Orphans find refuge in home built from 50,000 plastic bottles

Restoration Children Home, a magnificent house that hosts 38 orphans in Rabai Kilifi County built using 500,000 waste bottles [Courtesy]

Nafisa Khanbhai has literally killed two birds with one stone; she has collected 50,000 plastic waste bottles to save the environment and used them to build a modern orphanage.

The Restoration Children Home atop a hill at Rabai, some few metres from the Mazeras-Kaloleni Road, is a magnificent plastic bottled house that hosts 38 orphans ranging between two to 18 years of age.

In the remote village, the orphanage looks like a palace compared to the mud and Makuti thatched huts that surround it.

A tour inside the house reveals a smooth plastered wall, with a neat kitchen and dining area, study and living room, four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and washrooms.

The children in the orphanage are all smiles and thankful for their new aboard, a contrast from the previously dilapidated house where they used to get wet whenever it rained.

Christine Mesaidi Ngui, a 13-tear-old who lives in the house, says she can now sleep soundly in the new house without being rained on.

The Class Seven girl says she confidently invites her friends to the home because it is beautiful and unique, unlike their previous mud house that was dilapidated.

“We are happy and thank God because we are no longer getting rained on,” says Ngui.

The home is a phenomenon to villagers whose neglected homesteads are built from clay and makuti, with few brick houses in the area.

Like a thousand protruding bulbs, the bottles give the house a beautiful and unique touch.

Khanbhai, the founder of charity organisation Dear Diary Initiative Kenya explains how her quest to build a home for the orphans bore the idea to use plastic bottles as an initiative to clean up the environment of plastic waste.

Khanbhai, who began charity work at the age of 19, says the children were living in deplorable condition when she visited the orphanage for the first time in 2015.

“When we visited the orphanage in 2015, the children were living in a sorry state, the house was built with clay and makuti and the boys were sleeping in the kitchen. We saw it wasn’t the right way to live especially for orphans,” says Khanbhai.

Having been born with Spina Fida, Khanbhai has for the last 25 years dedicated her life to helping persons with disabilities and orphans.

Through her book ‘Unbroken Wings, an inspirational life story about overcoming her challenges while living with disabilities’, Khanbhai creates awareness and raises funds to help the disabled.

She regards the house as a lifetime achievement seeing the children live under a decent roof and thanks all her donors who made it possible.

Through holding various charity events, Khanbhai has been able to raise funds to help the orphans get a continued supply of food, clothes, water and fees.

She says they adopted the concept of using plastic waste bottles after visiting Watamu Marine Park whose offices are built using plastic waste bottles. The charity also borrowed the idea from a lady in Voi who built a two-bedroom house using the bottles. “It has been a long journey but we thank God Khanbhai has helped us. Now the children happily live in a decent house,” said Restoration Children’s Home founder and caretaker Margaret Makule.