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 29, 2014

Christmas in the Slums - and a Thank You

To all our Friends around the World:
“Kidogo changu pokea na dua njema nakuombea – Please accept this little from me along with my prayers”. (Swahili proverb)
 
SYSC would like to take a moment to wish you all a happy holiday season - whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and a happy New Year - and thank you so much for the kindness you have shown the youth that we support.
In Kenyan culture, Christmas is a time for families and loved ones to get together, worship, share and feast. In the slums of Shauri Yako the spirit is the same for most people who live here.  Although it’s really a struggle to put food on the table every day, they have a big heart. I think Christmas is a time for those who live here to look forward to a better new year and a time to truly forget their troubles and experience the true kindness of family and friends.
To ensure that as many people as possible in the community will have enough to eat on Christmas day, people save food for days. Few have gifts to share, but food is plentiful. People prefer the most tasty and economical food, pilau rice.  Families invite neighbours and others in need. "Come as you are, it's Christmas". There are gatherings in churches, singing and children dressed in their best head out to play at the Mau Mau Freedom Fighter’s grave yard, the only green space available near the slum.This year, we have a new youth-organized choir and, perhaps by next Christmas, a trained music band.
If might be able to give a little to help support our job skills training for youth, we'd be so grateful. Recurring donations of 4 months duration or more are being matched at 100% until December 31st.
All the best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year!
Joe Mwai
Dec 1, 2014

The Hope You've Given Slum Youth Lately

Setting up for computers training
Setting up for computers training

Hello to our friends around the world,

We writing to tell you about how, through your help, Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre (SYSC) is continuing to provide vocational education and skills training to at risk youth.

We have been focusing on youth training in computer operations, word processing, internet and email. There are currently 21 youth receiving training two days a week. This gives them a chance to compete for a wide range of jobs that nowadays require basic computer skills, such as supermarket cashier. They are also able to use the internet when here to search information and access social media, something kids all around the world do, but these slum youth would otherwise have no access to. 

As well, in October 2014, we launched a very popular music classes, with lessons in keyboards, guitar and vocals. The music program has 55 student participants, who have access to a range of instruments and equipment newly donated by the Nourish student foundation at the University of North Carolina. We are thrilled to have two volunteer keyboard teachers, offering lessons for twelve hours over the weekends, as well as a volunteer keyboard teacher. SYSC also offers music trainees with free internet access. 

 The music program is having a big impact on the youth participants, teaching them not just a useful, employable skills, but also offering a creative outlet to kids whose lives are otherwise filled with the stress and challenges of poverty. We are delighted to report that the youth have now organized their own choir and drama group. We are now striving to raise $2000 to employee a music program for a year in order to continue this highly successful program.

My Name is Muthoni Wanjama, I am 16 years old and a beneficiary of SYSC job skills job skills training is the only way to escape poverty and become self-reliant. I am so grateful to all those who support our programs. SYSC has brought training opportunities to the youth of Shauri Yako that we only use to dream of. I have just completed a computer course and I am now in SYSC music class, learning how to play piano. I would like to be a musician one day. I believe it’s possible.

SYSC’s future plan is to put in place more arts courses, including digital media arts. This kind of training is suitable for self-employment and meets growing demand for these services locally. Do you have ideas or skills in this area or know of any potential partner organizations? If you can help, we’d love to hear from you and borrow from your expertise as we develop a project proposal. We are also always thrilled to receive donations of used equipment – particularly musical instruments, books and computers.

Please know that it is only with your support that SYSC can achieve its mission to give youth the skills they need to lift themselves from poverty. We remain a small grassroots organization that depends on the kindness of our individual donors around the word.

With our deepest gratitude,

Joe Mwai

Our new musical instruments!
Our new musical instruments!
Aug 29, 2014

Action You are Making Possible to Help Slum Youth

Housing
Housing

Dear Friends,

 

We’re happy to send you another update on our actions to support the development and economic welfare of youth in Shauri Yako’s slums.

Youth Skills Training:

In June 2014, we recieved a donation of musical instruments from Nourish, a student-led organization at the University of North Carolina. We are now working with Nourish on the development of instuctional DVDs to teach youth how to play, and give them both an employable skill and the joy of music. We are also pursuing volunteer instructors and funding partners to help us expand this project. It is our longer-term objective to form a community band that can work for hire.

Thanks to Global Giving donors, we have also raised several hundred dollars to launch a computer and internet training project. While we didn’t meet our fundraising goal, we are able to bring internet connectivity into these slums for 5 months, along with a computer skills trainer. This is an enourmously important project, because internet connectivity is cost prohibitive for slum youth, who have little to no access to computers anyway. Through internet connectivity and basic training, we will be able to offer youth access to networks, employers, educational tools and – perhaps most importantly – ideas from which they are currently barred due to their economic class.

Reproductive Health Education:

Unplanned youth pregancy amongst girls as young as 13 years is a huge problem in Shauri Yako’s slums and contributing to child trafficking. Cases of stolen and abandon children are reported everyday. To address this issue, SYSC is working in colloboration with Family Health Options Kenya, who have provided SYSC staff with reproductive health counseling training so we can, in turn, support the community. We are also planning and seeking partners for a full reproductive health program.

Community Housing and Safety:

The population of Shauri Yako’s slums is rapidly growing, forcing people to build temporary housing structures along the Chania River and within the Mau Mau War cemetary. This is creating environmental and cultural pressures. In response, SYSC youth are mobilizing the community’s residents to launch a campaign to highlight these issues and pursuade Nyeri County goverment to find a sustainable housing solution. See the attached photos depicting local housing realities.

Fire disasters are common in the Shauri Yako slums, due to the use of highly flamable cooking fuel and building materials. Fire fighting is challenging because there are no roads within the slums and most houses here are attached. A SYSC youth volunteer group is now working with the Nyeri county goverment to educate residents on fire prevention and response. They are also exploring whether an emergency water point can be installed, or access roads be developed.

Lastly, we’re proud to let you know that the SYSC Scout Troop was selected to participate in the organizing committee for the International Scouts Jamboree in August 2014.

As always, we are eager to hear from you. If you have ideas or feedback on our work, please reply to this email. If you are interested in volunteering with SYSC here or from your home, we have lots you can do to help us help youth. And if you are able to donate, we would be enormously grateful for your support. We are small, grassroots, and dependent on the support of individual donors, but our impact is big for our size.

Sincerely,

Joe Mwai

Chair of the Board

Housing
Housing
 
   

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