Congratulations to Our First Graduates

Jennifer proudly shows her certificate

Eunice is so proud

You cannot believe how excited I am to show the young women who have recently graduated from our Vocational College in Bondo, Siaya County.

These young women were the first students and we all grew together. Finding our way through the educational maze finding the best venue for the college, working under difficult circumstances but, we came through all of this proud and  triumphant.

We have moved the college to its new permanent home in Kisumu and we have added carpentry and arts and crafts to our skills offerings and I will be posting about this soon.

The graduation ceremony was attended by a representative of the First Lady of Siaya County, Mrs  Judith Adala, and the Assistant Chief for East Yimbo , Pala sub-county. Also attending and helping with the presentation was Mr Peter Odihambro, The Chief Officer for Vocational Training in Siaya County.

Representatives from the Great Lake Foundation and parents and families came to congratulate the students. We heard from the Teachers and of course thanks to Bishop Phoebe, Purity Onyango and Pauline Gayah, who have worked so hard to make this happen.

However the stars of the day were our students who overcame so much to complete this course and bring new skills and hope to their families. We are so very proud of you all.

Lining up to receive their certificates


A Mother speaks about her daughter and the course

Our Students. All lined up in their graduation gowns and with their sewing machines

Receiving their certificates

None of this could have been achieved without the help and guidance from “Tools For Self Reliance, who provided the machines and hand held us through the process of setting up this college. So many Rotary clubs in District 1110 who trusted us and who willingly supported us financially, in particular Boscombe & Southbourne, Locks Heath & Bournemouth. (I will post a full list later)

We would also like to thank and pay tribute to the management and volunteers of the Ichthus Charity Shop , Totton, who have sponsored the teachers. Dear Friends, Rotarians look what You have achieved, YOU have changed the lives of these girls forever and have enabled us to keep going with this project.

Phoebe’s Family at Rotary District 1110 Conference

President of Bournemouth Rotary with Sandra Lewis. Bournemouth have been great supporters of our Sewing Academy

Jo Shannon from Tools For Self-Reliance and Sandra Lewis what a partnership.

This time last weekend three of the team at Phoebe’s Family where in the House of Friendship at the Rotary District 1110 Conference.

It was held on the beautiful Island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands. It was a well attended conference and we were pleased with the interest that the Rotary Club in this district showed in our charity work in Kenya.

We were stationed next to our dear friends and partners Tools For Self Reliance, (TFSR) and this added to the experience for us, as we could talk about the Sewing Academy in Kisumu that we have opened with help from TFSR.

We had so much we could have shared at this conference but we settled on the Sewing Academy, the washable sanitary kits and our chicken farm.

Our thanks to all those wonderful people who supported us and our thanks also goes to the Rotary team who organised such a great Conference. Some names to mention, DG Alan Smith Conference organiser Mike Smith, Registrar Debbie Dunford and Mary Pike who worked tirelessly to make every thing run smoothly.

The added bonus for us this year was the 14 Locks Heath Rotarians who attended the conference and we gave fellowship a whole new meaning.

Three trustees at the conference 2018

Thanks to Lynnes Girls

One of the great things about running a charity is that it brings to together with wonderful people. Well I have never met “Lynnes Girls”, they are a group of ladies that sew. They took it upon themselves to sew for our SEW FOR ME campaign and sewed an enormous amount of sanitary kits for our girls and women in Kenya.  So this is a very public thank you to your amazing contribution. Women here helping women and girls that they will never meet, isn’t this the best of humanity. When people start moaning about the state of things I smile and think of Lynnes Girls, and I know there are lots of wonderful people in the world we just need to make sure  we see the good that is everywhere.

Packing the sanitary kits to ship to Kenya

Volunteer Jackie makes up and packs this beautiful kits


The Sewing Academy – A plan is a dream taken seriously

In 2016 we returned from our visit with a dream and a mission, to build a sewing school and to access sanitary wear for the women of Kenya.

To go there this year and stand in the middle of our Dream was amazing, thanks to the great work of our team in Kisumu and Bondo.

We were greeted with love, respect,dancing and singing, an out pouring of joy and hope from our students.

We talk to the students and heard their stories, some are heartbreaking. We show them the sanitary kits that they will receive and tell them we they will each have a kit. They were over joyed and there is more Dancing and singing.

The students will, take their exam in November of this year so we look at the work. We identify the students who will need more help. The staff are there to help the students succeed.

We could not do any of this without our Partner Tools For Self -Reliance. Thank you for everything you do Jo and Sarah and the Netley team.

Meeting the students for the first time

Some of the students bring their children, we need a playpen

Freya holds up trousers David has made

Kenyan Trip 2018 An Eventful Time

On the 10th of February this year Becky Sutton, Freya Nicholson (both Trustees) and I left Heathrow Airport bound for Kisumu Kenya. This was a first for Becky and Freya and there was much excitement.

We took 9 cases packed with things for the orphanage, schools and the Sewing Academy .

We were welcomed by a beautiful Nairobi sunrise and we flew on to Kisumu where we were welcomes by the Women and members of the Great Lake Foundation. Meeting old friends and making new ones is always exciting but also overwhelming.

Then on  to the hotel to settle in and then on to meet PHOEBE and her wonderful family at the church in Kisumu. We had a tight schedule but spending time with these amazing women and children is what our visit was all about.

