For Georgie Hallett, who is just weeks away from swapping Kea for Kenya, where she grew up, it was never an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ it was that she was going to live and work as a missionary in Africa.

As she prepares to take on the role of Manager of the Marejesho Family Project in Kisumu, Kenya, Georgie’s enthusiasm for the task ahead is enviable. What started as a simple fostering project by two local women, Georgie hopes that with support and guidance from her board of trustees in Kenya and the UK, it will restore dignity and stability to vulnerable children in Kisumu, Kenya. The project believes that children belong in families, and it has developed four projects to see this happen; family preservation, foster care support, family-style homes and evangelism and discipleship. Marejesho is in fact the Swahili word for ‘restoration’ and the projects vision follows this idea throughout all its work.

Georgie with some children from Kisumu

Orphaned children in Kenya are currently at huge risk and are usually placed in large orphanages despite research proving that it is emotionally and mentally harmful to them. For some children, family support or foster care is not an option so for these children the Marejesho Family Project will provide the next best thing – a loving home with a Kenyan housemother and other foster siblings. Much planning has gone into the size, style and location of these houses to ensure they are not ‘orphanages’, but homes where these children will grow as sons and daughters.

After years of visiting various orphan care institutions in different parts of Africa, Georgie began questioning the traditional model of orphan care:

“I was really aware that there were lots of people wanting to help orphans in Africa but there was something missing. We wouldn’t dream of putting a child in the UK into an orphanage yet it seems acceptable in Africa – why is this?”

It was not until three years later when she had completed her degree in International Education at Bath Spa University that Georgie returned to Africa and fate landed her in the town of Kisumu in Kenya. She was actually staying with a pastor in Nairobi who fostered orphaned children and it was on their return journey from Kitale that they were forced to pull over due to flooded roads and impending nightfall (driving at night in Kenya is too dangerous). Finding themselves close to the area he grew up in, Pastor Samuel decided they would spend the night in Kochieng near the town of Kisumu.

“We drove in and something clicked, it was just as I’d imagined it would be, even down to the layout of the compound.”

Georgie spent a few days in the town and it was then that Pastor Samuel mentioned that members of the project, that was currently in its early stages of development, had been praying for a manager and he asked her if she would consider taking on the position.
Although apprehensive about the decision and having prayed to God for a sign to help her make the right choice, Georgie explains:

“Even from the age of 11 I knew I was going to be a Missionary. I knew I wanted to work in Africa with children so looking back, my whole life, education and pre-school work has been geared towards me working on a project like this.”

Georgie is not short on experience for this sort of project. She was just 17 when she first went to Kenya to volunteer with The Mercy Rescue Trust who work with babies and young children that have been abandoned or abused in the Kitale region. Despite preparing herself for the worst-case scenarios, she said she loved it from the moment she set foot in the rescue centre.

“It was everything I ever wanted, within days I was bombing around the town on the back of a motorbike with a baby on my back and one in my arms!”

It will not all be plain sailing with Georgie’s new project though. Practically she has a lot to overcome. Her managerial role requires her to learn many new skills on the job. Despite being able to speak some Swahili, she will need to get to grips with the Kisumu tribal tongue of Luo as well as having to leave the area for a short period of time, just as the project gets going due to the looming elections in the summer. Kisumu is seen as the political capital of Kenya and has previously experienced deadly riots during the election season so it has been deemed too dangerous for Georgie to stay in the area at this time.

Despite it being just 30 minutes from the city of Kisumu, the village of Kochieng, where the project is based, is extremely remote and is deep in the bush. They live in mud huts and survive on subsistence farming. The current generation are the first to wear modern clothes and Georgie is thought to be the first white person to visit the village.

As well as packing up her life in Truro, Georgie is currently fundraising for the project, initially trying to cover her living costs. Once she has done this, it will enable her to start the building work for the project.

If you would like to help or get involved in the project, you can do so in three different ways:

  1. Help spread the word – share the website or like their facebook page Georgie will be updating her blog regularly from Kenya and we will be featuring this on the Diocese of Truro website.
  2. If you have skills to offer then please get in touch with Georgie. She is specifically looking for people to join the UK Support Board who have skills in social work, web design, marketing, fundraising and events. You can contact Georgie on
  3. Sponsor or donate money to the project. The current priority is to cover Georgie’s living costs, which are approximately £170 per week. This will cover her basic living needs such as rent, food, medical insurance and a guard dog.