A letter from our CEO, Morwen Rossiter.
To our wonderful Rafiki Village,
I hope this finds you all well after what has been a very eventful year.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve faced many challenges and yet amidst it all, our teams in Kenya and Australia have pulled together and grown. Together we’re heading into 2022 stronger and better, ready to take on anything. This has been made possible with your help and we thank you.
A reflection on 2021
2021 at Doyle Farm was a time of significant change, growth and evolution. We said farewell to three of our girls who returned home to live with their families and one of our boys who left to attend university. This is an incredible testament to his strength and resilience and to our team on Doyle Farm who supported him through his healing journey. We are so proud. Sadly, nine new girls came to live with us.
The year was also a time of loss, with the tragic passing of two staff members in Kenya, Kenyatta and Amos. As always, our team and community pulled together to support their families and donated to ease the heavy financial burdens faced by the two families left behind. By contributing, every person has made an immeasurable difference to the future ofKenyatta and Amos’ loved ones.
The year saw many challenges arise as a result of the ongoing pandemic, in addition to huge changes presented to our Kenyan team. In the true spirit of Rafiki Mwema, these were embraced as opportunities for refinement, improvement and growth. A common theme which arose as a result was that of getting back to ‘grass roots’, simplifying and refining the way things operate at Doyle Farm. From hygiene to schooling to staying connected with family, our staff and children have been busy finding new ways to do things in these challenging times. Their resilience, creativity and love of life inspired us all.
Uncle Erick, our General Manager of the Rafiki Mwema Therapeutic Centre (RMTC) in Nakuru, and his wonderful team worked hard to review our current systems and practices. Through the process, they identified areas for improvement and championed all that worked well (always a bonus). I’m so happy with how the team has grown together to do this and feel so proud that they recognise how important their opinions and feedback are in our ongoing attempts to build stronger internal processes to carry Rafiki Mwema long into the future.
Our children have loved sharing stories about their days and we’ve posted many of their updates on our social media accounts. These have recounted the happy times, hard times and all that they love about life at the farm. It’s been a great way to maintain connection with the children and hear directly from them.
Our produce farm, under the management of Farm Manager Uncle Stephen, has gone from strength to strength. His eagerness to continue learning about new and innovative farming practices has seen a constant improvement in our crops this year. We have huge goals for the productivity of our farm and will continue to look for ways to innovate and ensure that our resources are used effectively and productively and that we continue to deliver the highest quality produce for our children and team. With a significant increase in our yields, I also expect the farm to deliver a significant income in 2022. Exciting times for Stephen and his wonderful team!
Employee of the Month
Our Employee of the Month initiative has been a wonderful step towards building a culture of recognition and appreciation at Doyle Farm. It’s also been received with so much joy by our team. Each month, we ask staff to nominate a colleague for the honour and share why they think the person should receive the month’s award. It’s an opportunity for the team to have their opinions heard and shared, to show their appreciation for their colleagues, highlight their strengths and talents and come together to celebrate each other. Each staff member who’s awarded Employee of the Month receives a certificate and a gift voucher to acknowledge their efforts and commitment. You can read about our recipients on our Blog page each month.
Staff training and development
Our staff have undertaken First Aid training and are now qualified in the event of an emergency. Each member has the knowledge they need to take action if an emergency or serious event should occur.
IT training has also been made available online which has increased the confidence of our team at Doyle Farm and enabled them to access and share more information and deliver a higher standard of reporting. Thanks to your support, we are proudly providing several staff members with external study opportunities which will further develop their knowledge in the context of their roles.
In addition to the many successes of 2021, we’re excited about our important and ongoing projects which are growing from strength to strength.
Our Outreach and Rafiki Social programs are a huge part of what we do. They are initiatives that provide support to the local community in a manner which works to foster safety, independence and security. The Feeding Program continues to grow and expand, providing an opportunity to care for and connect with children who live on the streets of Kenya. Up to 90 children attend the program daily for a meal, to bathe, receive first aid and have any injuries or illnesses assessed. Our costs for this are ongoing and on the rise. We encourage you to consider setting up a recurring donation to help us continue our Feeding Program which is so much more than just one meal a day. You can find out more and support this important service here.
We’re also still fundraising for our new mini bus. Rafiki Mwema is a big, active and busy family. Our older children attend five different schools outside of Doyle Farm and we have many medical appointments and home visits, in addition to fun excursions such as trips to the swimming pool. With all this non-stop activity, our two 15-seater vans are just not meeting our transportation needs. Children are often waiting for a ride when they could be playing, learning and healing. So we’re planning on upgrading to a 33-seat mini bus. This will be a game-changer as it will greatly reduce time our children spend waiting for transport and time our staff spend on the road. We are aiming to raise AU$60,000 to make this a reality and would be so thankful if you could donate and share our fundraiser far and wide!
Thank you to our wonderful child sponsors
We are blessed to have donations from our wonderful Rafiki family and our incredible village of child sponsors. We’d like to give a special ‘thank you’ to a few of our supporters, without whom we simply could not have achieved what we have over the years.
Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Grandma Kate Doyle (and her husband Noel who sadly passed away in 2020). Grandma Doyle has yet again shown her endless support when she heard of the huge delays in the Kenyan courts as a result of COVID-19, and particularly at the local court house in Nakuru. With all cases being moved online, many hearing dates were pushed back, some with delays of six to ten months. The impact of this on our children was huge. The worry and anxiety about going to court is high in general, but having it delayed increased their anxiety greatly. We identified that the best way to help was to support the courts themselves. Once we found out that the courts shared resources, we knew the perfect way to help.
Grandma Doyle made yet another extremely generous donation which was processed at lightning speed. Two desktop computers, three laptops and a printer were quickly purchased and delivered to the Nakuru County Courts! I know you’ll all agree with me when I say that words cannot express how amazing Grandma Doyle is.
We’re also grateful for the ongoing support of our wonderful Ambassadors. Each continually seeks to identify innovative ways to not only fundraise for us but to help spread the Rafiki Mwema message and raise awareness of our work – Constance Hall, Sonya Driver / Eco Tan, Rikki-Lee Petrie / Bod Squad, Mandy Nolan, Dr Dan Hughes and Kate from O.B Designs.
A final thank you
Signing off, I would like to say a huge heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. Despite all of the many changes and challenges that 2021 presented, your support and love for the children of Rafiki Mwema has remained steadfast. It has allowed us to continue our work to provide a safe and joyous environment for our children and wonderful Kenyan team. It is also with your support we can continue the many programmes that we facilitate beyond Doyle Farm.
With 2022 now upon us, I hope that you’re able to look back on 2021 and find moments of light and joy to carry forward into the new year.
On a personal note, 2021 has reinforced my belief that every action, every conversation, every moment is an opportunity to give to others. Whether that is a gift of time, kindness, care, effort or funds, what you give has an impact. We have the capacity to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us. We can do this by giving with an open heart, whenever and however we can. With this front of mind, I am heading into 2022 determined to give more and to ensure that our entire family at Rafiki Mwema is cared for, supported and sustained for many years to come.
I wish you all the happiest of starts to the New Year. It is my hope that your year is full of clarity, kindness and the knowledge that you are part of a wonderful community that truly does care – Rafiki Mwema.
Take great care of yourselves and a heartfelt thank you to you all from myself, our teams in Australia and Kenya and the beautiful children we care for.
With kindness and gratitude for you all,