It’s a great place. We really love these children, which is why we give so much of ourselves. We pray more people are able to give – in time, in kind, and in finance. 


Esther Keya, 38

Hapa niko na 1 year 2 months. I’m a mother of 5. Niko na Form 3, Form 2, Class 8, Class 7 na Class 3.

Kukaa hapa 1 year imekuwa grace of God. Pia imekuwa a blessing to me, even to my family.

Huwa nafeel sana infants wakifika. Kuna wengi huja bado kitovu hakijakatika.
Mimi hudeal nao hawa infants. Niko hapa Monday to Saturday nikiwahudumia hawa infants. Hata kama ni Sunday, naweza kuja kusaidia kukihitajka.
Mimi at least watoto wangu wanaona mama yao na baba yao. Hawa watoto, sisi ndio wanaona.

Naomba Mungu atufungulie Angel Centre kwetu kwenyewe. Hata saa hii, hatuwezi rescue any more. Kumejaa. Lakini bado watoto watakuja. Na mwenye nyumba anataka pesa.

I know I can’t push ati ni miezi tano bila salary – I know they don’t have. So kama tunaweza kupata usaidizi hapo, tutashukuru.

I’ve been here for a year and 2 months. I’m a mother of 5: they’re in form 3, form 2, class 8, class 7 and class 3.

Staying here for over a year has been by God’s grace, It’s also been a blessing to me, and to my family.

My heart goes out to these kids when they get here. Some come with the umbilical cord still fresh. I handle such infants. I’m here from Monday to Saturday to take care of them – sometimes even Sunday, if needed.

At least my children see their mother and father. To these kids here, we’re their mothers.
I pray for an Angel Centre on premises of our own one day. As we speak, we can’t rescue any more. The place is full. But there are babies that still need rescuing. All the while, the owner of these premises still need their rent.

I know I can’t push a narrative talking about us not getting paid – I know they don’t have the money. So if you can in any way help with that, we’d really be grateful.


Catherine Nyokabi, 44

Hapa sijakaa muda mrefu, nilianza March. Nilikuwa nimeelezewa kidogo juu ya hapa, nikaja kuvolunteer. Nilianza na shifts za usiku, nikaendelea kufanya hata bila a single cent juu nilipenda hawa watoto. Ni Angels wa Mungu.

Hii si kazi ya kawaida. Si kazi kama kazi zingine. Hii ni kama mwito.

Tungependa kujengewa pahali, juu hapa ni kulipa… kuwasomesha watoto pia na school fees… Tumekaa miezi tano bila salary… Tungepata sponsors wa salary, ingesaidia sana.

I haven’t been here for very long – I started in March. I’d been told a little about Angel Centre, so I came and volunteered. I started with night shifts, and continued working without a single cent because I love these children. They are God’s angels.

This isn’t a normal job. It’s a calling.

A lot of things need money here – school fees for the kids, salaries… If we could get people to sponsor our salaries, that would be very helpful.


Gladys Murugi, 50

I’ve worked here 4 years now. I consider how I ended up here a miracle. I just met a friend who was coming here. So I came with them, and here I am.

We need help with hospital. That’s usually a challenge. Like now, we have a kid in hospital. So when the bill comes, it keeps going up every day.

Kuna mmoja tulipoteza. Aliitwa Alvin. Huyo nilisikia uchungu alipoenda…

I love the children. Unaweza kutoka home kukiwa na challenges, lakini ukifika hapa, stress inapotea juu ya hawa watoto. Because they love you.

I’ve worked here 4 years now. I consider how I ended up here a miracle. I just met a friend who was coming here. So I came with them, and here I am.

We need help with hospital. That usually a challenge. Like now, we have a kid in hospital. So when the bill comes, it keeps going up every day.

We lost one called Alvin. Losing Alvin was very painful…I love the children. You could leave home with challenges weighing you down, but as soon as you get here, the stress dissipates because of how much these children love you.


Esther Muthoni, 24

Nimekuwa hapa about 1 year. Nampenda sana Tangaza. Juu sina kijana, mimi nina msichana. Na anapenda kucheka.

I’ve been here for about a year. I really love one of the children. He’s called Tangaza. Because I don’t have a son of my own; I only have one girl. And Tangaza loves to laugh.


Hannah Nyambura, 33

Nimemaliza exactly 1 year leo. Nilikuwa na mwenzangu hapa, nilisikia kuna vacancy, ndio nikaja.

