Komarock Canal Beautification Update
Komarock Canal is coming along nicely. Last week we installed one of four park benches which were kindly provided by James Mwangi , Komarock Ward Admin. The place is looking fresh and green and inviting – a magical transformation.
Transporting the solid concrete bench to the canal and putting it in place took some serious lifting, but it was no problem for the boys of Mtaa Safi. The whole operation went like clockwork from beginning to end, no squashed fingers or pulled muscles. The whole operation was overseen by a few representatives from James Mwangi’s office who were the first to enjoy the new addition to the growing landscape of the canal.
Three more benches are on the way, and some decorative shrubs, and of course we are continuing to encourage the grass to spread over the whole area. The coming wet season should be just in time to set off the whole thing in an explosion of green – big changes.
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Some of the boys who frequent Mtaa Safi have saved up and invested in a piki-piki.
As you can see, they are already busy installing the essential sound system.
We asked one of the Mtaa Safi fundis what they should do to keep their new asset in top condition and this is what he advised:
Keep being inspired and inspiring.
A very interesting scholarship came up a month ago. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) was giving youth groups a chance to learn hydroponics and as a group will be set up to establish a business in the same industry. Hydroponics is a great way of using urban space for agricultural activities. It is also cheap to setup and run. There is a big market already waiting for good quality produce too! All that is left to do is produce it.
Six of our young members (1 lady and 5 guys) have taken up the challenge and are undergoing certified training at Miramar International College, Muthiga. In Kayole, we have already dabbled in urban agriculture, but not in hydroponics. This is a big and very useful step for Kayole Mtaa Safi and also for the students involved in the study.
While KCB is sponsoring the course fees and a little bit of travel fare, there are still expenses to wear for the student. Books, stationery etc. Of course, there is also the fact that while they are studying, the students are not working to support themselves. This is where you can help.
Click the button at the bottom of the page to make a donation towards the future of these youths.
Pens, exercise books, travel expenses, work-wear, lunch, etc. - if we can help out with these simple things it will allow these students to focus solely on doing well at their studies.
Well, they've finally arrived and 1000s of children couldn't be happier. Every day is now filled with children's playing noises from every corner of Kayole. It's like Sunday for 7 days a week. It's the school holidays.
At the social hall, the numbers swell from a few hundred people per day to a couple1000 due to all the kids activities happening through out the day. Over 60 kids have been showing up for daily acrobatics classes. And they are getting better.
We've also had a few German acrobats come through the place with some gifts and some training. This was exciting and pushed our capacity to new levels. We are still looking for the gym matts and landing mattresses for safer practice. In the mean time, we've offloaded a bunch of squashed sugarcane that makes a fine outdoor matt for practicing cartwheels and flips. The kids love it and it is much much safer!
Thanks for walking with us.
Kayole Mtaa Safi is proud to be able to help Njiwa Medical in their endeavour to help the poor of Kayole and the surrounding area. We have recently raised funds for much needed medical equipment for the clinic.
NJIWA Medical currently operates as a self-funded clinic combining general practice and maternity. Treatment of needy, orphans & homeless is funded by the proceeds from paying clients, who may also receive a discount depending on their circumstances. Mtaa Safi is supporting the efforts of NJIWA MEDICAL with labour and financial support. The clinic building needs work, medical equipment is required, and medicines always need replenishing. Every little bit helps.
According to the World Bank, millions of Kenyans cannot afford to pay for health services. A large fraction of those millions live in Kayole-Soweto. With an estimated population of 700,000 and over 60% unemployment, most families are living on less than $1/day. In an area where cases of cholera, TB and HIV are alarmingly high, where parasites are simply "lived with," and injuries due to accidents and violence are common, affordable healthcare can be a matter of life and death.
Since mid-2017, NJIWA has filled a great void by providing free and affordable healthcare to the needy of Kayole. Our mission is to ensure that NJIWA Medical continues to meet all licensing requirements, becomes eligible to receive free vaccines and subsidies through government health schemes, and is equipped to meet the rising demand upon its resources.
By building sustainability, Njiwa's free services will continue to grow. Many homeless, orphans and needy have already benefited and many more will in the future. Collaboration between NJIWA, Kayole Mtaa Safi and others is building a strong community network of health-minded people with greater influence on decision-makers for the good of all concerned.
As you may know, we have been working to get some of our guys into life enhancing courses and scholarships. Since starting this project, we have applied on behalf of more than 30 youths from our immediate area for various sponsorships from different companies and organizations. One particular sponsorship application we were successful with was the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 2jiajiri program. Of the 20 youth that we helped apply for this sponsorship, six have been given places - four Electrical Wireman trades, one mechanical, and one Tiling Trade.
The sponsorship caters for the study and exam costs and three of the boys were also given travel allowance and food allowance due to their abject living conditions. The challenge is that the allowance is very small, it doesn't cater enough even for simple things. That's where we were able to come in.
We have been able to buy simple but decent bicycles for them to ride to the college. The agreement is that they can use it and gradually pay it off as they earn. After three months of study, they will be going for industrial attachments. By that time, they will have paid of the bike (or most of it) and will have free transport to their workplace.
