International Day for the Street Children 2017

Kenya News

International day for the street children is marked annually on the 12th April since 2011 to create awareness on the millions of street children in the world so their rights may not be ignored.

Koinonia Community in partnership with Amani and the MAECI project worked together in ensuring that street children in Nairobi have a remarkable day, through the Koinonia Street Kids Tournament. The past two weeks street children from different areas in Nairobi have been practicing twice per week for the ultimate final of the tournament that took place today at the Joseph Kang’ethe Community Centre in Woodley area, Nairobi County.

Eight different teams took part in the tournament; Adams, Mutindwa, Santiago, Van Couver, Anita Home, Majengo Base, Kawangware and Riverside in football and in the 100m race. Each team brought the A game and were all hopeful in winning, however the matches  after the normal time play ended on a barren draw and had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. The ultimate winner for the tournament for the boys’ side was Van Couver and on the girls side Anita carried the day. All the teams were awarded with jerseys and footballs that will enable them in their sports activities, winners were also given trophies for their hard work.

Through the tournament it has created an opportunity for street children to interact and bond with other children from different areas. This year will see the publication of the United Nation’s General Comment on children in the streets, which states that every child has rights regardless of their gender, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, abilities or any other form of distinction. This will go a long way in giving guidelines to governments in ensuring street children’s rights are recognized.

Word Health Day 2017

Kenya News

On the 7th of April every year the world celebrates World Health Day, whereby this year the key focus is depression themed as let’s talk. Depression is one of those terms that one uses when they are feeling sad or miserable about life, where by these feelings fade in due time but if they persists over time it could be a sign of one being depressed.

Depression is a treatable condition however about 50% of the cases go untreated as most people still don’t understand it or the stigma associated with it. Kenya is  ranked 6th by the World Health Organization in a report released early this year, about 1.9 m cases reported in 2016. Number of people with depression has increased by 18% since 2005. Depression cases are highest in Nigeria, followed by Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo comes in 3rd  in Africa. Globally about 300 million people are affected by depression.

Depression varies from person and can be as a result of one or more reasons such as loss of a loved one, life events, anger, physical conditions, anxiety, medication side effects, use of drugs, childhood experiences etc. Statistics indicate that more women are affected by depression than men, also higher in older people

Depression can be controlled through engaging in physical activities, storytelling in young children as it eliminates anxiety, counselling in cases of life events, acceptance of physical conditions and living positively.

With a Big Vision, I Take my Step

Kenya News

John Nduati is among a group of young people who have gathered at Shalom House, Nairobi, for a two day workshop on Career Guidance and Entrepreneurship. At 19, Nduati is passionate about the arts and knows exactly what career he would love to undertake however financial. Constrains and adequate knowledge on how to enroll for an appropriate coarse have hindered him from pursuing his dream career.

This is a story that replicates with many other young people attending this particular workshop. Many were not able to complete their high school due to poverty or got into the wrong group of friends thus dropping out.

The two day workshop has been organized by Amani an Italian organisation, MAECI- Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Corporation and Koinonia Community. It is aimed at empowering the youth who are past Koinonia Community beneficiaries at the various centers. Jackline Achieng a business trainer and Kenneth Kariuki a counselor are the trainers present and they are looking to help this group of young people come up with practical goals and objectives that will see them become financially stable.

The rate of unemployment is increasing by the day and if these group of youths are able to get started on their career paths or businesses it goes a long way to reducing the number of unemployed youth in the country. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and for this particular group is to get to know what they truly desire to accomplish in life in terms  their goals and objectives. The number one thing about goals and objectives is to ensure that they are practical and also set timelines on when and how they intend to achieve them.

This particular workshop is not just a two day thing, but opens an opportunity for mentorship where the trainers will monitor their growth and help them out with any challenges they may encounter in their journey to attaining their goals and objectives in life. Koinonia Community and Amani also did promise to do follow ups and support the youth where need be so long as they put in the required effort towards achieving their goals

Empowering the Community on Children’s Rights

Kenya News

Knowledge is power, for this reason Koinonia Community together with Amani under the MAECI project have undertaken a campaign to empower community members of children rights.
An estimate by Consortium of Street Children (CSC), an international charity, suggests the number of street children could be as high as between 250,000 and 300,000 throughout Kenya, including 60,000 in Nairobi alone. A number of factors contribute to the high number of children in the streets ranging from poverty, neglect by parents and guardians, peer pressure among other issues forcing the children to seek refuge in the streets.
Koinonia Community has been of aid to vulnerable and street children, by rescuing them, rehabilitating and reintegrating them back to their families, in partnership with Amani. At the end of 2016 the MAECI project started a campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on children’s rights in the aim of reducing the number of children in the streets.
The campaign was carried out in different forms of media, calendars, stickers and radio through public service announcements as well as through street theatre. Through the different forms one is sure to capture different forms of audiences. If parents/ guardians and the community are empowered on how to cater to their children they are able to provide a conducive environment for them to grow up in. knowledge is indeed power and with an informed community they are sure to make informed decisions.

