Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre (SYSC)

Vision: To empower disadvantaged and marginalized slum youth, women and at-risk families in a sustainable way. Mission: To improve the quality of life for people living in extreme poverty in Nyeri district, Kenya's biggest slum, through social and economic development programs and community services, with a special focus on children, youth and poor women.
Dec 2, 2013

Thanks, you helped us build two toilets!

Our new two-stall toilet
Our new two-stall toilet
Dear friend,
With your support, we have now built two modern, hygenic toilet stalls outside our newly rebuilt centre.  Our centre has not had a toilet in the past and this addition will make participating in our programs more comfortable for all users.  Most of the youth who use our centre live in serious poverty and are accustomed to sharing a pit latrine with about 30 others. 

Here's how we spent your money on construction materials and labour (in Kenyan shillings):

1 lorry quarry stones: 14,000
1 lorry sand: 14,000
4 x 900 iron roofing sheets: 3,600
6 x 750 bags cement: 5,800
2 Toilet systems: 14,000
PVC and other pipes:  2,900
Timber 6 x 4 for roofing: 2,400
2 timber doors – 3200 x 2: 6,400
Door frames 1250 x 2: 2,500
A mason and 2 labourers   2,000 x 5 days: 10,000
Plumber: 2,500
Nails 2’’ x 2, 3’’ x 2: 520
2 windows: 2,400
Draining line/system work: 4,400
Metal water tank and pipes: 5,500
Total: 90,920 = $ USD 1,082
We are slightly under our estimated budget of $1200. The difference will be used to paint the exterior of the toilets and will help withoutsanding priorities, like installing eavestroughs on and electrical wiring in our centre.
We are so grateful for your help. A $1,200 project probably doesn't seem very big to you, but it's often hard to get the attention of funders with really small projects. Many don't fund infrastructure either. Support from individual donors like you is the reason why we are successful in changing the lives of slum youth. 
Thank you so much.
Joe Mwai
Youth we support
Youth we support
Nov 18, 2013

Progress on improving slum youth's lives

Scouts troop meeting in our new centre
Scouts troop meeting in our new centre

Hello friends,

It's time for another update on our work to improve the lives of slum youth here in Nyeri town, Kenya.

We're really happy to let you know that since we last wrote we have completed a two-stall toilet just outside the facility where offer we offer our youth drop-in and programming centre. For the first time, youth - most of whom are accustomed to sharing one pit latrine with 30 others - have access to a hygenic, modern toilet when they use our centre. This is an extremely exciting improvement for everyone, and we are so thankful to our Global Giving supporters for making this dream a reality.

The past three months have been active for us in the areas of fundraising and planning. We have submitted several new grant applications, thanks to the hard work of our new on-line volunteers.  We have been researching the feasibility of growing bamboo along the nearby Chania river as a means of sustainable income development for local women. And our local Scouts troop has been brainstorming on ways to help the community and themselves. They are now exploring opportunities to train in first aid and emergency preparedness, with the goal of eventually being able to train others.

We've heard from our supporters that they like to hear from those we help.  Here's another story from one of our beneficiaries.  Is there anything you'd like to know about SYSC? Respond to this email and let us know.

"I have been involved with SYSC since I was 12 years. I am from a family of 8 children and a single mother. When our father left and my mother later lost her job, we did not have a home and my mom turned to Mama Mugo (SYSC’s founder) for help.  I lived at SYSC when it was Mama Mugo’s Childrens Home.  SYSC gave me a place to live and sponsored my education through secondary school.  Afterward, through a SYSC donor, I attended a hospitality college, where I trained as a cook. Now I work for the Kenyan Red Cross as a cook. I am self reliant and able to help my mom and two younger sisters. I volunteer at SYSC once in a while, when I can.  I want to give back because I owe what I am today to SYSC.  I would like to see SYSC grow to be a bigger organization that can reach out to more youth and children because what they do is very important." - Nicholas Mureithi -

In conclusion, THANK YOU for your kindness and generousity. You are making a direct difference to youth who are isolated and receive no programming support from the Kenyan or local government.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Joe Mwai

Chair of the Board

Single mother
Single mother's support group meeting
Our new toilet
Our new toilet
Aug 21, 2013

A new centre and a new beginning for slum youth

Our new stone and mortar centre
Our new stone and mortar centre

Dear friends,

We are so pleased to let you know that our new centre is complete and back in use! We now have a safe and permanent place for youth to escape the streets.  This new building will be able to withstand the threat of erosion that faces so many of the buildings erected in these hillside slums.  The community and youth we serve are really excited about this new beginning and we are so grateful for your help.

We are now fundraising $1200 USD to meet a new local government requirement to install a 2-stall public toilet for the centre's users. This will offer a hygenic facility to people who are accustomed to sharing a pit latrine with up to 30 others. Please click here if you are able to help us out with a small donation toward this goal:

Right now, we are also focused on fundraising so we can offer more job skills training. Most youth here do not get the opportunity to finish school due to the cost and the obligations to contribute to their family's income. Job skills training in the high-demand sectors of tailoring and welding helps slum youth build a successful livelihood.

Fundraising is hard for us as a small grassroots organization, so we are thrilled to have the help of some new 'online' volunteers who are helping us with different parts of fundraising, like research and writing. It is amazing for us to think that there are people in South Korea, France and Australia who are giving their time to help us out, just as it touches us to think about you giving generously to at-risk youth whom you do not know.

We recently checked back in with some of the youth we've served in the past to record their stories and thought we'd share one with you:

I am 20 years old, the eldest in a family of 7 and a resident of Shauri Yako - Witemere slums in Nyeri town.  I went to school up to class 6 and then dropped out due hunger and poverty. In my family finding food was a priority, which left little or no time for education. It was very difficult for my mom to put food on the table, so I started working at a very early age to try and help by doing all kinds of odd jobs, including house help. A course instructor who knew my family introduced me to SYSC.  In 2010, at the age of 17, I took part in a free six month tailoring skills training program at SYSC. Afterward I volunteered as an assistant instructor at SYSC while looking for a job. In 2011, I took a micro-credit loan and started a dress and curtain-making business in my rented room here in the Shauri Yako slums. Today I am earning enough to pay rent, support my mom and 6 siblings, and I am also training them in tailoring. Discovering SYSC changed my life – see where I am now!  - Jane Kamau

Lastly, we'd like to ask you if you have any questions about the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre, the slums where we work or the youth we serve? Please hit reply to this email - we'd be happy to hear from you with questions or ideas. 

Thanks again for your support.

Joe Mwai

Chair of the Board


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