On 26th October 2013,a total of 40 peer buddies(students without intellectual developmental disability) from Mother Way high school attended Best Buddies organizational training that was conducted at their school. The aim of the training was to introduce Best Buddies program to the school as well as training the new recruits on the rules, policies and procedures of Best Buddies. All the 40 interested students were matched into one-on-one friendship with buddies (students with intellectual developmental disability) from the neighboring St.Maurus special school. Also in attendance were head teachers from both St.Maurus and Mother Way high school. The elected chapter president, James Musyoki (a student without intellectual developmental disability, who is in charge of the chapter) from Mother Way had this to say “Am proud to be part of the change that I want to bring into our world-by integrating people with intellectual development disability into our society so that they too can be seen as equal and part of us.”
BEST BUDDIES GLOBAL FORUM
As from 12-15th November 2013, Best Buddies International organized a global Best Buddies staff forum in Netherlands that saw a total of 15 country chapters attending. Amongst the invited countries was Best Buddies Kenya, represented by its Director Mr.Enouce Ndeche.The forum’s aim was to create an environment of learning, exchange of knowledge and networking opportunity. Country representatives had opportunities to talk about their respective programs, challenges and the success they have had along as they move on. Best Buddies Kenya presented to the audience about its programs and how effective Best Buddies Kenya programs has been and of course with the support of donors who have been giving through Global Giving,etc and also including the commitment of program participants and other volunteers who have been giving in their time.”Am so excited to join a group of devoted Directors of a global movement that’s making changes in the lives of young people with and without intellectual developmental disability.”Said Best Buddies Kenya,Director Enouce Ndeche.
Best Buddies International has granted Best Buddies Kenya $300 that would go towards funding Best Buddies Kenya Training project. This project is dedicated to establishing a volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies Kenya Training recognizes that people with intellectual disabilities lack the opportunity to socialize with their non-disabled peers and believes that friendship was the key to building the self-esteem essential to a happy and productive life.
The Training project will fulfill the mission of Best Buddies Kenya by organizing and rigorously overseeing volunteer-run chapters on high school campuses. These programs will create opportunities for mutually enriching one-to-one friendships between youth with and without intellectual disabilities. BBK staff will recruit, train, and guide faculty and student leaders in running successful Best Buddies chapters on their campuses. Student leaders will recruit student volunteers at partnering schools to be paired in friendships with “buddies,” youth with intellectual disabilities. A total of 30 high school students who are dedicated to helping those with intellectual disabilities throughout their lives will receive the leadership training that is scheduled for September. Each chapter has at least five officers who will assist with overseeing the matches and organizing chapter activities.
On 25th May, members of Best Buddies Ngei High school chapter hosted a Best Buddies Kenya friendship forum at their school. 30 buddy pairs from all the chapters gathered together to experience, share and network with their colleagues from other schools about their mutual friendship. “This is the day that I have been looking forward to, just to know and learn the friendship relations from other chapter members means a lot to me.” Said Jane a buddy from Mathare special school.
It was a jovial moment of experience and learning as buddy pairs came to mingle together enjoy and share ideas about their respective Best Buddies chapters. Also in attendance were 4 teachers from each chapter and Best Buddies Kenya, Executive Director, Mr.Enouce Ndeche.
The opening ceremony of the forum was conducted by Mr. Francis Nyenze, the principal of Ngei High school who started by thanking all the participants for accepting the invitation. He also thanked the organizers and the donors for making it a success. “The inception of Best Buddies program in my school has been of great importance and revolution not only to the student participants but to ALL the entire teachers, staff, parents and the community surrounding. Gone are those times and days that people with intellectual disabilities were perceived as a curse in the society. We need to embrace them, socialize and integrate them into our schools, society and working places, and am super excited by Best Buddies Kenya for taking up this mantle to champion these values. I therefore wish you a wonderful moment of friendship interaction and all the BEST in your Best Buddies friendship endeavours. “Said Mr.Francis.He also welcomed other teachers from other schools who also praised the Best Buddies movement and thanked students from Ngei High school for organizing the forum.
