Club House

The preparatory class of 2019.

We enrol 30-35 children every year in Clubhouse.  The first year is very important, as the children not only read school subjects, but are also learning social skills.  This prepares them for joining public schools next year.  We are pleased to see that a number of the children in the program also become leaders in school :-)

Why don't you find out more about what we do? :-)



Some of the activities going on in Clubhouse:

Sports. We have several teams, both for boys and girls, and we also hope to have some light athletic activities and a volleyball team.  See the article Shooting Goals!

The choir in Clubhouse is divided into a young and older, so that they can sing according to their level.  Some time more professional people come to teach them songs, and also


Dancing. We have both young and older teams dancing.  It is a very popular activity, also because they learn traditional dances in order to be proud of their cultural heritage. 


Drama. When the children are playing a drama, it is much easier to understand - and pass on - a message.  Popular topics may be about alcoholism, drugs, HIV, family-life and so on. 

Art and Craft.
In Clubhouse, the children are encouraged to do art and crafts. In this way, they get a better self-image when they see they can master this, and also get some skills for the future. All of them are talented!

Bible Studies.
Through down-to-earth-level Bible-studies coupled with singing and other activities, we want the children to know the Bible in order for them to take a stand for Jesus and achieve good moral standards. 

Outdoor Activities.
Camping and other outings are on the program!  These activities mainly go on during the school holidays, and are partly depending on donors to make a contribution towards this.

Environmental Care.
Clean-ups in the slums are some times exercised. The children - but also their parents - are made to be aware of their environment and develop good attitudes. Ultimately, this is benefiting the whole community. 



Check the article by Fredrick Oguttu where he reflects on "TEARS". Well worth reading!


The Clubhouse in Soweto and the activities around this, is our main outreach work, and started during the Autumn of 1998.  The Clubhouse is an educational place as well as a social meeting-place for the children in our program.  They get some help with homework, tuition, participate in sports and games, and do various activities like arts and crafts, singing and dancing. 

As many of these children are seriously affected by the poor sanitary conditions in the slums, we often have to treat them for ringworms or internal worms in addition to dressing wounds and exercising first aid. All the children - either they go to school or are in the "morning program" (new intakes being prepared for school) - are covered by this medical security.

The team in Soweto consists of the daily leader of Clubhouse, Florence K, who is also the overall social worker in Maisha Mema, Florence M, Esther, Karimi, Fred and Albert - se staff.


We support over 230 children from the Soweto slums - all of whom are in school!

Football and other sports activities make sure they use their bodies in a healthy and friendship building way.  Especially some of the girls, who otherwise are more or less treated like dirt according to the customs in the slums, have seen their self-image grow considerably through these activities!

And as the same activities also run in the school holidays, we hinder the kids in falling back to destructive habits like drugs, casual sex and roaming around.  This way, the Clubhouse activities are definitely also a social rehabilitation program.  




Some of the preparatory class kids in new uniforms and with new bags :-)  The women's project in sowing produced the bags!  Uniforms create identity, and makes it easier to go to public school from next year.  The preparatory year in Clubhouse prepares both for school and life, as life skills - including how and when to say "thank you", "please" and "sorry" - is an integrated part of learning there. 



Some of the preparatory class children (formerly called "morning children"; first year children in Clubhouse) have never before understood the concept of 'birthday'.  But obviously, they like the idea :-)



The Preparatory Class (formerly called "morning children"; first year children learning in Clubhouse) is a big group this year, here together with their teacher Karimi.  After the preparatory year in Clubhouse we take them to good public schools to compete on par with children outside the slums.




(Christmas 2015)  «Belonging» is a big word, and means ‘happiness felt in a secure relationship’.  When you belong somewhere, there are frames around your life.  Marianne and Jonny belong in Maisha Mema in Kenya, simply because we are responsible for a multitude of children around us, either in the Family (Maisha Mema Children’s Home) in Tigoni or Clubhouse in the Soweto slums :-)  Some of these children again, have their only belonging in the Family.  Others – both in the Family and Clubhouse – have a strong sense of belonging with a mother, a grandmother.  Very many of us also have a belonging to the One we celebrate during Christmas.  Privileged are those with a belonging somewhere, either we are in Africa or Europe :-) 

We are also very happy that we completed Clubhouse II in Soweto this year (2015), and early next year (2016) we’ll complete the girl’s extension in Tigoni.  Thank you so much for being part of this!  We hope you also feel a belonging with Maisha Mema :-)  May we all experience a strong sense of belonging, wherever we are in the world! :-)  (from the 2015 Christmas card to supporters of Maisha Mema)




