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The Kenya Community Outreach and Orphan Education Project is an exceptional and varied rural community upliftment programme. The project aims to help those who are affected by HIV/AIDS, disease, malnutrition and lack of food, unemployment, limited education and other issues that are faced by extremely disadvantaged communities in Kenya.
In Kenya, the number of child-headed households has increased dramatically, due to HIV/AIDS, leaving children orphaned and without anyone to take care of them or their siblings; not uncommonly up to eight brothers and sisters. Many of these children are also ostracised and excluded from the local community, due to the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. As a result, the children’s living conditions seriously deteriorate, as does their health, leaving behind malnourished and neglected children with no support or chance of a future.
Your help, as a volunteer in Kenya, is vital for these children and other marginalised groups of individuals, such as widows and street children to build a better life and support themselves.
The aim of the Kenya Community Outreach project is to target approximately 500 families in eight project areas to provide vital assistance, particularly to the child-headed households, in order to meet their immediate nutritional needs and help to improve their living standards and prospects.
Some of the volunteer work you may be involved with:
Just a few minutes walk from the volunteer accommodation, the education and training centre is one area of this diverse programme that has developed significantly over the last few years. It now provides education for all school years; preschool, primary and secondary (high school). It started as a preschool and early years’ primary school, but as the students have moved up year groups, so the school has grown and expanded with them. This has resulted in increased need and opportunity for volunteers to be involved with education at the centre, across a wide range of age groups, depending on experience and preference.
Volunteers can help in a variety of areas, including teaching English, mathematics and sports (mainly volleyball, football, basketball). Volunteers at the preschool will assist the mainly orphaned children to play, talk and develop socially, and provide them basic exposure to numeracy and literacy, which is crucial in preparing them for primary school education.
Vocational training and skills provision is also a key focus for the programmer and Kenya Community Volunteers also assist in these areas, in particular with basic computer training, giving the students vital career prospects.
Once you have been met and picked up from the airport, you will be taken to the project to settle in. Then, your coordinators will guide you through the project and answer any questions.
Depending on the project areas you have chosen to focus on and how confident you feel, you may be involved in assisting with teaching, or spend the first few days visiting the various villages and programme areas, before settling into your role.
Programme coordinators will be on hand to help you with any queries and with your projects.
During your stay, shared volunteer accommodation is provided. The house is comfortable, but basic and is enclosed in a walled and gated compound for extra security. There are hot running showers (although water can often be cold!) and flush toilets. There is electricity, but power cuts are fairly frequent and water shortages may be experienced; this is rural Africa!
Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast typically includes toast, juice, and chapatti breads. Lunch usually comprises sandwiches and juice or soda, whilst dinner will be prepared for you by the house cook, using traditional African ingredients consisting of meat, rice and breads and some vegetables.
The rural area where the programme is situated is very beautiful and there are many natural landmarks, such as waterfalls and caves to visit.
You will be living in quite a rural area of Kenya and therefore many volunteers enjoy just relaxing and soaking up the culture at the weekends, by interacting with the locals, reading, doing their laundry, etc. There are a few places to visit in the local area and some natural landmarks. The programme is also 60km from Kitale where there is a local game reserve that you may like to visit.
Nairobi is a major transport hub for overland tours, as the gateway to Eastern and Southern Africa. We have a number of different tours to offer you, including trips to Tanzania and the famous Zanzibar Spice Island, Victoria Falls or even travel to Cape Town or Johannesburg in South Africa, via Botswana or Namibia should you wish to continue your travels after volunteering.
Please contact us to enquire about these options and we will be happy to send you further details and help you explore Africa in a safe and adventurous way.
Below are some of the feedback comments submitted by volunteers on the Kenya Community Outreach Project.
“I want to thank you for an opportunity to work with your team. It was a great experience during the two weeks of stay. Mr. James and his family cared for me as a family member. I often visited the Omwabini School and after interacting with some of the students it was clear to me that education is the foundation of success. The students were focused on pursuing various careers as most of them shared their past experiences.
I have made very good friends and captured the memories with the people. The time spent with the community has motivated me to always appreciate of the things I have. I want to thank the team for assisting in the completion of building the house and it was so nice to know that the friends and relatives were so hardworking and determined to finish the assignment on the given time.
We also visited the water springs that have been conserved to serve almost 50 families within one village that is used for domestic uses such as cooking, washing, and drinking. After the projects was completed we spent time with the family and it was hard to say goodbye on the last day. On the last day I visited the Omwabini School and said goodbye to everyone. THANK YOU.”
“The 2 week experience was amazing and one I will never forget. I hope to go back in the future with more friends and family. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your team, all of who were very friendly and helpful. Mary, James and the rest of the family treated us like their own daughters and introduced us to the pupils/teachers at Omwabini school and the family who’s house we would help build. Every other day we visited Omwabini school and shared stories with a few of the girls. After a while I realised they all aimed high and worked extremely hard to get to where they wanted to. The most popular occupations that kept coming up were becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant.
Helping build the house was great fun and I loved getting stuck in and getting my hands dirty. We worked on it for 4 days and the whole family was determined and hard working to help get the house finished including the youngest children living there to the grandparents who looked after them. As a gift we printed 3 pictures and framed them for the family and they were extremely happy. We visited springs, houses that had been built by other volunteers and went on walks around the village and were shown how income is generated by harvest. Arriving in a different area, I experienced a culture shock although it was one I found interesting and one I adapted to a little.
I have taken many pictures of the scenery, friends I made and the project we took part in. Saying goodbye was the hardest as everyone had become family to me. This trip has taught me a lot, most of all to appreciate the things I may not realise other people need the most eg. education, clothing, housing and food. From the money that had kindly been donated from our family members we managed to give stationary, exercise books and food to Omwabini school. The smiles and laughter on everyone’s face showed how grateful they were and it was a moment I will never forget.”
“The four weeks at Omwabini was wonderful and really meant a lot to me. I discovered that despite all the hardship they encounter throughout their lives, people of Kenya are amazingly kind, helpful, friendly, and always positive. Building houses and protecting water sources with the field-work staff of Omwabini was both demanding and rewarding. For four weeks, I tried my best to help vulnerable people, make a tiny change in their lives and now I am a better man, I see things differently. Also, I have made many wonderful friends from a completely different culture, which was the most fun. From my point of view, every young person at my age must experience a similar adventure to help develop their perception of world.
After working for almost a week, digging, hammering, mudding etc., when the house is completed, looking at what you have created and seeing how happy the people who will actually live in that house get cannot be explained with words.”
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