Utugi means grace in Kikuyu and it is through grace that, after visiting the area in 1998, a small group in Haddenham set up a charity, now called “The Utugi Street Children Kenya Project”, to build a home for street children in the Kirinyaga Diocese. Following this the diocese set up the ”Utugi Children’s Centre” in 2000, to work with street children, and build a centre with a home, workshop and classrooms. In 2003 the Government allocated land to the project at Wang’uru, and plans were drawn up.
They started with a feeding programme and projects, including carpentry training, schooling and small businesses, set up and funded by church groups in Hampshire and the USA. Meantime people in the Haddenham Benefice were raising money for building the home. By January 2004 £34,000 had been raised and construction began. In April 2005 the first children were admitted and at last they had somewhere permanent to live in a safe, loving, Christian environment. The co-ordinator for Welfare for the diocese, Rev’d Phyllis Kibira, still travels to different towns organising the feeding programmes, assisted by the local churches, forming good relationships with the children and gaining their trust.