«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)
of the activities going on in Clubhouse:
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
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
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.
When the children are playing a drama, it is
much easier to understand - and pass on - a message.
topics may be about alcoholism, drugs, HIV, family-life
and so on.
Art and Craft.
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!
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.
Camping and other outings are on the program!
activities mainly go on during the school holidays, and
are partly depending on donors to make a contribution
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!
in Soweto and the activities around this,
is our main outreach work, and started during the
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.
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
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
(Christmas 2014) Dear Friends!
This is the fourth Christmas we will be celebrating in
Tigoni, and it will be sunny, green and warm
And that’s exactly what we want for the children also: A
sunny, green and warm life = Better Life
Last year Christmas we were complaining a bit about the
long waiting for Clubhouse number 2. This year
Christmas the roof will be on
With two Clubhouses the work will be easier, and help
many more children
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!
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
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
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! :-)
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
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
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
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
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
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.
they are taught different topics like
family planning, children’s rights, self esteem, abuse,
discipline, Aids, etc.
of the parents have expressed that they really
appreciate the initiative!
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
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! :-)
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
Later contributors of
jerseys and t-shirts include Grødem Gospel (Randaberg)
and Nanset Tensing (Larvik).
Thank you to the kind
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 :-)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
Studies [this page is now more of a