For Georgie Hallet, who is just weeks away from swapping Kea for Kenya, it was never an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ she was going to live and work asa 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.

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.