Friends appeal for support after British founder of Tumaini Children’s Home passes away aged 87

Joan Smith
Joan Smith

Friends of Joan Smith are appealing for help to cover medical and funeral costs after the British founder of the Tumaini Children’s Home near Mombasa passed away early this morning at the Premier Hospital in Nyali.

The retired probation officer from Kent founded the Tumaini Home for Hope children’s home in 2002 with the help of Kenyan public authorities as well as private individuals. Tumaini was chosen as the name as it is the Swahili word for ‘hope’.

She was inspired to act after working as a volunteer in Mombasa where she learned about the plight of babies and young children whose parents had died from HIV / Aids, or were themselves infected.

Joan worked tirelessly to fundraise and support the charity and the children’s home was featured on the Jeremy Kyle show when the host visited Kenya in 2007.

The 87-year-old long term member of the Rotary Club both in Kenya and back in the UK was reported to be ‘desperately ill’ in hospital and friends were appealing for help to cover her outstanding medical bill. They had also hoped to transfer her to Coast General ICU, but she was too ill to be moved and sadly passed away this morning at around 6.30am.

Her close friend Emma Metcalfe told Brits in Kenya that Joan “was an amazing woman who had gone through her fair share of troubles and hardships in life.

“There was never a dull moment when Joan was around,” Emma added. “Her house was like a drop in centre for people from all walks of life. The conversations that have taken place around her table should be put in a book, no one would believe it. I have lost my best friend and the world has lost someone who loved helping others.”

Emma and other friends and colleagues of Joan are are trying to raise money to clear the hospital bill, doctor’s bill, and the funds for the funeral which should be taking place on Friday this week. The Hospital bill has a balance of approx Ksh 99,900 and the mortuary fees will be approx Ksh 15,000. Coffin and cremation fees along with transport charges for the coffin will also need paying and Joan’s friends are currently looking into the cost of these.

If you would like to help out with these costs, Emma is accepting M-Pesa donations on 0728 999257.

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