The Maisha Mema Staff -

We 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!


The 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 this picture.


The Tigoni Maisha Mema Children's Home staff

as per November 2012 (from left):

Florence Waithera Mwaura, Joel Mwangi Gachina, Stephen Maano Mativo [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.


Florence Mkala – “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 opportunity”. 

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.


The Soweto Clubhouse staff as per December 2009 (from left):

Maria Kioko, 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. 


The Soweto Clubhouse staff 2008-2009 (from left):

Esther Apunda, Fredrick 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.  In celebrating LIFE, Fred has entered an even BETTER LIFE now.  Just ask him :-)


The Soweto Clubhouse staff 2007 (from left):

Fredrick 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.


The Soweto Clubhouse staff 2006 (from left):

Florence Mkala

Julius Kinoti

Fredrick Omole  -  "Kwame"

Maria Kioko

Frederick Oguttu  -  "Fred"

(Florence Kibicho not present - see above)



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