A Scottish charity worker has married her partner of 12 years at the Kenyan children’s home in Nakuru where she works as Managing Director.
28-year-old occupational therapy graduate Gemma Steele, tied the knot with 32-year-old salmon farmer Shaun Mackinon, at the St Jerome’s Centre near Nakuru where the South Uist couple were joined by more than 400 guests from the local community.
The ceremony featured a mix of Kenyan and Scottish culture with African dancing and music with bagpipes.
“It was a wonderful day celebrating not only our marriage but ten years of The St Jerome’s Centre,” Gemma told Brits in Kenya.
“We served 450 people on the day as well as 20kgs of cake! For many it was their first wedding and it was a chance for some of our friends and family from the UK to witness first hand the work they have been supporting for the last decade,” she added.
Gemma, who was crowned an Unsung Hero in the Sunday Mail’s 2014 Young Scot Awards, was instrumental in fundraising to rebuild the orphanage after it was attacked by masked men wielding machetes over six years ago.
The raisers pulled Gemma from her bed and held her and the 16 orphans she was caring for at gunpoint, before stealing £1,500.
Despite experiencing such a terrifying ordeal, Gemma was determined to get the home back on track and improve security for the youngsters, spearheading the building of a new St Jerome’s Centre.
Relocated to Murunyu in 2015, on the outskirts of Nakuru, the construction project was run by Orkid Studios and staffed by volunteers.
The new centre has the capacity to accommodate forty children in a light and spacious home suited to their needs, employing 9 local people fulltime including a Manager, and 3 “mamas” to provide guidance, love and support as well as some home cooking.