AdultsThe Girls outside the previous home building

Western Kenya Vumilia

C. Dorm2

Class in session


Why We Got Started

The Swahili word Vumilia (pronounced: vumi-lee-a) means to persist, or persevere when things are tough. That is what a small group of local women, all HIV-positive single mothers and widows, decided to do in 2004. The combined effect of poverty, social stigma, ostracism and loss was wearing them down fast, and they resolved to do something about it.

How We Grew

2004: The Vumilia Women’s Group, with 12 members at first, began with counselling to help all of them come to terms with the reality of their situation, and to recover their self-esteem and their resolve. They began living positively again. Some got into small business. The group expanded. Their message – that AIDS is real, so let’s face it, understand it and respond practically – began to get around.

2005: Vumilia founded a VCT (Voluntary Counselling & Testing Centre) in the village of Kambi Mwanza. We found that many clients and their children were severely malnourished, and so we started a weekly feeding programme for small children.

2006: A Girls Home was founded, providing a caring home and good education for 30 orphaned/vulnerable children. At first the home was located in rented premises in Kambi Mwanza.

2007: With assistance from Riders for Health, Vumilia set up a palliative care outreach program, providing vital nutritional, emotional and medical assistance to hundreds of AIDS sufferers, visiting them in their homes, deep in rural Kabras

2009: The Vumilia Medical Clinic was registered, offering essential health services to hundreds, and providing the most affordable diagnostic medical services for 20km.

2010: With the help of generous donors from Italy and the USA, we purchased a 6 acre farm near the small village of Bukhaywa, just 4km from our original home. The land is fertile, has a natural spring, slopes down to a permanent stream, and is bounded on one side by the Kakamega rainforest. We converted the existing farm huts into stores, kitchen, and staff accommodation, built a dormitory for the girls, and moved in, vacating the rented premises. And we began farming the land again.

2011: Vumilia relocated all other operations to nearby Bukhaywa village – the medical clinic and VCT, and a small office coordinating the community outreach programmes. We further developed the farm. With support from a very generous family in New York, we began Phase 1 of an ambitious construction project – a two-storey building to be used at first to house all the girls on the upper level, with counselling and meeting rooms and offices on the ground floor.

2012: with help from Aids und Kind in Switzerland we began a home schooling programme, hiring teachers directly to teach all the girls, instead of sending them out to local primary schools which are badly overstretched. The building work continued and the farm further developed

What We Are Doing Now

2013: Vumilia currently has 7 programmes running:

  1. Girls’ Welfare – Currently Vumilia is caring for 27 orphaned and vulnerable girl children, aged 4 to 17 years old at our home and farm in Bukhaywa village.
  2. Girls’ Education –  ensuring education up to tertiary/vocational level for 32 students: providing home schooling for 23 girls at primary level; sponsoring fees for 4 more at secondary level; and supporting 5 students at university/college.
  3. The Vumilia Farm  – producing various crops, a lot of vegetables, and rearing dairy cows, chickens, fish and rabbits, to feed the children, to sell, and to teach the children practical agriculture and agronomy skills.
  4. VCT (Voluntary HIV Counselling and Testing Centre) – Vumilia established the only Voluntary Counselling and Testing Clinic in this heavily populated area, providing HIV/AIDS testing and counseling to a community of some 300 villages.
  5. Community Health & Medical Clinic – Vumilia has been accredited by the Ministry of Health to offer health care services to the local community. We are able to offer first level diagnosis and treatment for malaria, water-borne and other orally/faecally transmitted illnesses, and for upper respiratory tract infections, and to make referral to higher level medical care.
  6. Home Based Palliative Care Outreach Programme – making over 400 visits per month to bedridden patients. As part of this activity 20 severely malnourished children are fed high protein food every day.
  7. A Sexual Health Education Programme – collaborating with other organizations in community awareness and training actions to combat HIV/AIDS and STIs