(Christmas 2014)  Dear Friends!  This is the fourth Christmas we will be celebrating in Tigoni, and it will be sunny, green and warm J.  And that’s exactly what we want for the children also: A sunny, green and warm life = Better Life J.  Last year Christmas we were complaining a bit about the long waiting for Clubhouse number 2.  This year Christmas the roof will be on J.  With two Clubhouses the work will be easier, and help many more children J.  And we really couldn’t do this if not for all of you out there supporting us.  We have children all the way from Pre-School via Primary and Secondary to College and University level.  Therefore, again we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your continued support for now close to 300 children.  Our very best greetings from children, staff, Marianne and Jonny, and best wishes for the Christmas season and the coming year! J



Dear Friends!  What do you do as a child when life is too hard, responsibilities too many, food too scarce and the environment too hostile?  Well, you certainly don't play.  And you can possibly not be a child like a child is supposed to be...  That's why the activities in Clubhouse are so important.  Everything from choir to art & craft to football, - to just playing and having fun as the girls in the picture.  Not thinking about the harsh environment out there.  Being free from worrying.  Being a child.  This is also an important part that all of you supporting Maisha Mema help to achieve.  Thanks so much for helping the children to be what they are meant to be; children in a safe environment :-)



Dear Friends!  The "morning children" in our Clubhouse in the Soweto slums have now gotten uniforms!  The one year program is preparing them to enter public school, and now we feel the atmosphere for school is even more authentic as they are preparing academically and socially for a very important step in their life!  Presently, we have young men and women who have gone all the way from Pre Unit as 6-7 year olds until they today find themselves in University.  Maybe some of the 2014 morning children pictured here will also one day achieve something like that?  Thanks to all of you who make these children's dreams for the future come through! :-)



Dear Friends!  Maisha Mema now has several students in University.  Jemima (left) and Daniel (right) are the latest to attend, and are from autumn 2013 studying at Egerton University, the premier Agricultural public University in Kenya.  Daniel will be doing a degree in "Project Management and Planning" and Jemima a degree in "Agricultural Economics and Resource management".  Marianne, one of the Directors (in blue), and Florence Kibicho, Social Worker and Coordinator of Clubhouse in Soweto (behind) are happy to hand over laptops to the students.  The picture is taken in Tigoni during a prize giving reward day in August.  We are really proud of them! :-)







Dear Friends! 


Some times the children are quite ecstatic coming to gifts.  Like early 2013 when Cornelia and Sven Sivertzen's donation to Clubhouse was brought.  The children are very fond of singing and dancing.  Now we have a proper music system to use in Clubhouse, and the kids really enjoy.  Thanks Cornelia and Sven! :-)












Judith was helped by Maisha Mema to get through Secondary School.  She got married to Makarios on Saturday 6th February 2010, and  Marianne and Jonny were asked to step in as parents for Judith.  We of course felt privileged to do so!  So here are our lovely daughter and her handsome husband just coming out of church!  :-)




We got a new playground in Clubhouse in 2009.  Now the children have much more space to play games.  Also notice the new building in the background with classroom downstairs and library and office for the social worker upstairs. 

Thanks to those who contributed to this!







Children dancing are normally children happy.  That's why we have also included singing and dancing in the activities of Clubhouse.


One of the main ideas of the Maisha Mema program is to develop the talents of the children.  And one of the most popular activities is dancing.  The more colourful, the better!  With the skirts from a local producer and T-shirts from Grødem congregation in Norway, the children really appreciate the opportunity to celebrate LIFE!  Because that's what Maisha Mema is all about - BETTER LIFE.  Thanks to all who have joined us to create a positive change in all these children!





Maisha Mema shines in Secondary School exams!

In November 2009, we had 9 in Soweto and 2 others who sat for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams. Results came out in February, and the top boy was Edwin with an A- and top girl Janet with a B-, both from Soweto. These results will lead Edwin to University and Janet to a very good college. We are very proud of them! :-)



CLUBHOUSE is also meant to be lots of fun! 

We want the children to enjoy being there.  Serious school work must be as natural as laughter!  We all need this!  One of the means in achieving this is to invite people to come and perform and interact with the children.  Like Ambassada (right) in March 2005.

Nation didn't get all the facts right, though.  We don't have a children's home in Kayole and Miss Kenya didn't show up...  But the children - and grownups too! - had a great time with Ambassada.

In 2004 Kayamba Africa (see right below) visited us and performed in Clubhouse, and the year before Miss Kenya visited the children in Doonholm together with a delegation from Nairobi Chapel.

All for free, of course!  Thank you for giving us great joy!

And as the years have gone by, many have come to visit, and some to entertain, although they might not have made it into the newspapers... :-)


Informal Adult Education!

Although we in a small scale always have considered the parents of the children, we now offer Informal Adult Education to interested parents.  In addition to literacy classes where parents can learn how to read and write, we also offer monthly workshops to the parents.  Here they are taught different topics like family planning, children’s rights, self esteem, abuse, discipline, Aids, etc.  Some of the parents have expressed that they really appreciate the initiative!