Fire in the Forest

Kenya News

Since 1995 Koinonia Kenya has worked with children and youth from difficult backgrounds, following a “3R’s” approach: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Reintegrate.

Children found in the streets of Nairobi have suffered from different forms of neglect, abuse and lack of basic needs. In order to survive in the harsh life of the streets, the children have had to adapt to certain behaviours and ways of life that in most cases will be viewed as non-conforming to the social norms. Rescuing these children form the streets requires the first of all the collaboration of the children themselves, and then from their families and the community at large. The entire process, until the children arrive in our rescue centres, takes weeks of work in the streets, careful approach and personal attention and care.

Once in our centres, basic needs, education, loving care, guidance and counseling are provided to these children. There’s no greater joy than seeing these children become mature and responsible members of the society.

Watch the video below to see how we work.

Back to School for Children at the Rescue Centres

Kenya News

This week marked the beginning of a new step in lives of children at the rescue centers. They were enrolled at different levels in various schools. This is after successful training and assessments.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and children at Mother House and Ndugu Mdogo have journeyed the entire mileage of their rehabilitation process. The children were first admitted at the rescue centers early 2016, one year they have been rehabilitated fully and a majority have been reintegrated back to their family. With that they are now ready for the next step in life which is going to school.

Mother House center has been home to 22 girls and 14 boys while 35 boys have been residing at Ndugu Mdogo for the past one year. During that period the key aim has been centered on rehabilitating the children to reintroduce them to a new life different from that of the streets.

49 children have been reintegrated successfully back their homes and provided with basic tools for their education. On the other hand 17 children, 5 girls and 12 boys have been placed at the various centers where they will be housed as they undertake their education.  An additional 5 children have joined secondary schools and another 5 are set to undertake various courses at vocational institutions.

As the children embark on school life social workers at the two centers will be embarking on a new task of rescuing more vulnerable children from the streets and slums. Koinonia Community strikes to ensure that vulnerable children are rescued, rehabilitated and reintegrated (3R’s) back to their families as family is the best place for a child to grow up in

Paolo’s Home Celebrates International Day of People with Disability

Kenya News

It is the joy of every mother to deliver a healthy and bouncing baby. That was not the case for Florence Arum, mother to 5 year old cerebral palsy patient. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by brain injury or malfunction that occurs while the child’s brain is developing or during birth when oxygen cannot reach the brain. The condition lasts a life time and one requires specialized care.

Since 1992 the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been celebrated annually on 3rd of December. This year main aim is to champion “Sustainable inclusion of persons with disabilities”. Today’s event began with a procession that was flagged off at the office of the District County Commissioner’s office in Kibera Sub-location, by the Assistant Chief Asia Suleiman Ramadhan at 10 am and culminated at Paolo’s Home. Paolo’s Home is Koinonia Community initiative that offers free physiotherapy services to children with disabilities in Kibera.Present at the event were various organizations that cater for people with disabilities, adults and children living with different forms of disabilities, parents to children with disability as well as members of the community.

For Florence and other parents with children with disability, today they are here counting their blessings and letting the world know about people with disabilities. It is important for the world to know about the challenges people with disabilities go through but even more important is to know how people with disabilities can be empowered to be self-reliant.

According to Ngao Mwavunah who works with Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY), it is important for people with disabilities to be empowered to achieve their goals. “People with disabilities should not be isolated in the community” states Ngao, “what people with disability need is assistive devices to enable them execute various tasks” he further adds. Ngao is keen to champion inclusion of people with disability stating that the idea of having special units for children with disability helps in integration rather than inclusion. Mary Auma mother to 5 year old Down syndrome child, further adds that it is important that teachers acquire training on how to handle children with special needs as this would enable them cater to their needs effectively.

As the event came to an end it is crystal clear that “disability is not inability” and all the community needs to do is to support and empower people with disabilities in achieving their goals.

Hail the Nairobi Sub-county Champions

Kenya News

Amani Yassets Football Club are the winners of the 2015/2016 Nairobi Sub-County League. This season they have played 22 matches, managing 16 wins and 6 draws. This is the first time the team has won a league since the team’s inception in 1992.

Yassets is a community team that is sponsored by Shalom House. Shalom House is a social enterprise of Koinonia Community. This sponsorship is part of the larger Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Koinonia Community. At the moment Yassets Football club has 30 registered players aged between 17-26 years.

