Giving Back

HE Awards Ceremony Raises Funds for Education of Kenyan Orphans

The Hotcourses Foundation and Nyumbani UK have again joined forces for the annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards in an effort to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the Nyumbani projects in Kenya. Supporting over 1000 HIV-positive orphaned children, Nyumbani is centred on education and comprises of a children’s home, schools and a community village.

The awards ceremony was hosted on the 19th of April at the Brewery in central London with over 400 guests attending. Based on a record-breaking 36,423 student reviews from around the UK, this year’s ceremony honoured top-performing higher education institutions across 15 categories, including University of the Year, Job Prospects and International.

Talent from Nyumbani

The education-centric approach of the Nyumbani family was showcased at the glitzy, black-tie event. Each guest was gifted with a colourful hand-crafted pencil basket, lovingly weaved by grandmothers who live in the village. Nyumbani UK Chair, Celeste Shirvani explains, “The grandmothers come to the village from local communities, often because they’ve lost their own children to HIV AIDS. On arrival, they are given a new household and tasked to care for a group of 12 children. It is this family structure on which the Nyumbani Village is built.”

Colourful weaved pencil baskets were placed on each table.

To set the scene for the Giving Back category at the awards ceremony, a video of the Nyumbani Village was screened and guests were encouraged to make donations via text message.

Driving Education

Since 2005, The Hotcourses Foundation and Nyumbani UK have worked closely together and have raised tens of thousands of pounds each year. These funds go towards paying for school fees, teacher salaries, books, desks, uniforms and other basic supplies, as well as building schools and supporting the Nairobi Children’s Home where 100 HIV-positive orphans live.

“We are currently supporting 1000 children who would otherwise have no access to a solid academic foundation or to an extensive network of support,” explains Celeste. “The funds raised through the WUSCAs will make a tremendous difference – even the smallest contribution goes a long way,” she says.

Team Effort

Pauline Vallance who heads up the Hotcourses Foundation says that the secret to effectively supporting the Nyumbani Village lies in voluntary assistance from in-house employees, as well as support from top management. She explains, “Our outreach team is made up of truly passionate individuals who want to make a meaningful difference to the lives of others. The work we do through the foundation has served as a drawcard for prospective employees interested in working for Hotcourses Group.”

Over the years Pauline and her team have organised cake sales, set up in-office kiosks and run marathons in an effort to raise funds for the children of Nyumbani. Some employees also opt to sponsor a child’s education through a small monthly donation. These contributions help to provide enough food, a safe place to live, medical support and an education. In return, sponsors receive letters and photos from their sponsored child.

Children of Nyumbani (photo from Nyumbani UK)

New Perspectives

After spending time at the Nyumbani Village in Kenya, Celeste concludes, “I love the sounds of the children when you visit the village and the colours of the land and the simplicity of life. Nyumbani makes you truly appreciate the basics of family, home, health and education. By giving of ourselves financially or through time and talent, we give meaning and perspective to our own lives.”

Find out more:

Read more about the traditions of Nyumbani’s weaved baskets here.
Watch the Nyumbani video here.

The Hotcourses Foundation and Nyumbani UK continue to actively raise funds and welcome further donations. If you would like to make a contribution to the children of Nyumbani, text WUSC45 followed by £5 or £10 to 70070 or email to sponsor a child.

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