If the world has never seen the next mother Theresa, then you are in for a rude shock, believe me , I met one recently. This incredible woman has touched the lives on many, some call her mama, others call her Daktari, the kiswahili version of doctor, I call her Mama Hope and the list of her names is endless. This is Dr Liz Odera, simple and very simple indeed, from her way of dressing to her car and her hairstyle, very sportish though, you can be sure this lady is not anywhere close to having high blood pressure despite the amount of work revolving around her.
I met her an evening prior to my visit, for the monitoring exercise, my wildest of thoughts let me down. She was simple, humble and yet articulate. She kept her academic title away for this day, and kept my heart melting away, a few kids in school uniforms milled around her as we treated ourselves to a concorsion of sprite , ginger ale and fresh lemon. She introduced me to the kids as her friend. This made the kids feel at ease. "Tell my friend about yourself, she softly requested the two boys."
I could see the trust in their eyes. The two boys opened up and their story on how much Daktari has impacted positively in their lives. But they said," you must work hard in sports to earn the scholarships in this place. Once you are here you get the best. Mama gives us the best education. We love her," they say.
I try my best to provide a future for these children, It has been a sacrifice from my family and friends to come this far, it has been expensive, but we have no regrets.
I ask why she got herself into all this work. "We are a family that is blessed in academics and we wanted to share in our blessings with others and the best way for us was to reach out to these children, who would most probably never have seen the door to a school. So we gave it the best shot and here we are."
I keep wondering to myself why that level of simplicity, so I collect my courage and ask.
"You can only reach the groups we work with in simplicity and that has been my brand, I love being simple," Liz said. A few more kids hover around her and one of them is her daughter, she treats her the same way, makes introductions and then calmly but firm, tells her, "I will talk to you honey, when am done with my visitor," she tells her daughter.
This woman has extended her hands of love to many young people and facilitated lasting change in their lives. How do you survive all these? was my question to her, "I have learnt to delegate, the beneficiaries both present and past have given their all to serve, that is the only way they can give back to society, this is all about putting some value systems in our children. We do not only teach and train, but we mentor."
I am glad that I took my evening off to get to know this incredible woman, so I fix my formal appointment for the next day.
This woman, has invested in humanity, in love, hope and a future, and for her, I could tell, it is about others, not about her, in her whole life's equation, she came last, but fulfilled.
Please download the full evaluation on the site. Here is an excerpt of what Leah wrote:
The clear focus on sports for mentorship of responsible future citizens of Kenya can not be underscored. Both beneficiaries and benefactors view the project with a lot of pride, they all want to be part of this success story.
The community talks well of the project.
The community offers free labor and time to the project.
The funds, have gone towards providing scholarships for vulnerable youth from Kibera slums in Nairobi, hosting soccer tournaments and provision of eqiupments to enhance social change amongst the youth, feeding program, training coaches and construction of toilets in Kibera (just to note that all financial records were availed to us for scrutiny).
Interviews with community:
Says the relationship between Sadili and the kibera community is quite mutual and the benefits can easily be felt or rather seen on the ground. It is because of this that he prefers to talk less but rather invite visitors to take a field trip with him to actually have a firsthand experience on what’s happening and hear it verbatim from the horse’s mouths.
Faiz tells me “Sadili is a path for the youth leading people towards the light. Personally I wasn’t a sports person but now I am a sports enthusiast, so you can imagine what it can do to the youth.”
Kibera has some areas that had been completely ignored by other NGO’s but thanks to Sadili an area like Katwekera now has a toilet. He informs me that Sadili was actively involved in drawing the country’s sports policy where members of parliament are setting up sports centres through the Constituency Development Fund. He concludes, “you see all this things are visible - you don’t need to scream about them”.
During our interview with Liz, Francis kept appearing on the scene to give our host updates and to us he was one of the normal beneficiaries, but this was not to be when I decided to have a one on one chat with him to find out exactly what he is being trained on.
Born 19 years ago in the slums of kibera Francis attended Olympic primary school but dropped out because his parents were not able to afford the kind of school that was being charged by the school.
During one of his strolls in the slum he saw banners highlighting a football tournament dubbed "nature in sports" organised by Sadili sports club. The tournament mainly involved children from the slums. He fell in love with the programme and has never looked back.
Francis later joined Raila Educational school where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education where he scored 398 marks out of the possible 500. He joined Chavakali High school through the sponsorship of Sadili Oval. He sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in the year 2008 where he passed with a mean grade of A- and is soon joining the university to pursue a career in Bio chemistry.
Due to the demand of his career path, Francis has decided to give the programme his maximum time by being involved in various activities, Apart from being the rugby coach he assists in Soccer, tennis and is also involved in the after school programmes by offering tuition services to those students who are weak in science subjects, to Francis just to quote him he says “Basically Sadili is a bridge to greater heights if you implement the teachings and empowerment offered by the institution”
Francis is happy of have been the person behind the 5th annual langata youth soccer league which ran from 9th to 30 July bringing together 284 teams and among those who attended include The Right Hon Prime Minster Raila Odinga,The French ambassador to Kenya,Mr Abbas Gullet the sec of Red Cross. During the event over 200 trees were planted. Being aware of the kind of support received from Global giving ,he wishes Global Giving could market itself more for the world to know the kind of work they are doing to kids out there who think their life is hopeless .