Vision Africa

Vision Africa equips and empowers children and youths for a brighter future, ensuring that they have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and make a difference in their families and communities. The following principles guide our project partnerships and work. The emphasis will vary depending on the nature of the project. Provision - We contribute towards meeting the children's material and emotional needs. Protection - We protect the rights of children to have a happy childhood free from neglect, cruelty and exploitation. Preparation - We support projects that enhance educational opportunities and prepare children to fulfil their potential.
Sep 1, 2010

Holiday Activities in Kibera

Chairman with TV donated for Income Generation
Chairman with TV donated for Income Generation

The past 3 months have been busy for the team at Kibera Mpira Mtaani. The organisation has gone from strength to strength and their education program in particular has made great steps forward with a new resource centre being built. This will allow them to provide study space for students who have joined secondary school after being part of the organisation’s after-school tuition program.

In the month of August, schools in Kenya are closed so this is usually the time when the annual “Manchester for Kibera” tournament is hosted by Kibera Mpira Mtaani. Unfortunately, the funding was not available for the tournament this year but the committee resolved to provide activities for the children who use the resource centre. Working with a local church, sponsorship was found to send a group of children to a Christian holiday camp. This gave the children an opportunity to spend a week outside of Kibera taking part in planned activities. A great time was had by all who attended and the chairman of Kibera Mpira Mtaani reported that the children came back refreshed and strong.

Thanks to teachers from two international schools in Nairobi, another group of children enjoyed a day out at the National museum. A third group was taken to the Special Olympics which were held in the Nyayo National Stadium. After each of these outings, the children were encouraged to write about their experiences.

Through Twitter, a local volunteer came forward and offered to start up art classes for some children at the centre. Working with a group of around 15 to 20 children it is hoped that he can help them develop their talents and explore their creativity. As art does not appear in the Kenyan primary school curriculum there are very few opportunities for these talents to be explored so we hope the art classes at Kibera Mpira Mtaani will be a great success. Another local group is working with a small number of children from the centre to train them in photography and film-making. Again, this is a fantastic opportunity for the children and could possibly lead to a way to earn a living when they leave school.

In terms of football, Kibera Mpira Mtaani has been working with CARE Kenya to help facilitate a tournament and is also planning to host its annual tournament for informal schools which is due to take place in October. Funds permitting, this will allow 16 schools in Kibera to put forward a boys team and a girls team to compete for awards such as books and sports equipment. The informal schools are those not funded by the government and cannot generally afford to take part in government run sporting activities. Kibera Mpira Mtaani’s tournament offers a unique opportunity for students from informal schools to show off their talents. An additional benefit is that players move among the 13 villages of Kibera to play in matches and this allows them to make new friends and break down barriers between villages.

At the start of the World Cup, Kibera Mpira Mtaani launched its first income generating activity. Through a grant, a satellite dish was installed and local residents can pay a small fee to watch games from the English Premier League, European Champions League and various other events. It is hoped that once this enterprise has built up it will allow the organisation to make a contribution towards its running costs.

In the meantime, the project relies on donations to continue with the great work it is doing in the community. Our thanks go to everyone who has contributed to this project through Global Giving and we hope you feel part of something great that is happening in Kibera and will spread the word so we can involve more people and give Kibera Mpira Mtaani as much support as possible. On behalf of the Kibera Mpira Mtaani committee....asanteni sana (thank you very much!)

Children drawing in the new resource centre
Children drawing in the new resource centre

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Aug 2, 2010

New Faces and First Steps

Feeding themselves
Feeding themselves

What a difference a few months can make – especially in the lives of the babies at the St. Andrews Baby Unit in Kandara, Kenya! There have been a few new faces, big steps forward in the little ones’ development and some new toys to explore too.

The first new arrival was a ten month old baby whose mother has learning difficulties. After struggling to cope with her baby for some months she was in total despair and went to the river where luckily she was found before she threw her child in. It is hard to understand this level of desperation but we are thankful for the passersby who saved the infant and for the housemothers who have taken the little one under their wings as part of the “family”. Once again, the unit has proved to be a sanctuary for a baby who had nowhere safe to live.