A group from Randaberg (close to Stavanger) visited us in the Spring of 2006.  A number of people in Randaberg are sponsors for children in Maisha Mama.  Two of the girls in Clubhouse here get presents sent with the group for them.






Sepp Blatter (FIFA) donated a set of jerseys and caps to Maisha Mema through Raising Seed, a Swiss charitable organisation.  The kids immediately tried them on, and are here posing with their new outfit together with Veronica from Rasing Seed.  Also on the picture is the Maisha Mema football coach, Fred Oguttu (behind left).  Thanks to Mr Blatter and Raising Seed! :-)







Playing in proper football jerseys is something our children really like. 

In October 2010 we got a set from Sandnes Sparebank with their logo and Maisha Mema printed on the front.  Thanks a lot! - and enjoy the thought that you are even known in the Soweto slums of Nairobi! :-)





We built a new Clubhouse in 2005! 

Check it out here!

We had a "Grand Opening" of the New Clubhouse on 22nd September 2005! 

See pictures here!





It looks quite impressing when our footballboys and -girls are all dressed up!  Pål (see Who We Are) came in October 2006 with a lot of new clothes from Norway - including "Kleppestø Torg", and the kids in Soweto surely appreciated! 

Later contributors of jerseys and t-shirts include Grødem Gospel (Randaberg) and Nanset Tensing (Larvik).

Thank you to the kind sponsors! :-)






Maisha Mema is privileged to have many visitors.  Some come yearly, like some schools, but with different students every year.  One of these schools is Bømlo Folkehøgskole from Norway.  They visited both the Clubhouse in the Soweto slums and our family in Doonholm.  Read about it on the event page :-) 


Brian Munene became best Maisha Mema student in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education 2006, scoring 403 out of a possible 500!  He was the "star" in our Prize Giving ceremony in Clubhouse, Soweto 5th January 2007.



Maisha Mema Prize Giving Day, Soweto, January 2006




Just a smile away!

"Life happens, life is so busy and life goes on.  Yet it’s a child’s right to receive attention and guidance in every little thing, but is this true in the ghetto? ... Feelings are repressed, questions unasked, any sign of weakness loathed ... If I can get a kid to smile, just a smile, my day is well spent.  A hearty laugh the better, but just a smile is my bargain - a smile that says someone is there for me, someone cares and life can be good!  That is what makes my day" (Fred Oguttu, football trainer and children- and youth-worker in the Maisha Mema Clubhouse program in the Soweto slums, Nairobi).






Just a smile away!

When John got a new sister, he was visibly proud of her, and told everybody that "this is my sister!"  The world would be a better place to live for us all  if we were proud of each other, and treated each other like loving brothers and sisters!









- to all who are supporting us!







2013 New Clubhouse kids

Some of the new children in Clubhouse from January 2013.  The total number of children in Clubhouse is quite stable at 230.  Thanks to all who are making a Better Life for these children!









2012 New Clubhouse kids

Some of the new children in Clubhouse from January 2012.  We now have around 230 children there!  Thanks to all who are making a Better Life for these children!









2011 New Clubhouse kids

November is intake time for new kids in Soweto, and from January, 27 new kids (new record!) are attending Clubhouse classes in order to begin at public schools in January next year (3 not present in this picture).  We call them "morning children", as they have the full attention of our workers during morning hours until afternoon.  It is really a blessing to welcome ever more kids to join a Better Life! :-)









2010 New Clubhouse kids

The biggest intake so far: 19 new children!  Now we really need a second Clubhouse... :-)









2009 New Clubhouse kids

With this group, we passed 220 kids in the program and 170 in Soweto alone!







2008 New Clubhouse kids

A new group of kids ready to start the Maisha Mema Clubhouse program in the Soweto slums.  These were identified in November 2007, and formally joined the program in January 2008.  And with this group, we passed 200 kids in the program.  We welcome these new boys and girls, and are happy that more kids can have a Better Life!



New Clubhouse!


Below you'll find some pictures from the first page we made about Clubhouse.  We were then in very different buildings, and we have come a long way since then!  But anyway, they have kind of sentimental value, so we include them still:

(the old Clubhouse...)  





If you want to read some stories about some of these children, look here: Case Studies [this page is now more of a curiosity...]


It is important to shoot goals!


You can find a few older Newsletters in English here




Do you have any ideas about what other activities we can do with the children?  Write to us and tell us about it!


Maisha Mema Child Sponsorship Program

P.O. Box 5564

00100 Nairobi GPO





Enviromental Clean up with Maisha Mema Clubhouse.

(Below are the children in the old Clubhouse!)


Environmental care is one of the steps of becoming responsible!



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