Turi Children's Project is part of the charitable work of St Andrew's Preparatory School.
St Andrew's established a Prep School charity in 2009, 'Love in Action', which aimed to support the local community and began by focussing on the needs of one of the village's primary schools. Since 2009 the charity has been able to make a huge difference to the lives of those in Turi, through the provision of meals, support work, school fee payments and more.
Meanwhile, the old St Andrew's staff club, a wooden building next to the school which had closed in 1999 when the current staff club was built, was standing unused in the village. A small group of local men were made trustees of the 2 acre site, maintaining it in the hope that it could one day be used to help the community.
Following discussions with the church pastors in Turi about how they could practically share the good news of the gospel in their village, Turi Children's Project began in 2013, using the site of the former staff club. It was set up as a community project to help disadvantaged children, of which there are sadly many in the area, with the view to providing recreation and games, school support, vocational training, counselling, occasional medical check ups and a daily meal, in the name of Jesus. We have been doing just that ever since.
We seek to share the good news of the Gospel, by sharing the love of Jesus with underprivileged young people in our Turi community.
The work of TCP is based on the Bible verse Jeremiah 29v11:
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This verse is the foundation for everything that we do and underpins our vision for reaching our local community. We believe that the message of the gospel carries true hope for everybody, and we want to share this hope with the community of Turi. In particular, Turi Children's Project works to provide a hope and a future for the underprivileged young people in our community by teaching them key vocational skills and additional education, which will enable them to more easily find work in the future. Our desire is to help them grow in their faith, facilitate them having fun and playing games together, and equip them for future employment. Our programme is therefore structured to ensure these 3 aspects of the project are prioritised.
We currently have 120 children coming to TCP each week, divided in to two groups who come on alternating weekdays. This means that over a fortnight each group comes five times, and our programme reflects this pattern.
Providing a space for the children to have fun and learn how to look after themselves is key to TCP, and so each week they have time to play games together and enjoy the football pitch, climbing frame and swings on the site. We also have a shower block that was built in 2016 that the children can use, and they each have their own towel. For many of our children this is the only shower they have access to, so we are teaching them the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness. Alongside this we are passionate about developing the children's faith and helping them to grow in this area, and so we facilitate Bible studies and counselling in our programme. We are frequently visited by church pastors from Turi village who come and speak to the children and also teach them about the Christian faith and answer their questions.
Finally, a significant part of our programme is given to vocational training. We are aware that, for many at TCP, they will have to finish education early in order to start working to support their family. As such we want to do all we can to equip them for this and teach them a variety of skills which will enable them to find work more easily. At present we are running courses in sewing, knitting, carpentry, hairdressing, baking and cooking, computer skills and jewellery making. Since our chicken project began in 2017 we also teach the children how to care for and keep chickens, as this could be a vaulable tool for them later. The eggs produced from this project are sold to St Andrew's and other local vendors, which means the project is now self-sufficient, and so we hope that the children are also able to learn some basic business skills from this.
In addition to our own programme we are also grateful to have regular visits from the pupils of St Andrew's Prep school, who come to TCP both on weekdays and Saturdays to run activities and befriend our children. This is not only a blessing to TCP as it is great to have this support and see friendships developing, but also an instrumental experience for the pupils, as they learn to be aware of the needs around them and consider what they can do to engage with, and help to meet, these needs.
Rod is our TCP Coordinator. Based in St Andrew's school, Rod has been working with Turi Children's Project since 2015 when he moved to Turi with his wife, Carol. He assists with much of the daily running of TCP, the organisation of annual events, and extending our partnership with TCP supporters in the UK.
Michael, another member of our team who has been with TCP since the beginning, is our Facilities Manager. He oversees the maintenance and upkeep of the grounds and buildings, assists with the programme, and also runs our chicken project. He particularly enjoys teaching the children how to care for the chickens.
Emily cooks for the children at TCP every day, and has been part of our team since 2014. Emily also works at St Andrew's in the morning, and then comes to TCP. She enjoys ensuring that the children are eating enough and not going home hungry, which would sadly be the case if they didn't have food at TCP.
Sarah started working at TCP as a volunteer in 2013, and is a trained social worker.
Sarah oversees all activities at TCP, taking care of special cases and offer counselling to the children. One of her duties as a social worker is to do home visits, which helps us ensure we are assisting the most vulnerable and needy children in the Turi area.
Rose has also been a volunteer at TCP since we opened in 2013, and assists with delivering many of our activities,such as Bible studies and dancing. Rose mainly teaches the knitting class and has recently been showing the children how to crochet as well. She is grateful for the vast support TCP receives, and the facilities this has enabled us to build.
Dorcas started volunteering at TCP in 2017. She does a wonderful job teaching the children dressmaking, and in particular showing them how to sew school uniforms. Dorcas also helps lead the games and counselling and TCP, and enjoys seeing the chilren growing personally as a result of this support offered.
Timothy is the Team Leader for our volunteers at TCP, and has been part of TCP since 2013.
Timothy is involved in teaching the children many important skills, such as carpentry, shoe making and cutting hair, to equip them for future work. He also helps the children grow in their faith, and their academic studies.
Martha joined TCP in 2013. As well as playing games with the children and helping with our programme, She is trained on our computers and teaches the computer class for the children. They wouldn't normally have access to a computer, so this is such a valuable experience for them, and Martha loves to see the children growing in their skills.
Eunice has been part of the volunteer team at TCP since 2013, originally assisting with the preparation of the children's meals. Now, she is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the buildings on a daily basis, and assists more generally with the various activities in our programme.