(Hamjambo)…Greetings from Mathare, Nairobi
With this letter, we are very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting. This project first appeared on Global Giving in November 2007 and since then we have received a lot of support for it from people like you. Every one of us here is truly grateful to all your support over the past two years and we hope to receive your continued help for this project in the years to come. So many, many thanks for your generous support.
In April we held our tenth anniversary celebrations in which both the founders, Cathal and Susi joined us with the children and their parents/guardians to celebrate this auspicious occasion. With the founders were a group of donors from England who are helping us to build a children center in the slum. Children and parents were the main participants in the celebration and all of them had the opportunity to express their dreams, hope and gratitude. Some children expressed their messages through performing a play. About 7 girls performed a play, explaining street children sufferings.
The play also illustrated the need of the street children for basic child rights. The play aimed to raise children's awareness about their rights, as well as the process they go through when joining the project to when they go to school. They also approached this through songs, and 5 girls preformed songs calling for a better life and gratitude for the project’s involvement in uplifting their life. Antonina, 12 years old, recited a poem on her school life after being on the streets and the message was strong enough to touch the feelings of all the audience.
Youth participation was a big part of the celebration event in which youth discussed issues affecting their wellbeing; they called for nondiscrimination against youth (regardless of gender, ethnicity, color or nationality). The call was for better skills development opportunities for youth to improve their lives. This focused on such things as how youth can play a main role in their community, especially when they find support from NGOs like Mathare Children’s Fund Panairobi and other sources. Parents /guardians also performed for the crowd and invited the guests to join them and gave a thrilling show to the children. Attached you can see some photos of the celebration.
Following the entertainment, the founders, one of the donors, staff, a parent and a child gave speeches. Cathal had this to say why he felt compelled to start the organization, "These kids blew me away the first time I saw them. They had nothing and yet managed to smile all through. In my own personal experiences I have seen what can happen when children are given the love and support they need to reach their potential. I was excited to be a part of a mission of helping excluded and impoverished children around the slums in Mathare,” he said. After the talks, a meal for all was served.
As many of you know, we have been working on building a children centre in the slum, where our daily feeding, educational and counseling activities can take place. I have to report that, following the dissolution of the contractor responsible for the project, it has come to a temporary halt. We have embarked on getting a new contractor to finish the building, which should be hopefully by the end of September. What this means is that we will continue hiring Bethany college grounds and rooms for the month of August when the children leave school for holidays.
From September, we will be recruiting some 20 more children from rehabilitation programs within Mathare. They will be between 7 and 13 years and include both girls and boys. Children who finished high school and started training in basic computers are through and some will be joining different colleges between now and January.
It is also very encouraging to observe that our project staff/parents/children quarterly meetings have improved and helped in further strengthening the relationship between us. This has provided a platform for mutual learning for the parents, staff and the kids about how to make the most of the opportunities offered by the programme. With the regular support and deep faith you and our other friends have put in us for all these years, the project has ensured education for the children - together we have been able to invest in transforming hundreds of lives. We hope to keep building on this foundation and continue to transform lives and expand the dialogue around the issue of education. It would be an absolute pleasure for us to answer any questions you might have.
Many, many thanks once again to all of you. We are very fortunate to have you with us on this important journey.
With warm regards,
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