|It is with great joy and gratitude that we are able to start this News letter with the happy news that each and every child and staff member at Zaidi ya Dreams survived but devastated to say that we have lost everything in an electrical fire that decimated out home.
At around 8pm on Thursday the 15th of February the children were in bed. Some had slept while others were still awake. Some rooms had power but some did not. Ivyonne got up to use the toilet and then went to the living room and calmly told the Aunties that there was a fire on the ceiling of the bathroom. An electrical fault had caused a fire which was quickly spreading It was in the bathroom ceiling by the wall bordering the boy’s bedroom. Because the fire was above them they could not put it out. The water supply had been low and so there was no water in the taps. They tried brining water from a bucket in the kitchen but it was of no use. The children were quickly removed from the house. This was a difficult task as some were asleep, covered in blankets, in the dark. There was some confusion as some panicked. In the ensuing chaos, it was mistakenly believed that a child had been left behind and remained in the house. Rachel Sada and Naomi ran back into the house to search each bed. At this time some neighbors including Steve, had jumped the fence having been alerted by the screams. He was able to get a blanket and douse it with water. Sada had checked all the beds and found no child. She was making her way out of the house when she choked and collapsed from the smoke. Steven and Naomi were able to drag her outside where Naomi started began mouth to mouth resuscitation. We are so glad we were able to train them in First aid. Steven not knowing that Sada had already cleared the rooms continued to search the home covered in a wet blanket. As he was coming out he was almost to the end of the hall when to roof collapsed behind him. He just made it out with his life. Sada came around quickly and was ok. Rachel was treated with smoke inhalation while the others had no physical harm.
The children were moved from the house and walked to the home of one of the staff member’s houses. They were later divide up to other homes. The neighbors took over the task of battling the fire until our management team arrived. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community who have assisted both on the day and in the following days.
Within ten minutes the entire house was on fire except for Mums bedroom which was at the far end of the house and was spared because it had no crawl space. Mum was not at home as she had traveled to visit her family in Australia. The first fire engines got lost. Someone had to go by motorbike to find them and bring them to the home. They could not access the home because a tree branch blocked the way over the road. They had to cut it down before being able to proceeded. The two trucks ran out of water and were unable to contain the fire. Two more came with a tanker of water. There was no way of putting out the fire. All attention was paid to stopping the fire spreading to the neighbors house The fire was not under control until 1.30am. The house continued to burn for three days.
The children were divided up in to different homes where they played for a time before sleeping. Over the next few days they were moved around before finally settling all together in a friend’s home in Loresho when mum arrived from Australia as soon as she could, on Sunday. We were all safe here sleeping on mattresses that were quickly donated. All of our immediate needs have been met by an amazing outpouring of donations of clothes and food since we came out with only the pajamas that the kids were wearing. The children are now in Joska in a temporary home for five more months.
We have started to raise funds as we continue to look for a way forward. We have set up a GoFund me page and people are responding well. Please share it with your friends http://www.gofundme.com/zyd-rise
The children and staff are receiving counseling and Play therapy to help them deal with this horrific event.
They miss their home and some fear that they will be separated. We have assured them that they are safe and will remain together. We really need to get them some stability very fast.
We would like to thank you all for supporting our home this far. We know that some of you have really contributed greatly to the growth of the home. We understand that is heartbreaking for you also to see all of it go up in flames. We thank you for continuing to support us anyway.
Now that we are safe, we have food, cloths and temporary shelter we are planning on how to proceed from here. The Children’s office will not allow a children’s home to settle anywhere with less than a five-year lease. It seems so incredibly difficult to get that. On option may be to build our own place. We are getting offers for building supplies if we could just get our own land. If we had that then we could build something that had fire exits, fire windows, wiring that is safe and up to code. It would mean that the children have a permanent home and can feel safe and secure. It’s so sad these kids have all gone through massive trauma before coming to us and now they are going through it again. If we could raise a substantial amount of money it would allow us to do make sure it never happens again. If we had a place of our own, we would also be able to expand our vision to have a school that gives a high quality education without corporal punishment. We are praying and requesting guidance on the best way forward.