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SMILE 5 Kididima 

Our Kenyan Story

Smile (Supporting Mombasa in a Learning Experience) is the name the girls gave to our first project in 2005 and has become our “trademark” both here in the UK and in Mombasa.

International guiding and service projects are part of the guiding programme which aims to give young women the opportunity to have a greater understanding of world and cultural issues.


Our interest began in 1999 when we first heard of the needs of children in a specific school outside Mombasa. Many of the units started to sponsor children and in return receive information about the child. This simple act forged a link that we built on.

We felt that it would be a wonderful opportunity for the girls in the 14 -18 year age group to have the opportunity to visit Mombasa and work with the people and develop and understanding and appreciation of life in a third world. 

Our 2005 SMILE Project

“JAMBO”(That’s Swahili for Hello)


The project was the culmination of a link formed in 1999 by two Guiders from our division who visited Mikoroshoni School in Mombasa, Kenya, and saw at first hand the difficult conditions in which the children, aged from 3 to 14 were being taught. Since 2000, the whole division supported the school by sending donations of money and items for the children to use. All our members, including the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, were involved in some way.

Twelve leaders and fourteen girls travelled to the school for two weeks in July 2005. They painted, set up a library and worked with the children of all ages to share with them some of the things in life that we take for granted. It was both physically and emotionally demanding for the group but we all benefited as much as the school did.

To realise this project we raised £26,000 for flights, accommodation and materials, which required a huge amount of planning. The group is held monthly meetings, not only to discuss fundraising such as a sponsored walk of the “Staffordshire Way”, but also to train, prepare and plan the visit, which was the opportunity of a lifetime for us.

Below is a picture of the team that went to Mombasa.


Our 2008 SMILE TU “Lights” Project

Tumaini Orphanage was the brainchild and goal of Joan Simpson it is located in the village of Kiembeni near to Mombassa, Kenya.



The home opened in November 2005 after many years of raising funds and acquiring the land to build on. Everything has been donated.

As of 23rd May 2007 they had accepted 21 children. There will be room for 60 children. There are two dormitories, taking 30 girls and 30 boys who are infected, or affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. Most are orphaned.

The Home will also include a hospice for 10 terminally ill children who will be nursed and cared for, so that they may have a peaceful and loving end to their fragile lives.

Other children at the home will find a friendly and loving welcome and they will go on to a programme of diet, exercise and medication.

With this programme these children can grow to adulthood and carry their message of Hope to others

Money was raised to build a school which will house these children and children from surrounding villages. Along with education, the school's aim is to counsel the children, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

Tumaini - Home of Hope is their home for as long as they wish to stay.

34 members representing the division travelled to Kenya.


Our 2012 SMILE Project


The team before leaving for Kididima

In October 2012 a team of 25, 15 girls aged between 14 years and 18 years and 10 Adult Leaders travelled out to Kididima for two weeks and changed the lives of the children, the school, and people linked with the project. Kididima is near to Mtwapa about 1/2 hour from Mombasa City and lies in farming country.  There are approximately 5000 people living in mud made homes and have nothing, no electricity, but now they have water, we had sufficient funds and a donation to put water into the village in November 2009 and this has made a huge difference to their lives.

The international working project was to build a new school where smaller wattle and mud buildings were being washed away and unsafe. Fortunate to have the water well from 2009 in place at the school, the nine new classrooms and staffroom/office built before arrival were quickly prepared, and the walls painted in white, with a base border of green gloss to keep it looking cleaner for longer.


A village hut


Painting the classrooms

The team was split into three groups; two painting and decorating the classrooms, and the other teaching groups of the children outside. Playing with a parachute, several singing action games, and making all sorts of crafts was a great challenge. The first group were faced with 90 children when they had planned for 40, they re-designed the crafts so everyone was able to make a ½ paper plate face mask. The children were so happy to be learning new games and songs.


Over the weeks the classrooms were transformed, each classroom had been designed and painted by the girls and leaders, each with their own individual designs. Some depicted Noah’s Ark, wild African animals with Lions and Giraffes, maps, English themes of Big Ben and the Olympics, and nature on their walls to make the school a bright and interesting place for education.


A classroom decorated

and equipped for the

younger children


Classroom with larger desks for

the older children

New wooden desks and benches had been made by a local carpenter for the children, the teachers had new desks with a lockable drawer for their belongings, and notice boards for each classroom. Each classroom also had been stocked with a shelving unit with paper, pens, rulers, chalk, and stickers. The desks had named plaques placed on them from people who donated to the project.

The green school uniform for several children and two football kits were kindly donated to the project which made them look very smart.


The school and us singing action songs on arrival


Kenyan Guides including the ones

who visited Unity 2010 and us

Alongside working on the school, over the two weeks the team were able to visit various groups of people and places. The local Girl Guides and Scouts gained experience of painting with us and good friendships were formed. They were very helpful, and very friendly and chatty, singing songs whilst they painted generating a great working atmosphere.  A large campfire was attended at Shanzu to meet more from the Girl Guiding movement. Kenyan Guide Leader Christine had brought a group of Guides to Unity International Guide Camp in Staffordshire in 2010. It was a great reunion for the Leaders and Guides who had met her then to visit her Guide unit in Kenya, and go to her house for juice and cake. She was playing the Handful of Songs video when we arrived, this was quite surreal. Joshua the reverend of the church built following the 2005 SMILE Project also came to Unity 2010, and the team visited his church for a service of thanks and to visit the previous projects to see how they were still standing.

Brownies, guides, and scouts at Sirio

School next to Tumaini Orphanage


The SMILE team had enough spare time to enjoy a self funded two day safari to see the wildlife of Tsavo. Staying in a hotel on stilts the elephants and water buffalo wandered underneath, and Lions were seen close up in the safari vans.


Fundraising for the project will continue until the toilet block has been completed for the school. So far the shell of the building has been erected with help from the villagers, and the tank, plumbing and drainage are required to complete it. We will need to raise roughly £25,000 to complete the building, and more for the health centre and community hall.


The whole team of SMILE 3 had an amazing experience which they will always cherish. They have all learned more about themselves, and not to take the opportunities we have in life for granted.

Our 2014 SMILE Project


The Team Ready to set off the next day

Smile 4 is was team of 25, 19 girls aged between 14yrs & 18yrs and 6 Adult leaders who traveled out to Kididima Near Mombasa, Kenya. The Work carried on this phase 2 project allowed the opportunity to make a difference and change the lives of a whole community and lives of the Smile 4 Team


Smile 4 finally got to Mombasa in October 2015. The first time we saw the school that we had heard so much about was a tear jerking moment. The girls we keen to start work and did a fantastic job. They sanded and painted a community room to create 2 classrooms that could be converted into a church and meeting room as required. They created a health room, not a sick bay but a room to educate and to help the community to improve its health. All this whilst running a summer school for up to 50 children at a time ranging in age from 5-16yrs.


After work the girls experienced Mombasa life. Attending an orphanage for children affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. Shanzu is a guiding run project educating and training young women with disabilities this was a real eye opener.


The safari was the relax time the girls needed, we were so excited when we could see an elephant 2 miles away only to have one 10 feet away an hour later.