Abbas Rest Orphans

Jenny with her stall for Abba's Rest

Jenny with her stall for Abbas Rest


Jenny Spence writes:
“Abbas Rest Orphans, now a registered Scottish Charity No SC033166, started as a result of Peter and Kirsi Poole’s trip to Malawi in 2000. They saw poverty on a scale which is hard to imagine: children eating thrown away banana skins from the dust, mice being eaten as food and clothing for many children merely rags. On their return to Carsphairn, I heard about them and invited them to speak to us at one of our meetings at St Ninian’s: several members were interested so we decided we would like to help. We soon knitted blankets, jumpers, hats, woolly toys and sewed skirts and trousers, which were boxed up and sent to Malawi in a container via the Raven’s Trust charity. They were collected by local managers to distribute to the orphan centres and, as we receive newsletters and photographs of the children, we know they arrived safely and intact.


“The numbers of orphans have increased over the years – from 23 in 2000 to more than 300 in 2009 – and so the work is continuing. We have collected knitting and sewing machines, and have sent wool and materials, so they are now self-supporting. Many fund-raising events have been held in Galloway, as well as donations from St Ninian’s, including a coffee morning which helped to buy food and provide education for the children.

Photo of children at the Centre, taken in 2004

Photo of children at the Centre, taken in 2004

“Several members sponsor children, with a group of members sponsoring three children: Dorine, Humfury and Zione. It’s wonderful to receive news and photographs of them and to know we are giving them a better life and a future they would not otherwise have had.

“Thank you all on behalf of the children, who cannot speak for themselves. May we continue to love and care for them and keep up the good work.”

If you would like more information, please contact Jenny Spence (01557 820236) or Eleanor Willis, Abbas Rest Orphans, P O Box 26330, Ayr, KA7 9BG.

Children of Abba's Rest Orphanage: Humfury on right of picture

Children of Abba's Rest in 2007: Humfury on right of picture

On Saturday 5th February, Jenny and Mike Spence held a Coffee Morning in order to raise funds for Abbas Rest, the total amount reaching £415.85 Jenny thanks everyone for their generous support. She will be continuing to collect donations on Sundays from members of the congregation who would like to continue their support of Abbas Rest.

Some of those who supported the Coffee Morning

Some more people enjoying themselves

The Rector, assisted by Marjorie, draws the raffle

In autumn 2010, Jenny reported that one of the children who was being supported by members of St Ninian’s had recently moved away with extended family to a more stable future. Consequently, a new child was being sponsored: Kelvin, born in 2006.


In July 2009, Jenny wrote the following:

Thank you to all friends who continue to support our three sponsored children in Malawi: Dorine, Humfury and Zione. We receive newsletters and personal letters from their managers on their care and advancement in education, and we are pleased we can help them a little. My thanks also to Jenny Armstrong for her donation from a percentage of her sales from cards and poems, which is a great asset to our funds.

Here are some quotes from replies to our letters to them:

Zione (6½) “I am really thank you for thinking about me and love me very much as my real mother. I hope the cows they are providing you enough fresh milk and meat isn’t it? It is very funny to me to hear from you that birds come into your garden to sing songs for you.”

Humfury (10) “Thank you so much for your postcard with attached your photo what a beautiful face you are looking? You say you are a granny but to me you are looking like a thirty-one years old and my mother, not my grandmother.” (I like that!) “I am a popular boy in a football pitch. Some people do give me a nick name called Michael Owen.”

Dorine receives a parcel

Dorine receives a parcel

Dorine (15), who has Aids: “I am well fed and looked after with Peter and Kirsi, and other kind people, more especially the manager who stays with us during the night at the centre. I am doing fine in both life and education. Since Dec 08 up to now I am feeling very strong and I am in Std 5 and if there is nothing wrong with my body I will pass the exams and jump into another class. I always hug you because of your support you have all given to me and God should be respected. My medication is helping me so much. God bless you all.”

With love from Malawi: Zione, Humfury and Dorine.

Dorine opening her parcel

Dorine opening her parcel

In October 2008, Jenny and Mike Spence held a coffee morning in Ringford Village Hall, raising £400 for the Abbas Rest ‘Mosquito Net Project’.

Jenny and Mike at the Coffee Morning

Jenny and Mike at the Coffee Morning

Jenny Armstrong makes her own cards, often from photographs she has taken, and is now regularly selling them to members of the congregation, with the profits going to Abbas Rest.

Jenny Armstrong with some of her home-made cards

Jenny Armstrong with some of her hand-made cards

Jenny's home-made cards and bookmarks

Jenny's hand-made cards and bookmarks