Stand by Me are adopting the Open Arms Village in Kenya in 2022

Our hope at Stand by Me is to change the lives of the children in our care then to reach out and rescue more. As we see the terrible circumstances children face around the world, made even more desperate by recent events of Covid, conflict and famine, our heart is to grow to bring care to more children.

Kenya is a country that has been close to Stand by Me’s heart for many years and our experience of working in Kenya in our history has made us acutely aware of the struggles, circumstances and challenges faced by children and their communities.

Our relationship with a charity named Open Arms has grown in recent years and they have been following God’s leading to grow their work, reach out to more children in Kenya and build on their foundation to reach future generations. This led them to approach us to work together and to adopt their work.

Over the last 12 months, Stand by Me have spent time getting to know Rachel, the Executive Director of Open Arms and the Open Arms team. We have admired what has been achieved in Kenya and count it a privilege that Stand by Me has been invited to build on this amazing foundation. 

We are thrilled to share that the Open Arms project will join our Stand by Me family in January 2022 and we are so excited to be able to care for hundreds more children, as we believe that our combined expertise, skills and passion can do so much to transform children’s lives. 

The Open Arms project

The Open Arms project currently cares for 250 children through an education, pastoral care and a sustainability programme. At Open Arms Village, hundreds of orphaned or vulnerable children have overcome the odds and joined a new family. 

Counselors, teachers, social workers, and house parents work with each child to identify and encourage areas of purpose and passion, and the Church at the Village and other outreach programmes extend that mentorship to those in the community. 

The vision of the Open Arms project is to inspire change that will last for generations to come! They do this by educating the future leaders and citizens of Kenya, and through sustainability projects. They currently operate a dairy farm, grain farm, poultry and egg farm, grain mill, bakery, various gardens, and a hydroponic fish farm to reduce costs, create revenue, and teach children valuable skills.

Please watch the Open Arms film to find out about the project they have built over the past 14 years to impact the lives of child:


Why did Open Arms want to be adopted by Stand by Me?

Open Arms wanted their work to continue for many more future generations. After careful consideration they agreed that joining with another organisation was the best option to secure the future of their work and to meet the needs of more children in Kenya and around the world.

Open Arms cares deeply about the children they support and wanted to find the best organisation to partner with that shared their Christian values, delivers the highest standards of child care and has the same desire to bring hope to children through the opportunity of an education. Therefore after a lot of prayer, conversation and consideration, both of our organisations felt that it was the right decision for Stand by Me to adopt Open Arms and are excited for what the future holds. 

When will this happen?

Open Arms are passionate about moving forward as one organisation and will adopt the name Stand by Me as an organisation. The current site in Kenya will remain as the ‘Open Arms Village’, but will come under the umbrella of Stand by Me as of January 2022. 

Does the Open Arms project have the same Christian values as Stand by Me?

Yes. The Open Arms homes, school, and church all operate with one goal: to help others understand who God is and who He’s created them to be.

Is the Open Arms project connected to any of the projects where Stand by Me previously worked?

No. It is in a different location and with different people to who we worked with in Kenya previously. But our experience from working in Kenya and all that we have learned over the years will be vital as we move forward and deliver life-changing care to children in Kenya. 

Will you be adopting the Open Arms staff? 

We are passionate about employing local people and it is always our desire to build locally and invest in communities. For this reason, we establish schools, homes and care centres at the centre of communities by identifying and building networks of trustworthy local people, motivated by the change we want to see in their communities. This allows us to respond to challenges in a quick and culturally appropriate way, giving us unparalleled levels of child care wherever we work.

We recognise the great job the team are already doing in Kenya and will take time to develop a plan with the management team that ultimately means both the children already at the project and those that are in need are given the best opportunity to thrive.

Critical to the success of this ‘adoption’ is Rachel Gallagher, Open Arms Executive Director, who is joining the Stand by Me family. Open Arms also has a small team of two staff in Manchester who we are excited to have join the Stand by Me team while remaining in Manchester, expanding our reach here in the UK. 

Will you be implementing Stand by Me's child care and child care policies at the project? 

Yes. It is essential that the Open Arms project implements Stand by Me's child care policies. 

Is this going to impact the wider work of Stand by Me? 

We are really excited to have the opportunity to rescue more children and bring life-changing care. We intend to provide the same quality of care to the children in Kenya as we do for all our children around the world and ensure that they receive everything they need to thrive. Although this will require support to fund the project, we are thankful for all the Open Arms supporters who will be continuing to support the Open Arms project. We aim to build on this support as we share the stories of the children in Kenya and provide opportunities for people to give to the work in Kenya.  

Will I be able to sponsor a child in Kenya?

Yes, in time. We will be working with the staff team in Kenya to bring them up to speed with Stand by Me’s processes and policies and implement child sponsorship. We will communicate with supporters when it is possible to sponsor a child in Kenya. 

Will I be able to visit Kenya?

Open Arms have welcomed visiting teams to the project since their inception. They welcome the skills, gifts and experiences of people that can impact their work positively. Therefore we will be able to facilitate visiting teams when it is safe to do so, considering the current pandemic and travel restrictions.

How can I support the work in Kenya

At this time you can support through a one-off donation which will be used for the work in Kenya. When we adopt Open Arms in 2022, we will share more about how you can become a programme sponsor and in time, how you can stand by an individual child through child sponsorship.  

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