Crisis Hits Home for Orphans after Director Is Jailed

By Otieno Owida
Daily Nation
October 11, 2010

The Home of Champions orphanage in Rachuonyo South District is in a crisis after its director and founder was sentenced to 20 years in jail mid last month over child sexual abuse.

Bishop Joseph Hawkins Agutu was charged in an Oyugis court towards the end of last year with three counts of defilement of a 16-year-old orphan at the home.

He was accused of committing indecent acts on diverse dates between September 8 and 14 last year while in a position of authority.

Seduced girl under his care

Bishop Agutu is said to have seduced the girl under his care at the children's home and had sex with her within the institution, contrary to section 24 (1) of the Sexual Offences Act No.3 of 2007.

The orphanage, home to more than 25 school-going orphans, currently has been left without anyone in charge. The children now fend for themselves.

A visit to the home by a Nation team on Monday revealed a grim situation for the children, following the director's imprisonment.

They lack food, security and other basic items.

The children, including candidates, who are due to sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations and some in secondary school, have not been going for lessons for the past two weeks after they were allegedly sent home for non-payment of fees. However, enquiries by the Nation at Oriang Primary School showed that the children were not sent home over fees as they alleged but had absconded classes out of the frustration they are facing.

The headteacher of Oriang Primary School, Mr Henry Odhiambo, denied sending any child home over levies, which include Sh30 for three sets of examinations per term and Sh30 for the community teacher.

"We have not sent any child home. The children from the home have a tendency of absenteeism, but this time round, it could be as a result of what has happened," he said.

According to one of the children, Maxmilla Moraa, a Form Two student, some the orphans have gone back to live on the streets.

Others who remained behind have joined hands in their bid to make ends meet.

The deputy district children officer, Mr Caleb Ochar, said the situation had degenerated into a crisis as the children lacked food and other basic items, besides being left alone without a caretaker, exposing them to more risks.

"This is failure on our part. These children cannot be left like this, they must be moved. But in the meantime, short-term solutions to provide food and other basic needs are being sought to ease the situation," he said.


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