Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with the economic growth rate at 4.9% in just the first quarter of 2015. With such a high economic growth rate, it attracts a lot of investors in all the sectors of business be it, agriculture, healthcare, finance, technology and so many more. Opportunities for growing Kenya are so many and varied.
However, even with such promise in Kenya, there is still the part of society that lies forgotten and desolate. In any neighborhood in Kenya you will find a divide between the elite and the poverty stricken estates. Walk into Nairobi town early in the morning, the streets are filled with homeless men, women and children, sleeping on card board boxes and covering themselves with potato sacks. This is still the same Kenya that has one of the first growing real estate markets in Kenya even higher than Miami, USA in 2011-2012. Poverty in Kenya’s cities still astounds most given the fast growth of our economy.
Negative factors such as HIV/AIDS, environmental hygiene, lack of education and lack of consistent and substantial income are contributing factors to the increasing population of underprivileged people. This section of the society requires all the positive aid it can be given if they are to rise from the position they are at right now.
Smile Community Centre was founded in the year 2009 to fill one of the opportunity niches provided by this situation. Margret Nekesa Khaemba, a mother of three, saw the need in the society for a safe haven where women and children in informal settlements could gain support, training and counseling to help them make a better life for themselves. She worked in the community by counseling women ,teaching them home based care,helping needy children with food and linking them to educational support and hospital facilities in the informal settlements of Kayole.As time went by,she learnt that most of the women did not have basic skills to help them earn a living.She mobilized them and registered Smile self help group,which involved training the women and youth to make bead-works,detergents and food items to sell.
However, as time went by, we realized that formalizing the group to a community based organization will allow us to broaden programs and increase the reach of our support; hence we registered the group as a Community Based Organization (CBO) in 2015. We are now located near PCEA church sabasaba , in the east lands of Nairobi, Kenya.This has allowed us to open our doors to orphaned children housing them in our new establishment Smile Community Children Home. It has also allowed us to offer special programs such as a feeding program and income generating programs to help youth and women so that they can help themselves.
Smile community children home has become a safe haven for vulnerable children in the informal settlements, who are mostly left alone orphaned by HIV & AIDS. The center runs with unsustainable support of well-wishers .Currently we lack a sustainable donor to support the program.
The centre , which is made of iron sheets currently hosts 8 children and 9 other children at well-wishers homes due to lack of enough space and facilities.
We are getting a lot of requests from the local police station and people in the community to host and support more vulnerable children but due to lack of enough space and sustainable donor program, we are not able to take in many children , we are networking with other children’s home in Nairobi to refer these children there.
Our dream is to have enough space to comfortably accommodate and support more ,have a community school and hospital for the centre.
Volunteers work between 5-8 hours, they can choose in between
Tags: sustainability, at-risk youth, education, poverty, youth