On the 5 May 1998 Luke Owuor, Peter Ouma, and Joash Osulla from Kenya, together with Jim Dawe from England, decided to open a children’s home in Kenya.

On the 22 May 1998, a children’s home was officially opened utilising a rented property in Migosi, Kisumu and the first children were admitted one week later.

It was realised that larger and more permanent premises were going to be required. When looking for a suitable property, they inspected a building in the Kanyawegi area near Kisumu, Kenya.

Although this building was later found to be unsuitable, they  like the name ‘Kanyawegi’, which means ‘someone’s sister’.

In June 1998, the ideal property was found. It was a disused fish factory fronting the Kisumu to Busia Road in the village of Otonglo (which means ‘10 cents’), which is 4 miles north-west of Kisumu.  Lake Victoria is 1.3 miles to the south and the Equator is about six miles to the north.

On the 15 July 1998, Jim funded the purchase of the property and the Kanyawegi Childrens Home was established in the dilapidated building.  Eleven children and a ‘mum’ moved in a week later.

In 2000, a roof was erected to cover the courtyard, which created a large social area cum dining room - all funded by the Radstock & Midsomer Norton Lions Club, through the Lions Club of Milimani in Kisumu. In addition, all the rooms were repaired and painted, and the Kanyawegi Constitution was written.

A new dormitory was built alongside the existing building to accommodate 20 boys, again funded by the Lions Club. Solar powered lighting was installed for security and economy and a new pit latrine was dug and a structure erected over it.  A bank account was first opened in England for UK donations.

A new dormitory was built alongside the existing building to accommodate 20 boys, again funded by the Lions Club. Solar powered lighting was installed for security and economy and a new pit latrine was dug and a structure erected over it.  A bank account was first opened in England for UK donations.

In 2001, work began on reclaiming and securing the river bank alongside the Home. This was needed to prevent further erosion of the land, which was threatening the buildings.

At that time, the number of children swelled to 53 and the first fully trained children left to begin work; one as a tailor and one as a motor mechanic.  Sadly Dan, a 9 year old orphan, loses his fight for life after 3 years at Kanyawegi. This gives the committee new resolve to help as many AIDS orphans as finances permit.

Later, a new girl’s area was constructed, paid for by Ridgeway Community Church in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, together with toilets & a bathroom. A second borehole was also sunk to supply the Home’s increased need for water.

The teenager’s house was constructed on the rear of the site with a generous anonymous donation from a couple attending the Ridgeway Community Church, Wallingford, Oxfordshire. This enabled the Home to be compliant for the over 18's that are not permitted to stay in the Home, but have not yet finished their education, or training.

The Home's population rose to 79, and more trained staff were added to assist the children at the Home, and with their schoolwork.

On the 13 October 2004, Kanyawegi UK was registered as a charity (No.1106296) with the UK’s Charity Commission with the aim of providing support and funding for the Home. Jim was one of the original Trustees and he was joined by Peter Skinner, Simon Wilkie, Doreen Moxham, and Sarah Moxham. Jim Dawe resigned on 1 June 2007, Simon resigned in 2009 (due to moving abroad). Sally Petit subsequently joined the committee of Trustees.

For a while it had been known that the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) planned to widen the Busia Road (B1) main road that passes the Kanyawegi Childrens Home in Otonglo, but it had been thought that the impact on the Home was likely to be minimal - just encroaching on part of the front compound.

However, in November 2012, contractors arrived at the Otonglo Home, made new measurements and marked up the Home with red crosses and lines to show that they now expected the two water wells in the front yard and about two thirds of the main building to be demolished to make way for the new road - a line that was 52 metres back from the centre of the Busia Road.

As a result of the likely loss of the Kanyawegi Childrens Homes front yard and two water wells for the widening of the Busia Road to a dual carriageway - in summer 2014, the girls / young ladies were moved to a rented house near Riat Market not far away to the east, towards Kisumu City centre, which has since been named the ‘Emmanuel Home’.

‘Emmanuel’ means 'God with us' and emphasises our belief that God is with us in supporting needy children and young people in Kenya.  The name of the UK charity may change in time, too - but for now it remains as Kanyawegi UK.

The former Otonglo Home site was sold late 2014, just in time, as in April 2015 the Busia Road improvements initially subsumed the front yard. However, on the night of Saturday 2 May 2015 construction contractors accompanied by around 200 police carried-out instant evictions, demolished the front rooms of the former Kanyawegi Childrens Home and around half of the nearby Otonglo Market further up the Busia Road.

Further details of the Busia Road widening scheme and the effect on the former Home at Otonglo can be found by clicking on this link.

It is with shock that our Deputy Home Manager / House Parent, James Ayoki (‘James 2’), died unexpectedly on Tuesday, 27 October 2015. A report on his colourful, well attended, funeral on 14 November 2015, can be found by clicking on this link.

Within of only a matter of days afterwards we had some further sad news. Our long-standing Trustee and Sponsor Co-ordinator, Doreen Moxham, died suddenly on Saturday, 21 November 2015, following heart surgery.  We give thanks to all her valued work for the charity - she will be sorely missed.

Back (l to r):  James Chiaga (duty parent - & later the Home’s Manager), Dan (watchman), William Arega (cook), Mama Angeline (home ‘mum’ - since died), ……… (watchman), Edward Aboma (duty parent)

  Front (l to r):                Joash Osulla      Peter Ouma (since died)      Jim Dawe      Luke Owuor

Kanyawegi Children’s Home’s four founders



Children’s Home

1998 - opened at Migosi

1998 - moved to Otonglo

2004 - Kanyawegi UK support             charity is formed

2014 - Busia Rd widening - site             at Otonglo vacated & sold

Emmanuel Home

2014 - opened in a rented

            house near Riat Market


Initially a lot of refurbishment was needed to make the property as homely as possible. Guttering and water tanks were top priorities, followed by the digging of a 105 foot deep borehole to give the Home clean drinking water. Major refurbishment then began with the installation of security doors and windows. The Home’s Kenya bank account was opened in 1999.

Refurbishment continued, including the building of two kitchens. In addition, the toilet area was demolished (due to crumbling foundations) and the opportunity was taken to build a boys’ and a girl’s shower room, additional toilets and a visitor’s bathroom & toilet.

Kanyawegi Children’s Home at Otonglo

Emmanuel Home, Riat Market, Kisumu


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