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67 orphaned elephants adopted by members of SwamiNarayan Temple in Nairobi

67 orphaned elephants adopted by members of SwamiNarayan Temple in Nairobi

21st September was a day of remembrance for Kenyans and the anniversary of a day that Kenya will never forget. It is hard to believe that it was only a year ago that the Westgate Mall tragedy unfolded when it was attacked by terrorists and many lives were forever changed.

It was a blue sky, sun shiny sort of day; the kind perfect for a spot of shopping or meeting a friend at a café; and by extension, a busy day for those who would man those counters. And so it was at the Westgate mall.

A young couple shopped for their wedding rings, a radio presenter and a marketing manager of a leading oil manufacturing company hosted children for a cooking festival as a Nigerian poet and a diplomat met friends for coffee.

The last thing they expected was four men with hate in their hearts to enter the mall, guns blazing.

The next few hours after midday played out like a scene from a horror movie and what was a blue sky, sun shiny sort of day turned into a bloody Saturday which is commemorated as one of Kenya’s darkest day.

And when Flying Squad operative Benjamin Chemjor heard of shots fired at the Westgate mall, he thought it must be a shootout between fellow police officers and robbers. The last thing he expected to discover was that terrorists had dared to attack innocent Kenyans at what was known as Nairobi’s premier shopping mall, in broad daylight.

It was a day on which a nation was held captive. “Some things you just never forget,” Kotia later testified in court.

But along with the understandable anger at the senseless loss of life sprung a togetherness, as political rivals came together to condemn the act, with Kenyans coming out in large numbers to donate blood, money, time, their lives in solidarity with their countrymen. Many risked their lives to save people trapped in the mall where 67 people were killed, including security forces.

In memory of the victims of the Westgate attack, and in an effort to support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and help the orphaned elephants, the community of the Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Nairobi adopted 67 orphans, pledging to renew these fosterings every year.

Yesterday 80 members from the community came to the orphanage to offer their prayers in memory of the victims of the attack but also for the orphaned elephants, so that they may all live long and healthy lives back in the wild where they rightfully belong. The DSWT was both touched and deeply humbled by the love and generosity shown by this community and our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved for their generous consideration of Kenya’s elephants at such a poignant time.

So as we mark the first anniversary since that tragic day of September 21, 2014, may we remember those who lost their lives, and all those who lost their loved ones as well as the lessons learnt and that in the face of great tragedy.

To learn more about this organization, support or donate to the great cause, please visit their website at DSWT or Facebook page at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Below are some images from the Trust:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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