THE WOMAN WITH A HEART OF GOLD
Summary. Florence Makau, a 49-year-old Kenyan woman, has spent the past decade as the primary caregiver for over 100 homeless children in Machakos County. Moved by the heartbreaking sight of desperate street children, Florence transformed her small apartment into the Bondeni Children’s Rescue Center, now Nuru Children’s Home. Closing her business, she used her savings to provide for their physical, emotional, and educational needs. Despite financial struggles, Florence remains committed, selling her assets to support the center. Florence's selfless dedication stands as a beacon of hope for the vulnerable, showcasing the transformative power of compassion.
Profile. Meet Florence Makau, a 49-year-old mother to one hundred and six children. Only three are biologically hers. For the last ten years, Florence gave up everything to become the primary caregiver of hopeless and homeless street children who were roaming the streets of her hometown, Mavoko sub-county, Machakos County in Kenya. Her passion to care for the children was triggered by the desperation on the faces of the children she would meet in the streets every day as she went to run her business. The sight of the filthy, dirty children wearing tattered clothes, who looked hungry and tired, roaming and begging for food, was heartbreaking for her.
She tried to search for governmental shelters to house the children to no avail. Soon, her deep compassion for the children, coupled with her desire to see the children have a home and a decent life, pushed her to open up her home for the children. She says that when she realized that no one was trying to help them, she knew deep down in her heart that she was being called to make a difference and make change in the lives of those children by setting an example and being the change she desired to see.
With the zeal of a warrior and the heart of a mother, she opened the doors to her small apartment to the first eight children in 2014. She became their mother and provided them with the basic needs. As soon as the community got to know her work, they started bringing in more children. Even the local police usually bring children who have been abandoned or are suffering violence in their homes to her rescue center. With the growing number of children needing a home, she has been forced to move homes several times to accommodate them. They currently live in a slum-like area where she can afford to rent more rooms for the growing number of children.
With so many children under her care from all sorts of backgrounds, she couldn’t continue running her business. Florence decided to close her business to become a full-time mother to these children who knew no love or care. Some came to her very ill, others abused physically, emotionally, and even sexually, and she felt the need to personally nurse and support them in their journey of healing. It was not easy for her. She had chosen and embarked on a very tough journey in all aspects – physically, emotionally, and financially. She needed to constantly seek medical care, mental health support, and education for the children. Florence used her meager savings to help her cater to the needs of the children.
The toughest part of this journey for her has been sufficiently providing for these children. It has been a constant struggle. But she has remained committed to being their mother through all seasons. In the 10 years since she founded Bondeni Children’s Rescue Center, now known as Nuru Children’s Home, it has been her burden to love, care for, provide for, and protect the children. At some point, she had to sell the few assets she had acquired to help facilitate the center, the home to her over 100 children. Everyday is a step of faith. Without any consistent support to run the home and selling her assets to keep the home moving while not having a job to keep her financial health well established, she is risking the financial stability of her future. That takes courage and strength to take such a bold step.
For Florence, watching the children smile at her and call her "mom" with the warmest, most beautiful smiles touches her heart and makes all the sacrifices worth it! She is grateful to God for providing for the children through the voluntary services of a few well-wishers who support the children through donations. Her passion to love, care for, and provide for these children gives her a lot of fulfillment and energy to keep going. Florence has made saving these homeless children, giving them somewhere they can call home, and loving them as a mother her life’s mission. Helping those in dire need, especially these little ones with no power to protect themselves from predators and the harsh realities of life, has been deeply satisfying for her.
As of now, two of the children have graduated from university. One has already found a job and chose to continue living in the rescue center and use his salary to support his other ‘brothers and sisters’. Six of the children are in university, three are in college, five are clearing high school, and the others are in primary and kindergarten.
Florence, you are a Giraffe Hero!! A beacon of hope for the helpless and the hopeless. We see every sacrifice you've made, every tear you have shed, and every challenge you have faced and not given up. Your unwavering commitment to changing the lives of these children speaks volumes of your indomitable spirit. Thank you for selflessly dedicating yourself, not just to their present, but to their future. May your legacy forever shine brightly in the hearts of the children you have touched. And those you continue to touch.