The other new faces have been three volunteers who have spent time helping the housemothers with their work. Laura was the first to arrive and was thrown in at the deep end. She spent two weeks trying to teach the older infants to feed themselves. Previously each mother would be trying to spoon feed five children at once so this training would really help to free up their time! With Kerry arriving for Laura’s second week, the two of them made great headway and around 8 of the children started feeding themselves!! Lucy, the matron of the unit, told me that this has made such a great difference to the staff and that having the volunteers has meant the mothers haven’t felt as tired and are seeing great benefits.

Not long after Laura left, Kerry was joined by Carla – a paediatric nurse from Australia – who will be staying in Kandara until October. As well as continuing the independent feeding, Carla and Kerry have been trying to potty train a few of the older ones and also find time to do some activities with the babies. It looks like there might be some finger painting and drawing done in the near future! We are very grateful to all the volunteers for the valuable contributions they have made.

Another big breakthrough has been with one of the little girls who has taken a little longer to develop than the other children due to the fact that she was very malnourished before she came in to the unit. Over the past few weeks she has really started to shine and come out of her shell – she has even started walking with a current record of 9 steps unassisted. This little one’s picture is the avatar for this project. Please take a minute to compare that photo which was taken not long after she arrived with today’s update ... you will see the impact that donations through GlobalGiving and other channels are having on disadvantaged babies in Kandara, Kenya.

Thank you for all your support – without it the St. Andrews Baby Unit could not do the great job it does. Your donations allow us to buy the food, toiletries and other items required to care for these beautiful babies and give them a brighter future.

Having fun with a new toy
Having fun with a new toy
First steps - big changes!
First steps - big changes!
Jun 21, 2010

Great Progress at Our Kariti Centre

Proud of their work
Proud of their work

Our Seed of Hope centre in Kariti, Murang’a, is a great success story. Under the leadership of Headteacher Njambi, the staff and students work hard both in class and in the other activities that sustain the project. Of all the Vision Africa projects, Seed of Hope Kariti has made the biggest steps towards self-sustainability.

Due to a decline in funding last year, the feeding program at each Seed of Hope centre was suspended. Rather than simply sit back and have students attend school without lunch, Njambi and her team took action and worked with staff, students and parents to come up with solutions. Great use has been made of the large shamba (land for farming) with vegetables and maize being grown. Unfortunately the recent crop of beans was lost due to heavy rains but a large maize harvest is anticipated in August. The shamba has also been planted with a lot of napier grass some of which is used to feed the centre’s cows and some of which is sold to generate income.

Another way in which the centre is generating income is through the sale of clothing to paying customers. On a recent visit by Field Director Deborah Kimathi, some of the second year students proudly showed off clothes they were making for customers. The students told us they had sourced the customers from their own villages by explaining what they were doing at Seed of Hope and that if people thought the clothes made were nice they could buy them. The girls are working in groups of 2 or 3 students to secure orders and told us that this is good practice for when they have their own businesses. When asked who would have the best business, there was no hesitation as every girl raised her hand and said “I will!”. This confidence is one of the greatest skills girls learn in their time at Seed of Hope.

The local authorities have been of great help to Kariti Seed of Hope centre. By working closely with the administration, supplies of government relief food have been received which supplement what is grown in the shamba. The other breakthrough is that thanks to CDF money (Community Development Fund) electricity has now been installed at the centre and a number of computers have been ordered so that students will be able to learn basic IT skills. A cyber will also be set up to generate income by servicing the local community members who currently travel 20km to find internet access for checking emails etc.

As this project continues to make steps towards becoming self-sufficient, we still need to find funding to support their tremendous efforts. Thank you to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope by donating on Global Giving. As you can see it is going to great use!

Fabric printed with blocks made from old flipflops
Fabric printed with blocks made from old flipflops
Some first year students
Some first year students

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