St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organization

The mission of the organization is to build a society where all children are provided the necessary love and care essential for growth. The organization is run by a small group of local volunteers, dedicated to improving the lives of poor and marginalized children in Kibera, Kenya by promoting their social integration into the community.
Sep 5, 2014

Family Unification

The rescue centre was established 12 years ago to provide emergency care to children who have experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment. The goal of the centre is to create a safe space for children where they receive care and protection in the short term, while we work with government social services, other community partners and families to identify long term care options for children.

Our approach is grounded in the African custom of extended families caring for children who have lost parents. Yet, the reality on the ground particularly in Kibera makes this difficult to achieve. Extremely hard hit by poverty and HIV, which has affected extended families ability to care for children, Kibera is also unique as people have come from rural homelands to find work -- moving far away from family. This makes it difficult to find family members that actually know the child and are willing and able to care for him/her. As a result, St. Vincent's has often found itself unable to find viable, safe, long term care options for children that come under our care.

Despite this challenge, St. Vincent's still prioritizes family reunification through a more gradual process. We work to identify family members (immediate or extended) and help to build bonds between them and the child. We do this by talking with families about their ability to provide care, arranging for the child to make visits with family members during school breaks and by inviting family members to visit the child at our centre. Sometimes this leads to a child going to live with their family, with continued support from St. Vincent's (e.g., paying school fees). Most often though, the children stay living in our centre and we aim to build relationships so that when the child comes of age and leaves our care, he/she will have in place a network of support. Each step of the way, we prioritize the wellbeing of the children by doing our due diligence to assess the safety of the child during visits and by giving children a voice about visits and about their care situation.

Aug 26, 2014

Going on Safari

St. Vincent
St. Vincent's children at Nairobi Animal Orphanage

The day started off with buzzing voices of St. Vincent's nursery school children eagerly awaiting their 'safari' (or trip in Swahili). By 9am, children, teachers and volunteers were all on the bus, ready for the day's adventure. After a short drive within the confines of Nairobi city, children arrived at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage to the waiting wild animals -- monkeys, hyenas, lions and cheetahs. Most children could not hide their fear and also their excitement, many seeing these animals in person for the first time in their lives.

Following the animal orphanage, children had lunch and play time at a local park and were off again to the next stop: Mamba Village (a Swahili name meaning “Crocodile Village”). Here, the children had a chance to see (and even touch!) crocodiles and baby tortoises basking in the midday sun. The tour guide talked to the children about reptiles and engaged them with questions about animals. One memorable question was 'What do crocodiles eat?'  To which children offered up different answers: 'beans, grass, children who don’t finish their homework' (as the adults broke into laughter). The guide of course explained different foods eaten by crocodiles (not including children who don't finish their homework!) and gave the children a chance to ask questions.

The day ended with children playing in the Mamba Village bouncing castle and enjoying french fries (a favorite treat among children). As the group filed back into the bus, the children looked tired, but full of excitement about their day out of the normal school class routine.“Imebamba” meaning the day was amazing indeed.

 St. Vincent's would like to thank the group of visiting donors that made this special day possible for our children. 

Group picture with children, teachers & volunteers
Group picture with children, teachers & volunteers
Aug 4, 2014

A Path Out of Poverty

St. Vincent
St. Vincent's Scholarship Recipient, Mary

Thank you to our generous donors for funding this project that is sending five girls from Kibera to high school. Girls here so rarely are able to pursue education beyond primary school, so the chance to attend secondary school is a much cherished opportunity. 

One of the scholarship recipients, Mary, says of this opportunity: 

I am glad that being in school will assist me get to out of the poverty cycle that I have seen among other girls my age undergo here in Kibera.

St. Vincent's has selected these girls for support because they are not only among the most needy, but have shown their dedication to their education. The girls' thirst for knowledge and ongoing commitment to their studies continues to impress us and remind us why our work is so important.

Thank you for helping us to help them!

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