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 Children  Kenya Project #6241

Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya

by Zawadi Fund International Vetted since 2010 Site Visit Verified
Lunch time
Lunch time

As we approach Mother’s Day, we thank those at the Centre who mother the children there, providing care and guidance for so many young people. We also think about the next generation of mothers – the young women at the Centre. Research has shown that when girls are educated and delay parenthood, they and their children thrive.

The Centre held a retreat for adolescent girls to discuss healthy relationships, self-confidence and career options. They shared experiences, discussed and role-played while learning how to plan for their futures. You support makes events like this possible!

A gift to the CYEC in honor of your mother is a meaningful way to let her know you appreciate the role of mothers. From now until Mother’s Day, all new recurring gifts will be matched, and all gifts help us build a healthy future for these children.

Fun with the girls
Fun with the girls
Enjoying a literacy day
Enjoying a literacy day

The transition from life on the street to living with the norms of an institution like the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre isn’t easy for young people. With that in mind, last spring, the CYEC opened a drop-in center in Nyeri to connect with children currently on the street. They offer meals and activities such as arts, sports, basic academics, and life skills such as cooking and cleaning to prepare the young people to either enter school (through the CYEC) or (when possible) to reunite with their families. In less than a year, they have enabled 10 children to return home and 34 children to join school, while two are employed locally. Your support makes these life-changing transformations possible!

Teamwork in action
Teamwork in action

In recent years, there has been a focus on the importance of educating girls, both for their own empowerment and for the betterment of their future families. Equally important is instilling the values of positive masculinity in boys so they will grow to be responsible, compasionate  men. 

Each year, the boys at the Centre who are completing eighth grade undergo initiation rites to help them understand the roles and  responsibilities of being a man. Since most of these young people have not experienced healthy family role models, it's critical they be taught these lessons explicitly. The 10-day process is led by CYEC staff, clergy, social workers and teen counselors. Topics include making life choices, financial literacy, healthy sexuality, HIV/AIDS awareness, career goal-setting and substance abuse, among other topics. 

With a support provided by you, these boys will grow to be healthy, ethical men.  Please be sure to remember the CYEC in your holiday giving! 

Football (soccer) stars from KSU, PSU & the CYEC
Football (soccer) stars from KSU, PSU & the CYEC

This summer, the CYEC opened their doors to students from Penn State University and Kansas State University, offering these students the opportunity to learn and grow in ways they could not on their home campuses. Of course it wasn’t all work.  There was lots of football (soccer) including a game with women from both schools and the Centre.

Eight students from Penn State worked in several teams – the business team helped youth develop business plans for their existing or planned enterprises, the leadership team worked with the prefects and staff, and the agriculture team developed a forage management plan to improve nutrition for the dairy cows and identified ways to stabilize the soil on sloped plots.  All the students worked with some of the youth to fence in an area and plant napier grass to be used for forage. The teams were excited to see on-going progress in the agricultural program, providing milk and vegetables for the children, and to see the youth developing their own businesses as they seek to become independent.

Four students from Kansas State spent nine weeks at the Centre this summer. The K-State students worked closely with the prefects, the student leaders who help carry out tasks and enforce Centre rules, with aid from the staff. K-Staters gave the prefects leadership workshops that helped them with the daunting task of leading their peers. Additionally, the K-Staters worked with the staff to reinstate the Zawadi Points system. The children earn points by doing their chores and other jobs, and then they can spend their points in the Zawadi Shop for little treats. This helped add more structure to the daily lives of the children and gave the prefects some leverage in awarding and taking away points. Finally, the K-State students up-dated and consolidated the official rules of the Centre, and posted them in places the children can easily see. This will ensure the children become more familiar with the rules and should help the prefects with discipline.

Both groups of students enjoyed their time at the Centre and appreciate the opportunity to get to know the children, youth and staff at the Centre! While the students worked hard, they know they gained more than they gave.

PSU students and CYEC planting napier grass
PSU students and CYEC planting napier grass
K-Staters & Issa opening the Zawadi Shop
K-Staters & Issa opening the Zawadi Shop
KSU students
KSU students' leadership workshop for the prefects
Little green peppers
Little green peppers

The eco-village at Othaya was established several years ago to provide youth a place where they can live and work as they transition to independent living.  Currently three youth are living and working there to help provide the Centre with fresh produce for the children. Vegetable production there has taken off this season. The youth have cleared additional land and planted green peppers, tomatoes and cabbages, with bananas in the perimeter. With food prices tripling due to the drought, it’s important they produce what they can, as they still have to purchase corn and other basic needs.

The eco-village site is also used to host events and is being developed for eco-tourism. It's a beautiful setting with many charms! Your support helps provide opportunities for the youth and education and care for the children – thanks for all you do!

Flowers at the gate
Flowers at the gate
Guest huts
Guest huts

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Organization Information

Zawadi Fund International

Location: Paoli, PA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Janelle Larson
Director of Zawadi Fund International
Nyeri, Kenya
$79,577 raised of $85,000 goal
958 donations
$5,423 to go
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