Volunteering Abroad in Kenya
By Nicole Brewer
Jambo! Hi all, I recently arrived back from Kenya and am adjusting to life back in the Middle East after spending close to 2 weeks in the Motherland!! I had the privilege of working with a nice group of individuals with a local NGO in Nairobi entitled Streetlife Care Organization (SLiCO). I must tell you that the power of social networking is awesome! I decided before my semester break with the college that I work for, that I wanted to make a difference and do something meaningful on this trip. I announced on facebook that I was looking for a reputable organization to work with and was connected with the kind folks at StreetLife Care. SLiCO is a fairly new organization, about 6 months off the ground running that was started by CEO Martin (Massai) Mungai. They are now a 10 person operation with the main goal to help street children obtain food, clothing, shelter, education, rehabilitation and thus, diminishing street life for good.
StreetLife Care was also established to give people from Kenya and around the world a chance to reach out to street children through various projects. These projects include counseling, tracing and reuniting them with their families, teaching at rehabilitation centers and sponsorship. People can also organize events for street children such as talent shows, sports tournaments, life skills, creative arts, retreats and other programs that will lead them to a complete transformation off the streets and thus rebuilding their child-like life back.
The guys with SLiCO were there with me every step of the way for my time in Kenya. Martin Massai and Stella picked me up from the airport with Huge smiles on their faces and made me feel like family. I’m very grateful for the recommendation via my FB friend. Once I arrived, I was taken to the volunteer house in Kwangware area to stay with volunteers from other organizations such as IVHQ. I’ve heard some great stories of experiences with them and some that were not so great.
It seemed that many of the volunteers were not particularly happy with the lack of communication and thus work that was being done on their projects. Some worked with HIV/AIDs organizations,orphanages and the like. I managed to visit one of the volunteers’ project at a small orphanage a short walk from “momma” Regina’s volunteer house. It was an eye-opening experience and am grateful to have been allowed to be showered with love from the little tots in the one room orphanage. I met the women whom they call the Mother Theresa of Kwangware, who has ran her orphanage for over 20 years helping those kids in need sometimes going without herself to ensure they are feed and schooled! Inspirational to say the least.
While in Nairobi, I managed to work with StreetLife on their feeding program. The proceeds of my week long fees went toward feeding close to 100 run-away kids and young adults. I chatted it up some of the young tots and am happy to had managed to put some smiles on their faces even if just for a short while. One of the older boys came up to me and said “thank you madame”…. which truly made it all the worthwhile. SLiCO co-founder Diana has managed to do some considerable fundraising while in her home of Australia and helped the members recently build a kitchen which will in the future help many more children and families. During my time there, we had food prepared by a small local restaurant for a small fee due to time constraints. They are able to manage the feedings with the assistance of volunteers so it is vital that those that can help, do so.
If you are interested in volunteering with SLiCO please feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, website is coming soon but their Facebook page is loaded with information. They are a young organization and that is not to say it’s without their faults. I was interested in working with the “Trace” program on my short visit but was unable due to some miscommunication on the information. I was under the impression that the fees sent would be dedicated to helping to reconnect kids but additional fees were needed upon arrival so I was only able to help with the feeding program at this time. In the future I hope to work with them to grow and communicate in the most effective way. Overall, the experience was absolutely gratifying nonetheless! I hope globe-trotters that if you can in anyway, help great organizations like these in the future that you do! Happy trotting!!