A moving three-part BBC ALBA documentary is to profile remarkable young humanitarian Gemma Steele as a new home is created for the orphans she cares for in Kenya.
At just 23 years old, Glasgow-based student Gemma - who won the 2014 Young Scot Unsung Hero Award - is already responsible for the wellbeing of 25 children at the orphanage she built in Nakuru, Kenya.
Supported financially and practically by the people of Uist, St Jerome’s Children’s Home - which Gemma began building as a teenager - opened in 2012 and offers a loving home to children aged from 4 to 18 who would otherwise be on the streets.
In Dilleachdain Gemma / Gemma’s Orphans, we meet Gemma and her family at home in South Uist before following her to Kenya where the new St Jerome’s Centre is being built in a safer area of Nakuru. We witness Glasgow-based humanitarian design organisation Orkidstudio construct the new home, aided by volunteers and local workers, some of whom were women – a rare sight on a construction site in Kenya.
Whilst there, we observe the constant dangers as thieves maraud close to St Jerome’s looking to steal whatever valuable possessions they can.
Gemma also relives the terrifying break-in at the home at Christmas 2012 when a gang armed with machetes threatened the young student and the children and made off with their hard raised cash. She goes on to explains why she went to Kenya in the first place and what compelled her to take on responsibility for so many youngsters while still just a teenager herself.
Independent TV production company MacTV followed Gemma during the construction of the new premises. Innovatively made with earth bags, using soil generated from excavating the foundations, the home will provide beds for 40 children and offer space to expand. Can the team ensure the build is on track to completion within its tight eight week deadline?
Gemma’s Orphans / Dìlleachdain Gemma airs on BBC ALBA on December 29th at 8.25pm / December 30th at 8.30pm / December 31st at 8.30pm.