Bills hapa huwa challenging sana. Stima, maji, school fees ya watoi, na salary. Halafu kuna vitu kama diapers za watoto pia. Lakini hapa hauwezi kaa bila stima na maji juu ya watoto. Tungepata usaidizi hapo, tungesaidika sana.

I’ve been here exactly one year now. I came with a friend, and heard that there was a vacancy. That’s how I started off.

Bills are very challenging here. Electricity, water, school fees for the kids, and our salaries. Then there are other items like diapers for the kids. But we can’t do without electricity and water here, because of the kids. If we got help with such, things would be a lot better.


Lucy Wangare, 40

Nimekuwa hapa 1 year. Nilianza hapa na kufua nguo. After 1 month, nikaendelea. Tukaomba, halafu by Januari, tukapata washing machine. Saa hii at least kifua haiumi tukifua. Juu ya machine.

Tangu nikuje hapa, nimeona baraka nyingi. Hata kwa watoto wangu. Niko na 3 boys. Wako secondary. Hata nilisaidiwa na school fees juu ya kufanya kazi hapa Angel Centre.

I’ve been here for a year. I started by washing clothes. After 1 month, I stayed on. We kept praying, and by January, we had a washing machine. So now, we no longer have chest pains when washing, thanks to having a machine.

I’ve received a lot of blessing since I got here. My kids too. I have 3 boys, all in secondary school. I even got help with school fees while working here.


Joyce Wanjiku, 43

Nimekuwa hapa miaka miwili na nusu.

Nimefanya kazi pahali nyingi, hata kupikia watoto wa nursery, kushona nguo, kushona viatu pale Bata factory Limuru.

Kuna mtoto mmoja alikuwa hapa. Ethan Angel. Alikuja akiwa mtoto, akaanza kutembea akiwa na miezi nane. Akiwa na 1 year, aligonjeka. Meningitis. Macho yakapotea, kutembea hatembei… Nasikia kulia hata nikiwa nyumbani nikimfikiria Ethan. Saa hii ana miaka mbili. Haoni, hatembei.

Hatuna mshahara saa hii, lakini tunavumilia. Si sisi pia tuna watoto nyumbani? Na wanahitaji school fees, wanahitaji chakula?

I’ve been here two and a half years. I’ve worked in many places, from cooking for nursery school kids, to being a seamstress, even being a shoemaker at the Bata factory in Limuru.
There was this one child that came here. Angel Ethan. He came in very young, started walking at 8 months. Then at a year old, he fell sick. Meningitis. He lost his sight and couldn’t walk any more… Sometimes I cry at home when I think about him. He’s now two years old. Can’t see, can’t walk.
We don’t have salaries at the moment, but we try to make it work. But at the same time, we also have children at home who need school fees and food.


Jane Omete

Nimefanya kazi hapa miaka 3 na nusu. Nilikuwa napitia hapa, nikaonyeshwa. Nikasikia moyoni nirudi, nikavolunteer, na sasa tunaendelea tu. Hata waliokuwa watoto kabisa nilipoingia saa hii wanaenda shuleni.

I’ve worked here for three and a half years. I was just passing by, and someone pointed out this place to me. I strongly felt the need to come back. I volunteered, after which I just kept working.


Maureen Muthoni, 30

Nimekuwa hapa 4 years. Kuna rafiki aliniambia kuna vacancy, nikaja kuvolunteer. Mimi hupenda kufanya place kuna watoto.

Tunahitaji sana finance. Mtoi akiwa mgonjwa, ni pesa. Rent, ni pesa. Maji, pesa. Mshahara, pesa. So tunahitaji sana finance.

Kuna mtoto nilikuwa nampenda sana. Chris. Alikuwa mgonjwa. Ni kama alikuwa ametupwa kutoka juu mpaka chini, so alikuwa na shida na spinal cord. Some days before aliturn one year, akapass. So ilikuwa painful sana.

I’ve been here for 4 years. A friend of mine told me about a vacancy, so I came and volunteered. I really like working in a place with children.

We really need assistance in finance, because a lot of things need money: A child falling sick, rent, water bills, salaries… So we need a lot of help. There was a child I really loved. Chris. He was unwell. It’s as though he was tossed off a height onto the ground, so he had problems with his spinal cord. A few days before turning one year old, he passed on. It was very painful.


Mary Wanjiku, 32

This is my 5th year at Angel Centre.
Mimi, hawa watoto ndio wananipa passion ya kufanya kazi hapa. Hana mama, hana baba. So you’re the mother. Venye unafanyia wako is the same this you do for him or her.

