An alumnus of New Life Home Trust, a OneChild partner that rescues abandoned babies in Kenya, recounts his positive experience growing up at the home.
The words that Child Champions — the nurses and caregivers — at New Life Home Trust spoke to Desmond when he was a child growing up shaped who he became as a young adult, he says.
Words like …
“You are special.”
“You are loved.”
“You are unique.”
“You are God’s chosen one.”
“No one can take away what you are meant to be.”
Twenty-year-old Desmond was 4 months old when he was rescued as an abandoned baby and brought into New Life Home in Nairobi, Kenya. New Life, a OneChild partner, provides a compassionate and Christian response to abandoned and otherwise vulnerable babies. New Life has been Desmond’s home for his entire life.
Desmond says he was told that when he was brought into the home, his name then was Dennis Wayne. But per the home’s tradition, they sought to give him a powerful name that they hoped would impact his life positively. Dennis then was renamed Desmond Owino, which means “peacemaker.”
The loving care he received at New Life, he says, molded him into a humble, loving, vibrant, and confident young man.
Growing Into His Name
According to Ann, one of the caregivers who saw him being brought into the home in August 2002, Desmond was not a happy baby at first.
“As a baby, he was always sad and frowned most of time,” Ann recalls.
“This caused his face to develop some wrinkles, but we were determined to make him happy. So, we would massage his little face so that he could relax and assured him that he was at a safe place. We spoke peace into his life and prayed that he would grow into what his name denotes.”
Desmond says that as he grew older in the home, he was able to identify all the caregivers and his siblings there.
“Growing up, it was fun having a lot of siblings around because that meant that playtimes were exciting. We made a lot of memories, and I would never trade anything for my childhood,” says Desmond.
Beautiful Birthdays and Memories
With many babies at the home, Desmond says the caregivers strive to give individualized attention to all of them and that he felt cared for.
“Birthdays were big, and they meant a lot to everyone at the home,” he says. “The home celebrated each child’s birthday by throwing beautiful parties for us. Above all, each one of us received personalized birthday cards that had beautiful writings from each caregiver at the home, and that meant a lot to me.”
Janet Mutinda, the home’s country director, says celebrating the babies’ birthdays is a way to create good memories for them when they are older, and helps the babies feel loved and connected to the staff.
“As I grew up, I developed a connection and a bond with the caregivers at the home,” Desmond says. “To date, they inspire me. They have shaped who I am today. Their undying support to my siblings and I helped us become wholesome beings fit for the society and fit for the purpose of God, and I am grateful!”
Giving Back to the Community
With different roles that each caregiver at the home played in shaping Desmond, he says their selfless acts of caring for babies, giving children an education, and teaching them about God and God’s undying love are a testimony that God uses human beings to spread love and compassion to kids in hard places.
From his caregivers at New Life Home, Desmond learned the art of being selfless and is now a Child Champion. He now impacts the community he lives in by volunteering to tutor young kids in poverty whose parents cannot afford to pay for a tutor.
“The community has been giving into my life, and it’s now my turn to give back to the community,” he says. I would love for people in hard places to find a new life, like I did, so that they too, can thrive.”
Desmond is a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in food science and hospitality management at a local university in Kenya. He hopes to join the hospitality industry in the future, something that has been his childhood dream.
“The home is supporting me to achieve my dream. I had always dreamt of being in the hospitality industry because I love to serve people, and hospitality is about giving yourself up to serve others. I hope to be the greatest in the industry the world has ever known,” he says.
Living in Favor
Desmond also hopes to have a family in the future.
“I pray to God to make me the best father, and that my child doesn’t go through what I went through [abandonment] when I was a baby,” he says. Desmond hopes to use his past experience as a steppingstone for his future child and family to experience the best and thrive in life.
To help the older kids face the world after exiting the home, New Life has a transition program called “Packed to Impact.” The program seeks to mentor and prepare the youths to have a positive impact on their community, as Desmond has.
As Desmond faces the world, he says, each new day of his life is an opportunity for him to live in favor, not only for himself but in favor for others.
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