WATOTO MEANS "CHILDREN" IN SWAHILI
Watoto World Center officially opened in September 2013. WWC is now home to 20 children, ranging from 4 to 15 years of age, all of whom attend primary school during the day. We wish to accommodate more children, but because the home is at capacity and resources are limited, we are forced to turn many away.
Short term, WatotoWorld's mission is to rescue and rehabilitate more orphans and vulnerable children, while at the same time expanding the new WatotoWorld facility. In addition, we continue to work on self-sustaining projects while providing the necessary support and education for eventual independence.
Currently, most projects of this kind are concentrated within major urban centers. WatotoWorld's focus is on the rural hinterlands. With success in this area, it is our goal to motivate institutions, government and donor agencies and individuals to go to work in these neglected areas that present a socio-economic time bomb.
With your support, WatotoWorld can continue to address the critical need to reach rural areas and promote social and economic empowerment to disadvantaged people. Thank you for your consideration.
WatotoWorld, Inc. does not deduct administrative costs from donations.
100% of funds raised go directly to the children.
WatotoWorld, Inc. is dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished orphans in Kenya, by doing everything possible to ensure the children are given the basic human needs to survive. With love, compassion and a commitment to education and sustainability, we strive to ensure each child will be provided every opportunity to reach his and her fullest potential.
WatotoWorld, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
10 years ago Simmie Issenberg’s life was changed forever. She planned a trip to Kenya to help impoverished children. She figured if she could change just one child’s life for the better, then she will have succeeded. During that trip she fell in love with the children of rural Rescue Center– All 26 of them!
Countless trips later, she has earned four names. The children call her “Auntie Simmie” or “Mum,” the respected patrons of the Kiserian community call her “Mama Africa,” but she is called “Mama Simba” by those who have inflicted harm among the children in one way or another. Simba means lion. It is a good name. She fiercely protects her cubs.
In return, Simmie has been rewarded by the enormously progressive changes in the children whose short lives had previously been consumed with neglect, abuse and emotional trauma. She has witnessed the bright spirit of these children as they heal and begin to thrive. Even more inspiring is the strong sense of community the children have cultivated.
They take care of one another, as a family should.
Simmie now refers to Kenya as her ‘home-away-from-home’. It has not been an easy road. Corruption and selfishness have limited the amount of progress she could make at the Rescue Center. But where there is an obstacle there is always a way around.
Simmie has learned to work within a convoluted system, how to be extremely resourceful and assertive while maintaining her integrity. She is known in the markets as a force to be reckoned with, as she is intolerant of corruption and refuses to be exploited.
In early 2013, WatotoWorld was given land by our extremely loyal Kenyan friend, Tony. We have built a new home on that land, away from the corruption and difficulties that plagued the previous home. Now near our 5 year anniversary, the kids and the center are flourishing - we have fresh water, solar powered electricity, and a thriving farm. Grateful!
Simmie understands that the joy, heartbreak, frustration and cultural differences are simply part of the process. She now has a network of people that can be trusted and the perspective that comes from knowing the territory. Simmie’s focus can now stay on the future- building a new community to better serve these children.
Simmie’s love for the children is everlasting. The children are more resilient than you can imagine. They are brimming with kindness and good humor. They are worth every moment. In fact, Simmie's entire immediate family have also fallen in love with the children and are deeply involved.
Simmie’s departures back to Boston always seem to come too quickly but they are never permanent. Mama Simba always returns shortly to the watoto (children). And she is always greeted with enormous smiles and big hearts.
"On one particular visit...a teacher came out to greet me and said 'We always know when Auntie Simmie is here, because the children carry themselves with pride and confidence. Their mood is lifted and they are all so happy.'
I asked this teacher what it is like when I am not here, and she responded simply 'The children pray for you.''