That awaited time of experiencing friendships, networking and getting to know each other came on board. Buddy pairs from every chapter mingled freely, talking to each other about their mutual friendships and the impact that Best Buddies movement has brought to their school and the entire community. “Joining Best Buddies has brought a lot of changes in my personal life and the lives of my family. Having that experience of having John, as my buddy is a significant revolution of my lifestyle. “Said 16 years old Charles, peer buddy from St.Genesis chapter. The forum was brought into conclusion with remarks from Best Buddies Kenya, Executive Director who praised all the teachers and the buddy pairs and Best Buddies Kenya volunteer staff for making the event a great success.He also thanked all the GlobalGiving donors for their generous financial contribution towards Best Buddies Kenya movement. He appealed for more financial support that would enable Best Buddies Kenya to organize this kind of events and deliver its activities effectively. Best Buddies Kenya happily invites feedback requests from the donors as this would strengthen and direct us towards achieving our goals.
After experiencing a life changing experienceand a mutual friendship that Best Buddies provides to both students with andwithout intellectual disability, 10 students from Ngei high school wererecruited into Best Buddies movement. Each new recruit “peer buddy” (a studentwithout intellectual disability) was matched into a one-to-one friendship witha “buddy” (a student with intellectual disability) from Mathare special schoolbringing to a total of 60 matches from 50 matches in the year 2012.” At first Iwas kind of afraid to have a friend with intellectual disability because Ithought I would also be affected, that’s why I couldn’t join Best Buddies, butafter watching the development of my classmate’s friendship with his buddy, Icame to realize that it is just a normal friendship that comes with lots of joyand experience in someone’s life. On the other hand the way peer buddies havebeen having their chapter activities and meetings, it clearly shows how BestBuddies also builds leadership skills amongst students without intellectualdisability who have been matched into a one-to-one friendship with buddies. “Said15 year old Fredrick Mwanga, a newly recruited peer buddy from Ngei High schoolwho is in form two
Best Buddies Kenya would like to express itsutmost THANKS to: all the donors who have been donating through GlobalGiving ,teachers of Ngei high school and Mathare special school for their continousprogrammatic support and the entire Best Buddies Student volunteers for makingit happen…
On 29th November 2012, Best Buddies chapters organized for a farewell party for all peer buddies who are sitting for their final form four high school examinations. The form four peer buddies from all the chapters and their buddies contributed some amount of money to organize for the event. A total of 60 buddy pairs from all the chapters attended this event that was organized at Ngei High school. Every school was represented by a faculty advisor teacher (the teacher who works closely with Best Buddies Kenya in terms of matching students).Also invited was Best Buddies Kenya, Executive Director, Enouce Ndeche.
It was a great moment full of joy and fun activities and laughter as buddy pairs exchanged words of encouragements.”My experience with Best Buddies has been quite phenomenal; my buddy Felix juma has made a significant difference in my life and this is something that has been absorbed in me even when am out of school.”Said Patrick Njagi, peer buddy to Felix. There was lots of drinks and snacks as well some cool music playing in the background to grace the occasion.
At the conclusion time, the chapter presidents (a student in charge of a chapter) from all the schools and buddy director (buddy representative from each school) were invited to the platform to express out their views about the Best Buddies friendship. All the presidents and buddy directors congratulated all buddy pairs for their impressive mutual friendship and wished all the peer buddies (students without intellectual disability) all the best and good luck as they face their final examinations.
After the students comments, teachers were also invited to express their views.”It is such a great moment to see buddy pairs coming together for a farewell party, the friendship experience that they have had will no longer erase as this will continue for the rest of their lives. Starting it from Best Buddies is such a great start as they will have a positive perception towards people with intellectual disability and this will bridge the gap.”Said Mrs Josephine Atieno a teacher from Genesis High School.
Lastly, the Executive Director of Best Buddies Kenya,Enouce Ndeche was also invited to express his views.”I just wanna thank you all the buddy pairs for organizing this wonderful event. This really shows how Best Buddies friendship has been of great impact to your lives. If you are the people to create the change that we need and make this world an equal place where people with intellectual disability will freely be included in our social places, work places and our schools. Last I wish all peer buddies all the best in your final examination and thanking all the donors: corporate and individuals from GlobalGiving who have been making a generous contribution to support Best Buddies Kenya.”Said Enouce.
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