Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Princess Project Launch

ICA, Faulu Kenya, and Population Council are collaborating to put on a launch of the Princess Project. It will be held on the 3rd of December, in the heart of Kibera, and preparations for the event are now under way!

We are going to have the girls involved in the programme perform skits, poems, and other activities related to what they have learned so far in their sessions.

It's a day to have fun, reach out to the community, and involve the parents of the girls participating.

We're looking forward to this exciting, interesting, and interactive day!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My Story: Teen Pregnancy

I am 20 years old. I am a first born in a family of six. We all live in the Lindi Village of Kibera, with both parents and my six-year-old daughter. My siblings are all in school and my mother is a housewife. My father, the sole breadwinner for the family works with a security firm as a guard in industrial area in the outskirts of the city.

It was not my intention to get pregnant that early, but I had a boyfriend who was also my neighbour. He gave me money to cater for my needs like pads, lotion, and toiletries, and he would even buy food for my family at times. When I got pregnant, my parents wanted to know who was responsible so that he could take accountability for our daughter, but he denied responsibility and moved to another house without telling me where he was.

My parents suggested I procure an abortion because they could hardly provide for the entire family and this was an extra burden to them, but we could not afford the abortion money, so I had to carry the pregnancy out through delivery.

I decided to work as a laundress in a nearby estate along with other women in the community, so that I could earn some savings, which could help me support my child and myself, and earn money to open a sukuma wiki (vegetable) kiosk.

After some few months I started operating the kiosk, which provided well for my family and me until I delivered a baby girl. A year later, I applied to join a nearby secondary school and through my savings from selling the sukuma wiki, I paid for a whole year.

I knew that I would have difficulties in the second year, so I applied for a government scholarship to finance the remaining three years. Due to good performance, I got the scholarship, which provided for the rest of my secondary education. I did very well and attained good grades that would enable me to join a public university in Kenya. However, I might not be able to achieve my dream of becoming a nurse because my family and I cannot afford fees for my university.

I am currently volunteering with ICA as a mentor empowering girls in life skills, reproductive health and financial education. It is my hope that they will be able to make informed decisions and choices for better lives in this community.

My Story: Migration into City Slum Kibera

I came to Kibera in 1994 to come and stay with my dad. My parents divorced when I was two years old. My dad married another wife and my mom was the one to take care of us. We were two children, Titus and myself. When I was barely five years old, my mom passed away. From then life was difficult. Even finding something to eat was hard. I ran from the rural area to Nairobi thinking it would better my life. Jobless in the Nairobi streets, being arrested by the town council was the daily routine. I saw my fellow children going to school being carried by a bus; I though of myself getting a better education but no one was there to listen to me.

One chilly morning, I came into contact with my uncle while picking food from the trash. He picked me and brought me to my father who by that time had a wife and a family. I stayed with my dad, but life grew harder and harder. The family was huge and it was survival for the fittest in terms of getting food and basic needs.
The stress of this life caused my father to become harsh. He came home drunk; he would send us to sleep outside; and he did not value education. He would beat my stepmother every day. I remember one night, they fought until my stepmother fell unconscious with bruises all over her body.

One morning in the hood, my friend who by that time was working as a volunteer at ICA approached me. He introduced me to their organization to come and see what they were doing. I didn’t know that was the beginning of a transformation in my life.

They taught me about gender violence. I went through the training and I was really empowered. And I learned to forgive my father and to deal with the situation when it occurred. I also engaged in their IT program. I was taught IT skills. I completed it and I am giving back to the youths in the community by teaching them. I really appreciate ICA for empowering me and letting me value life and transform other youths. Big up ICA kudos!

My Story: Life in Kibera

I moved to Kibera in 2000 after my father resigned from his job, and at first life was not easy because of the new Kibera environment that I was exposed to. Until then, I had been the kind of a person that would speak negatively about Kibera since it was a slum. I never imagined that such a time would come but I had to face reality.

Having been born and brought up in a secure area, with all social amenities available, the adjustment I had to go through was drastic. Waking up to a noisy neighbourhood with open drainages and sharing bathrooms was something I had to work hard to deal with.

I had to adapt to the environment, like being transferred from my primary school to join another school and making new friends. Life was not easy, but even with all the challenges, I managed to finish my primary school education and join a secondary school in the rural area for four years.

After my secondary education, I had to come back and apply for my college education. I stayed for two years without attending school, and during these years, life for me was difficult.

I had friends who exposed me to drugs like miraa and marijuana, and robbery life just to get fast money to buy clothing and shoes to be on the fashion trend.

After a year, I made the decision to have a better life, and got a sponsor who took me to school for computer studies for a year. Currently, I am at university studying Social Development. Life can still be challenging though. Sometimes I have to walk four kilometres (2.5 miles) to school or to Kibera at night, which can be dangerous, because I can’t afford the bus, and school fees are still an issue. Above all, life for me must continue despite its trials.

My Story: Aftermath of Post-Election Violence in Kibera

In 2007 and 2008, everybody - everything came to a standstill, just after the announcement of the presidential election results. What followed was a clash between the two opposing tribes in Kibera. Chaos emerged as people poured from their houses with weapons. I watched helplessly as my house was torched and my property destroyed. Many lost their lives.

Everything I had worked for in years since I came to Nairobi went to ashes in one day. The fact that I am a Luo living in an area dominated by Kikuyus cost me my life as I knew it, and I had nothing to show anymore for working the whole of that time.

Life hasn’t been easy since then, and the more I strive to come to a favourable condition, the more standards of living rise. I have no parents to call on, and it is my responsibility to take care of my siblings, but I don’t have the proper education to find a well-paying job. I wake up every day hoping to get a call from the organizations that I have been trying to secure jobs with, but all I get are rejections. I only wish I could further my education and get a job that could pay my bills and help me save money so that my children never go through this life of torture and suffering.

There’s still a ray of hope that I can.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Eagle Project

 The trainings are under way, and recruitment of Form Four Students, our target group, has begun. We hope that they join our program for the next three months as they await their KCSE results, due out in February.

Happyland is going great! We have events every Saturday. Last week we had a small bash just to bring smiles to the kids and to have fun. We had a dancing competition that Tush won, we played games, we sang, and told stories.