On Thursday 27th September, 160 guests gathered in the garden of the grand setting of Middle Temple, London for the Nyumbani UK and the Hotcourses Foundation 2018 Gala Dinner. Nyumbani is a small charity working in Kenya to support children born into extreme poverty, mostly orphans whose families have been affected by HIV / AIDS. The event was both a celebration of their achievements over the past 26 years and a reminder of what remains to be achieved.

In order to make this progress, further investment into their existing programmes is required and so a fundraising element was incorporated into the evening through pledges, a live auction and a silent auction. Thanks to the generosity of Hotcourses Group and other sponsors, 100% of funds raised from the evening went towards improving the lives of the 1,000 children in Nyumbani Village by supporting their village schools; Hotcourses Primary School and the Lawson High School. The Village was started in 2004 to create a self-sustaining community by matching orphans with elders, the generations left behind by the HIV pandemic. Grandparents and ten orphans live together as family units. In addition to the schools, the Village has a medical centre, craft workshop, town hall, farm and sports facilities as well as guest accommodation. It’s not only about looking after the children in the present, but also about educating the children to a high standard, creating the foundations for students to become independent so that they are able to create a better future for themselves and generations that follow.

From three poor and abandoned children - orphans who had been left to die - Nyumbani has grown to three thriving programs helping 4,000 children every year; the Nyumbani Children’s Home, the Nyumbani Village in Kitui and Lea Toto, our community outreach program in Nairobi. Our work, however, is certainly not over. According to Unitaid, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds in Africa. We want to prevent children from falling victim to this trend. We focus tonight on the power of education – that our schools will show these children the road to long, productive and happy lives.

Celeste Shirvani – Chairperson of Nyumbani UK

During the evening, ex Wales lacrosse player, Storm Trentham spoke passionately about her new role continuing on from her life in sport as Founder and Head Coach for Kenya Women’s Lacrosse. Storm’s commitment and perseverance has ensured the development of a Kenyan women’s lacrosse team whose goal is to qualify for the World Championships in just a couple of years’ time and then participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Los Angeles – the first African team to do so. Her belief in the role of both sport and education to open these young people’s eyes to the opportunities that lie before them and to break down the perceived barriers that may have previously existed made for an informative and inspiring speech.

An enjoyable and successful evening, COINS Foundation were delighted to have been able to support the event both through the contribution of several auction prizes and in attendance and we are proud to be able to work together with Nyumbani UK to continue their fantastic work.

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