In the sixth part of our special look at how a Blackpool hotelier set up a children’s home in Kenya, former Gazette Women’s Editor Elizabeth Gomm focuses on little Natasha’s story.
THE family ethos on which Sue Hayward’s Happy House is founded is all important to mum-of-two Andrea Manders.
Andrea, of Poulton, who sponsors two-year-old Natasha, says: “Natasha, a newborn, was one of the first children to come to the Happy House when it opened in March 2010.
“That’s when I became a member of her sponsor family and she when she became a part of our family.
“I receive progress reports, photos and verbal reports from Sue, Happy House staff and from visitors.
“It is truly a family which extends way beyond the walls of the Happy House. We have made good friends with two other members of Natasha’s sponsor family.”
Former Blackpool hoteliers Sue and Dave Hayward have created a haven for needy children in Watamu, Kenya.
The child sponsor scheme means many children now have a more secure and safe future away from neglect and sadly often abusive families.
Natasha, born to a teenage mother from a sprawling slum, was at serious risk of neglect when she joined the Happy House family.
Andrea, married to Paul, added: “Our children Ellena, 13, and Alex, 12, are learning all about Natasha’s life and that of her brothers and sisters.
“Everyone involved with the Happy House all share a common bond – the children.
“Natasha is now a healthy, happy, two-year-old – how different it would have been without the Happy House. I feel a very special “motherly” love for her and I’m proud of her achievements. I love reading about daily life on the blog and on the website.
“I’ve put together a photo album of all the pictures I have of her. I hope that one day, in the not too distant future, I will be able to give it to her myself along with a big hug!”
Andre says the money she pays to sponsor Natasha equals the sum she used to spend on cakes and chocolate each month.
She added: “It stops me doing what I shouldn’t be doing anyway, and helps to change an important little life.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Happy House has launched a ‘Find a Friend Appeal’.
It costs £20 a month to sponsor a Happy House child through Blackpool based charity, Children of Watamu (UK reg: 1098731)
You can also help by fund-raising or making a donation.
Please call Elizabeth Gomm on 07905 130589 (10am-6pm).
READ OUR PREVIOUS STORIES ON THE HAPPY HOUSE