Then we met up with the Bishops who support Bishop PHOEBE and we were able to give Tunu Phoebe’s Grand daughter the shoes we had brought for her, thankfully they fitted and I think she wore them to bed.

The next day was to be the first day of Becky Sutton’s training for primary teachers so it was something to eat and back to the hotel to catch up on sleep. Please watch this space

Tunu loved her shoes

A beautiful welcome to Kenya sunrise in Nairobi

Now 12 more girls can train

Yesterday John and I delivered 12 more sewing machines to Barking to be wrapped and packed by the staff of Amba Forwarding http://ambaforwarding.com. Another huge thank you to Kris Shah who helps us when ever he can.  These machines are headed for Kisumu , Kenya to the Godsent Sewing Academy.

This project is based on the model from TFRS (Tools for Self Reliance) http://tfsr.org This marvellous charity collects, refurbishes tools and sends them in kits to Africa. They currently send to 6 countries and although Kenya is not one of those 6, the staff have helped us provide sewing machines and haberdashery boxes to our new sewing academy in Kisumu.

The trainees regardless of what skill they are learning also have training in, life skills, nutrition, HIV/aid prevention and business management. Our girls complete a certificated course and then get to keep the machine they have been using. They can then start their own small enterprise, feed their family and educate their siblings or children. This is of course life changing.

TFSR have a small staff and a huge band of volunteers who beaver away to recycle and upgrade tools for Africa, we couldn’t do this without you  so, “Thank You”, to all.

We have to raise funds to send these machines so if you would like to know more about how you can help contact us through this website or info@phoebesfamily.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sandra and Jo see the machines safely packed ready to start the journey

What came first the Chickens or the Eggs?

Well in the case of the Phoebe’s Family, “Chicken for a Child Campaign”, it was definitely the chickens. Just to remind you we sold beautiful gift cards designed by Penny Timmis. Each card represented a chicken in the new chicken houses in Bondo built by Just one Africa. We ran our campaign from just before Christmas 2016 to Easter 2017. These cards were (and still are the perfect gift). Now look what happened.

These eggs will change lives

These Chickens are kept in amazing conditions they roam in large pens during the day and go in at night

Lots of big chickens

Sustainability in action breeding our own chickens













Our sincere thanks to everyone who sold our cards and even more important are the people who bought these cards. This project is such a success and the women involved are learning about animal husbandry across a wide range of topics. This in turn will make them feel proud and then it gets better because the money raised will pay for the children to attend school.

Watch out for more posts as we have lots of exciting news.

There is always GOOD News some where in Phoebe’s Family

A quick rest whilst the records are updated

Kenya is a beautiful country with wonderful people but like all countries there will be times when there are problems and August 2017 has been one of these times. General elections are so emotive and surrounded by so much fear, lets hope the worst has gone and that there are great things to come.

One of these great things was a Free Medical Camp , organised through a long standing friend of Phoebe. He came over with seven people from Colorado U.S.A and treated 3,900 people in two site.

These amazing people started in Kisumu and were there for 2 days. The worked around the clock, helping everyone they could.

The medical services have been out of action except for extreme emergencies for over three months. Most of the Doctors and nurses appear to be striking. I am sure there are some who are not but this puts the whole community under enormous pressure and unnecessary pain.

The team  moved on to Bondo where they treated many members of the Great Lake Foundation, a network set up by Phoebe and her colleagues to motivate and initiate small community businesses throughout a huge area of Kisumu, Bondo and Siaya. Once again this team of wonderful medics worked tirelessly and treated the elderly, children and widows of the Bondo area.

There may be bad things happening but when you look there are ALWAYS ordinary people doing Extra-Ordinary things in this world.

A huge thank you to the, “Magnificent Seven”, from Colorado USA.

“Rotary and Peace the World Over”

This is the toast we finish our meetings with at Locks Heath Rotary, and many other Rotary groups and meetings all over the world will also toast to this. But today we will be toasting to peace and order in the beautiful country of Kenya, where they are holding their General Elections.

These beautiful girls lost their parents in a Kenyan Election massacre don’t let this happen again

Politicians all over the world are supposed to be working for the people of their countries but sometimes this is not so. Democratic elections should be about freedom to choose, but again this is not always so.

I could write much more about my views on Politics but I will not. I will ask you all regardless of you faith or beliefs to spare a thought or say a prayer for Kenya today and for the next few days. In the hope that the wonderful people of Kenya get what they deserve, PEACE, JUSTICE, CHOICE and GREAT LEADERSHIP.

We are now a U.K. Registered Charity

We are so pleased to be able to announce to all of our wonderful supporters that we have gone through th registration process and are now a registered charity.

Our number is 1173109. This will show on the Charity commission website within 48 hours.

A big thank you to Naked Fund Raising who were so helpful, and all of the Trustees who supported the application.

We are so proud and privileged to be supporting Phoebe Onyango’s work in Kenya.

Here are just a few reminders of the work that is taking place. If you would like to support us then please contact us through  info@phoebe’sfamily.com


Rows of Kale

Mama Phoebe and Purity giving out the shoeboxes

We are so proud of our new school equipment. Thank you Roborough and Locks Heath Rotary Clubs


Peanut processing they are picked and roasted and processed by these wonderful ladies

Louise is settling in to her new home

The lovely Risely Family from Australia who sponsor 2 children

Rotarian Elaine Conniff collecting from “Material Things”

Made by Beryl whilst it rained !!

Clever ideas to be sustainable

The Grand children are very excited