About Familia Moja




After living in London for two years, I found myself growing tired of the city and was keen to experience a different culture. In order to understand the true reality faced by people and their communities in Sub Saharan Africa, I left London in October 2006 and travelled to East Africa for six months. I spent my time living and working with local grassroots development projects in a slum area of Nairobi, a coastal community of Tanzania and a rural village in central Uganda.

This was a life-changing trip which eventually led to myself assisting a local Kenyan friend Wambui Muiru to start an orphanage called Familia Moja Children’s Home in the village of Mang’u in Kenya in September 2007.

The name Familia Moja means ‘One Family’ in Swahili – our family started with 15 children and has now grown to care for 33 children ranging from the ages of 4 to 16. The home also supports 4 full-time and 2 part-time staff members, along with an outreach program that provides support for orphaned children living with relatives in the community.

In June last year, James Drinkwater and Lottie Consalvo, two friends from Melbourne living in Berlin approached myself about coming to Familia Moja to run art classes with the children. This was an opportunity too good to miss; a chance for the children to free their minds from the rigid Kenyan education system and express themselves through painting and drawing.

When I returned to Familia Moja in Kenya to commence building our very own home, I was joined by 16 volunteers, 2 of which were James and Lottie, to work in conjunction with local tradespeople and labourers to excavate the land, lay the foundation and floor of the home, complete the ground walls and complete an external building for storage which will serve as a shop to generate income once the home is completed.

James and Lottie split their weeks in Kenya, toiling away at the building site and running around Mang’u running art classes. Watching the children develop their artistic side over their six weeks was amazing, and the work they created blew our minds, so much that we had to bring some of it back to Australia to showcase their talent.

To complete the building of the home, an additional $60,000 needs to be raised.

31 Pillows is part of a bigger campaign to raise these funds, going direct to funding the continuation of the building of our permanent home at Familia Moja Children’s Home in Kenya.

If you wish to learn more about Familia Moja, please contact myself on the details below.

Asante sana,
Jess White
Co-Founder / Development Partner, Familia Moja Children’s Home