One of the boys, Antony (21yo), had been at a loss as to what to dream or hope for in his life:
"Even if I had the opportunity to get a sponsorship for college, I would not be able to afford going to study without working. So, going to study was not an option. It was just work, work, work in a dead end job. No time to study."
This is a common plight for the youth in this area of Nairobi. Even if they make it out of high school, there just isn't enough funds available for futher study.
"I was so suprised that I got the KCB sponsor." commented Anthony "There were thousands of applicants. But it was only because Kayole Mtaa Safi supported us form the start that I am going to be successful in doing this. They helped us right from the application to the transport and also the books and things like the geometry set and T-square. Now I have a serious plan and I can't take this opportunity for granted. I know where I have come from and now I know where I am going. Thank you for supporting me."
It is cases like Antony's that let you know you're having an impact. His life will never be the same again because somebody has stirred into his future opportunity and ability.
Our plan is to have at least 10 youth continuously moving through some sort of training/study. As they move out of the college, we hope to replace them with other keen, needy young men and women.
You can help. Just click the button below to see how.
Having set up and run-in the cafe over the last couple of months, we felt it was time to hand-over the cafe to the refugee women with the support of the refugee community here in Kayole and surrounds.
Of course, starting such a business is never easy, and we had our teething problems. But all-in-all, the cafe seems to be a moderate success. But It's more than a successful business venture - it marks the turning point in not a few refugee families. Anita, a 24 year old single mother of three, was beside herself talking about the opportunities this cafe can bring families like hers. "We have never been helped in this way before. No-one has thought about us like this. This will change our lives and our children's lives."
Bishop John is a Kenyan pastor who for over 8 years has been tirelessly looking after refugees from East African nations. He helps them physically and uplifts them spiritually. When John and his team agreed to take on board the oversight of the cafe project, we knew we were leaving it in good hands. His extensive experience, his good standing among the community make him and his team an excellent choice for the oversight and direction of the project.
So, we had a little party. Cakes were eaten and sodas were downed. Big dudes in high places were there and the little people were too - all rubbing shoulders and having a good time in celebration of a successful project and a bright future for all involved. (The local chief, MP and County Rep were present).
Then there were the goodbyes. But not the Game Over. Having now been running for over a month without us looking over their shoulder, the cafe is still going strong. Good memories and discounted dinners are now ours for the taking anytime we want!
AND THIS IS ALL THANKS TO DONATIONS. If you were one of those generous people, no matter how small or large it was money-wise, it was BIG to us. You could have used it somewhere else, but you stood by us and our needs. Thank you.
This project also made another impact in our little organisation. It allowed us to use the GlobalGiving platform for other projects. That was no small feat in itself. There are very, very few crowdfunding platforms that allow a small grass-roots community organisation in a developing world with no office in a first-world to run a crowdfunding exercise for us. Nor with the professionalism and support that puts GlobalGiving ahead of the rest of the platforms.
Each and every donation counted - that's no exaggeration - we only crossed the finish line with one donor more than we needed and that one was almost too late! It just goes to show how much a little bit of help from many people can do.
Thanks again for sticking by us.
I invite you to check out our other projects currently running. We are supporting young men and women in reaching their dreams of a higher education. In Kayole, this is a pipe-dream to most youth. Now it is becoming a reality.
Having just finished the school holiday period all minds are now tuned back to learning in the classroom. But it is good to appreciate other forms of learning too. Some of the best and most important learning comes from casual but directed interactivity with good role models. Rubbing shoulders with these children and doing something we both love so much is a great learning experience. The energies are poured into life-shaping experiences that effect both the mind and body in such a wholesome way. Some of our kids spent everyday of the holidays at the Social Hall fine tuning their acrobatic prowess. A safe and fun environment gives these kids a chance that most kids from such a slum like Kayole can't have.
This framework of constructive learning is helping shape the lives of some 40 kids into more focused and disciplined kids ready to take life's challenges more sturdily.
KCB Foundation is offering scholarships to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. "At least 92% of unemployed youth have formal education but do not possess any skills Kenyan youth (are) unable to find jobs and unable to become self-employed " - KCB Executive Director Ms Mwangi. We at Mtaa Safi are assisting a few of our bright young people in preparing their applications for this scholarship. We will also provide successful applicants with the support needed to complete their courses.
KCB Foundation is scaling up its scholarship program to increase the role of youth in achieving the 2030 sustainable development agenda. The aim is to end extreme poverty through imparting skills that will empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. Courses in construction, automotive and agriculture are being offered to meet the dire need for skilled labor in Kenya. Here in Kayole, where most people live on less than $1 per day, even with a scholarship these vocations are out of reach.
We at Mtaa Safi have been working side-by-side with unemployed youth in Kayole for years. We have hand-picked ten youth from low-income families with the potential to succeed not only in their studies, but in contributing to their community. Mtaa Safi will provide assistance with transport, lunch and initial fees and expenses. We will also be on hand to share our technical know-how and give encouragement.
This handful of youths, having seized this opportunity and applied themselves to achieving will be an example to their peers. The children of Kayole need good role models: young citizens who are succeeding through hard work and diligence, and in turn, contributing to their families and community.
If you would like to help us with this project, just click the button below.
Post in this blog are contributed by the various members of Kayole Mtaa Safi Initiative.