Yangu ni story. Nilikuwa nimetoka Lebanon, sikuwa na cha kufanya huko, nikarudi huku. Nikaja hapa 2014, nikasema nataka kuvolunteer. Nikaanza, kukawa na vacancy, na ni kama mkubwa alikuwa amenipenda. So from 2014 mpaka leo, I’m here.

This is my 5th year at Angel Centre.
These kids give me the passion to keep going at my work. They don’t have mothers, nor fathers. So you’re the mother. What you do for your own is the same thing you do for them.
Mine is a story: I came back here from Lebanon, as I wasn’t doing anything there. I got here in 2014, starting off by volunteering. When a vacancy came up, Wamaitha took me on board because she liked me. So I’ve been here since then.


Rahab Wairimu, 21

Nilianza 11th last month. I came, nikapatana na MumWam, ndio nikaanza.

Mimi, kutoka high school, napenda kukaa na watoi. Unajua mimi ni myoung, so I play with them, I feel good, ndio wafeel hiyo love.

Kama uko na chance ya kuja huku, we really need you. You come, you see these children, uongee tu nao. Na kama unaweza kuja na usaidizi tu kiasi. For example, kuna two children hawako shule juu wamekosa school fees. Halafu na mums pia – they have families at home. They need money to cater to their families pia.

I started working here on the 11thof last month. I met Wamaitha, then started.

I’ve always liked being with children, even while in high school. I’m relatively young, so I play with them, and I feel good when I do so, because I know they feel that love.

Whenever you have the chance to come here, we really need you. Come, see the children, talk to them. And if you can, help a little. For example, there are two children who aren’t in school because they don’t have the fees, And the moms also have families at home, for whom they need to provide too.


Sarah Jane, 32

These are abandoned children. They don’t have anyone to call mom. So when they call you mom, you feel very nice.

I have the twins, Mary and Loreen, and they have a brother, Hannington. I see them as my own kids. Coz I also have two girls and one boy. Na kuna venye wanafanana na wangu!

Honestly, pahali tunahitaji usaidizi ni salary. Because it’s a bit challenging. Inafika end of month, na una stress zako nyumbani: Rent, school fees, food… Na kuexplain kwa landlord eti huna doo na unaamka kila asubuhi, it’s a bit hard. The same thing na teacher pia. So it’s a bit hard. That’s the biggest challenge.

These are abandoned children. They don’t have anyone to call mom. So when they call you mom, you feel very nice.

I have the twins, Mary and Loreen, and they have a brother, Hannington. I see them as my own kids. Coz I also have two girls and one boy. And they really look like my own!

Honestly, we need a lot of help with salaries. Because it’s a bit challenging. At the end of the month, you have your own stress points at home: Rent, school fees, food… And it’s a little difficult explaining to the landlord that you don’t have money yet you leave for work every morning. Same thing with the teachers. That’s the biggest challenge.


Mercy Gathoni, 30

Nilikuja hapa Septemba last year. Mimi huosha hapa. Nilikuja hapa juu napenda sana watoto.

Nina wengine wangu wawili nyumbani, so mimi hufanya shift ya mchana.

Kuna vitu nyingi tunahitaji. For example sheets za kutandika beds, vitu za kumop, na pahali tu unaweza kusaidia.

I came here in September of last year. I usually do the washing. I came here because I really love kids.
I have two of my own at home, so I work the daytime shift.
There are a number of things we need, like bedsheets, mops, and anywhere you could help.


Margaret Mwathi, 29

I’ve been at Angel Centre for 7 years. I love working with the children. Rescuing them, seeing them grow… It makes you smile. It’s a hugely privileged job. From a day old, growing into big boys and girls… It makes me smile.
It makes me happy to see them adopted. I’ve seen 17 adopted from here. And even seeing grow, go to school… We look for people to help with fees. At the moment, we have 16 in school.
We’d like people to help with financials. We really struggle with financials. Because the kids get sick, and if they’re admitted, the bill gets very high. So we really need help with financials.
We’ve lost around 5 kids. It’s traumatising for us who work here. Because we rescue them hoping that they’ll make it. So it breaks our heart when we see them get sick and not make it.
Being here and working with these beautiful souls is such a blessing. It’s a calling for me.


You can be amongst the people making a difference in these angles’ lives. We’re asking you to be a part of it, just as we are. Here’s their Facebook page, and if you’d like to visit, they are right behind Dagoretti High School. (Map directions on the Facebook page.)

And if you’d like to sponsor a nanny, the M-PESA line is 0712 218 121.

#CourageStories #CourageInPractice #LivingInCourage #youAREastory


Interview: Wendy Gaitara

Compilation, transcription & editing: Marcus Olang’

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