say that the Clubhouse is run by Kenyans and for
Kenyans. It goes without saying then, that we could not do the
work we are doing without our commited staff!
Soweto Clubhouse staff as per November 2012 (from left):
Florence Wangechi Kibicho (social worker), Sven Bordewich
Sivertzen (volunteer, left December), Esther Orwa Apunda, Frederick Oguttu - "Fred",
Florence Mkala, Mutua Kithoki - "Baba Dennis" (watchman) and
Letisia Karimi Namu. Albert Omariba Makori
(teacher in charge) was not present at the time of taking
Tigoni Maisha Mema Children's Home staff
as per November 2012 (from left):
Florence Waithera Mwaura, Joel Mwangi Gachina, Stephen Maano
[left in March
2013 for another job] , George Ogora Nyakweba,
Edward Wafula Mkenya - "Wanjoni", Leah Wamucii Gathii and
Janeth Kageni Thiginki. Joseph Muteti Mwathi was
not present at the time of taking this picture.
– “Aunty” (born 1968)
was the first to be attached to Maisha Mema’s work in Soweto
all the way back in the Autumn of 1998. Her main obligations in Clubhouse are
teaching kids (presently Pre-Unit to Standard 4) and being in
charge of letter-writing, art & craft. She is also the
secretary for staff meetings, and usually in charge of taking
visitors to homes of the children. She has also organised
some mothers into self-help groups. Florence has also taken
upon herself to pray especially for the organisation together
with four of the mothers once a week. She is a member of
the Board of
Blue Cross Kenya. Her hobbies include singing, dancing,
travelling, making jokes and doing hand work.
Fredrick Onyango Oguttu
– “Fred” (born 1977) has been attached to Clubhouse in Soweto
since 1999. His personal ambitions in life are 1) be a
farmer, 2) being involved in charitable work, and 3)
practising as an architect. So far, even though he is an
educated architect and comes from an agricultural area
up-country, it is the charitable work through Maisha Mema that
has been the ambition fulfilled… He has been in charge of
some of the Maisha Mema football teams – three junior
(Top-Notch, Flossmode and Mekaddishkem) and two senior (G2G
and Battle-Axe). He comments that it is a “hostile soccer
fraternity / world, but okay though”. Presently, he is also
in charge of the Standard 8 tuition in Clubhouse. He has two
main slogans or work philosophy: “It is only human to be
humane” and “I will be there for you!” Hobbies include
playing, watching and coaching soccer, travelling, singing and
listening to diverse forms of music, and reading inspirational
and motivational books.
Esther Orwa Apunda (born 1981) started volunteering for
Maisha Mema late 2007, and got employed in June 2008. Here
is her own story: "My story begins from a collapsed
children's home where I knew any chance of ever completing
my education had come to an end. That's when I
encountered Maisha Mema that brought back all the lost hope
by sponsoring me through high school and college. When
an opportunity came to work for the organisation, it was an
honour and a chance to share my story with the Club House
children and show them that since it happened to me, they
can also make it in life. I love children especially
small children and I get great satisfaction and joy when I
see a child begins to know how to read and write. I
deal with the pre-school children and class six. I'm
also in charge of library and environmental club. I
like singing, listening to music, reading motivational books
and telling stories. My best quote is "Always be
ready to learn. However knowledgeable and experienced
you may be, you can still learn something new". I
am married with three children; a girl 9 years old and
younger twin boys".
Letisia Karymi Namu (born 1983) was also a volunteer
Maisha Mema late 2007, and got employed in June 2008. Here
is her own story: "I am a single lady working at Maisha Mema
Club House in Soweto as a children / youth worker. My
main obligation is teaching children, currently Standard 3
and 7 by use of public school education syllabus. I
teach the children, motivate and encourage them that they
realise their potential, utilise this opportunity that is
given to them through the program to become responsible and
better citizens of tomorrow. Working with the children
has helped me to realise that I have a talent in teaching.
My love for them and the desire to see them succeed and
become better people in the society motivates me. I
love my job and want the best for all the children I am
working with. I believe in success and I ensure that
whatever I do, I do to my level best. "Success is
by choice". I hate failure :-) I am in
charge of Education in Club House and I also run the First
Aid Club. My hobbies are listening to gospel music,
socialising and reading books that motivate and inspire me".
Florence Wangechi Kibicho
(born 1971) is our social worker since 2001. Her main duties
are being the coordinator for the Soweto Clubhouse, doing case investigations, follow up with parents and children
and organising workshops and seminars with parents and
children. She is also networking with other organisations and
government departments on behalf of Maisha Mema. Other
obligations include identifying schools and placing children
in these schools, and buying uniform and shoes for the
children. She is saying that “My motivation for being
involved with Maisha Mema is the realisation that the children
in the program would be hopeless without Maisha Mema, hence I
am working hard to help them make more use of this golden
opportunity”. She is adding that she likes honest and
straight forward people, and dislike double standard people.
Her hobbies include reading real life stories and listening to
music, and her motto is “To make the best out of an
Florence and her daughter Ivy
Leah Wamucii Gathii (born 1971) is the
live-in housemother in our family, and has been with us
since February 2008.
She is a good cook, interacts very well with the
children, and also makes sure
that the children do their house
chores. Hobbies include
travelling, listing to the radio
and reading educative magazines.
She has a daughter; Angela.
Soweto Clubhouse staff as per December 2009 (from left):
Frederick Oguttu - "Fred", Esther
Apunda, Florence Kibicho (social worker), Letisia Karimi, Fredrick Omole - "Kwame"
[left at the
end of February 2011 to concentrate on his own ministry] and Florence Mkala.
Soweto Clubhouse staff 2008-2009 (from left):
Omole - "Kwame", Florence Kibicho (social worker), Letisia Karimi,
Julius Kinoti [left Maisha Mema in January 2009 for further
schooling], Florence Mkala and Maria Kioko. Frederick
Oguttu - "Fred" was not present when the
picture was taken. The occasion is Kibicho's graduation
in Higher Diploma for Psychological Counselling.
But here is Fred! He got married
to Peninah on 31st October. Many Soweto mothers
and a bunch of kids from Soweto also came, putting an
extra dimension on the wedding as that's where Fred is
working. Many people in Norway know Fred from the
April meetings and school visits through many years.
LIFE, Fred has entered an even BETTER LIFE now.
Just ask him :-)
Soweto Clubhouse staff 2007 (from left):
Omole - "Kwame", Maria Kioko, Frederick
Oguttu - "Fred", Julius Kinoti, Esther
Apunda (volunteer), Marianne Haldimann Mydland, Florence Mkala,
George Mbugua (volunteer, from Maisha Mema Children's Home),
Letisia Karimi (volunteer), Elizabeth Mutheu (volunteer) and
Florence Kibicho (social worker).
The picture was taken after a nice staff
lunch at Java Junction, December 2007. We feel it is
important to grow together as staff, and will prioritize such
events every now and then.