 They have been on a winning streak this season as they also won the Inter Hotels Champions and the Don Bosco Cup, which in the latter they have been consistent in winning in 2002,2003,2004,2010 and in 2016. Even with the win it has not been easy as they have faced numerous challenges, such as lack of adequate funds that would come in handy in the purchase of kits, balls, transportation and players allowances.

The team’s future plans are to play at the Provincial League and there after the Super League from which they will be able to transition into playing at the Kenya Premier League level. The club has also won a couple of titles over the years such as the Koinonia Cup (1998 and 2002), K-rep Bank Cup (2002),  the Amani Onlus Cup (2006) and the Nairobi Premium in 2011. The club is proud to have been able to export their talents to notable football clubs in and out of the country. Kevin Otinya is currently at Western Stima, Andrew Ongwayo at Gor Mahia, Evans Omondi at Congo United and Collins Tiego currently  at Posta Ranger to mention but a few.

The club is currently headed by George Ooko as the Head Coach and Wycliffe Juma as the Assistant Coach. The win came with a cash money prize of Ksh 500,000

International Day of the Girl Child Celebrations 2016

Kenya News

11th October is the International Day of the Girl child, a day that seeks to create awareness on the inequalities faced by girls worldwide. Sustainable development goal number five is on gender equality which informs the ending of discrimination against women and girls. Thus the need to empower the girl child so as to overcome numerous challenges such early marriages, female genital mutilation, exploitation, sexual violence, poor access to sexual and reproductive education among others.

Koinonia Community in partnership with Amani Onlous under the MAECI project organized a procession to mark this particular day. The MAECI project is currently rehabilitating 22 girls at the Mother house center so as to reintroduce them to a new way of life different from the street life.

The procession kicked off at Ndungu Mdogo one of the two rescue centers under the MAECI project, and culminated at the Kamkunji grounds in Kibera. It was graced by over 10 schools from Kibera and was flagged off by Assistant County Commissioner Kibera division, Betty Gakunda. The children were really excited to be part and parcel of this big day and at exactly 10am the procession began lead by a band that ensured the journey through to Kamkunji was an enjoyable one.

At the grounds it was a fun packed event where the children got to show case different talents from singing, dancing, poetry and drama. Other than the entertainment the children were encouraged to concentrate on their studies for a bright future. Brenda Atieno, an account at Koinonia Community encouraged the children to be patient in life as good things take time. Also taking time to warn girls not to get involved with boys as this could distract them from their main focus which is education.

This year’s theme is Girl’s progress = Goal’s progress, which can be translated to mean that a girls progress will be of benefit to her family and the community as a whole. The chairperson at Sarang’ombe Ward encouraged girls and boys to coexist peacefully as they both have equal opportunities.

Riruta Ward Cleanup Excercise

Riruta Ward Cleanup Excercise

Kenya News
Galvan and Mike during the cleanup
Galvan and Mike during the cleanup

Oya Oya Youth group in partnership with Mtaani radio held a cleanup activity on the 9th of October 2016.  The event was graced by young people from different parts of the country, Mtaani Radio fans, aspiring leaders as well as the area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Samuel Njoroge alias “JuaKali”.

Oya Oya which is an acronym for Organizing Youths to be Alert is an initiative started in partnership with the Oya Oya show that airs on Mtaani Radio on weekdays between 3-7pm. These activities range from visiting children homes, the elderly, clean ups and team building activities.

The clean up took place along Kabiria road starting from Kivuli center and culminated at the Riruta Police station. The aim of the activity was to sensitize the community on the importance of keeping our environment clean. The construction of Kabiria road has eased up transportation as well contributed to sprouting of various businesses activities in the area that operate up to late in the night. With an increase in business activities there has also been increase in piling up of garbage in the area, thus the
clean up came at a good time.

At the moment there is no specific place where the residents can dispose the garbage but largely rely on garbage collectors and the city council to keep the area clean. On this particular day the county government provided plastic bags that would be used to store the collected garbage after which the council would provide a track that would ferry it to the Dandora dumping site. The city council encourages this form of garbage collection other than disposing it along the road and on the trenches.

Mission number two for this particular activity was also to create a good rapport between the youth and the police, thus the police station was the site for the culmination of the activity. Ideally police are key in providing service to the people – “Utumishi kwa wote”, but over years there has been a disconnect between the police and the people more so the youth. This activity offered the community an opportunity to be of service to the police.

First the youth engaged in a brief interaction with the police officers after which they were to proceed to the cleanup at the police station. According to Jamin Akevere a sergeant officer at the Riruta Police Station, “I welcome you today at the police station as its always important to stay in a clean place” further adding that he would accompany the youth during the clean up to ensure they a smooth encounter. To create a good raptor between the police and the community Akevere encouraged members of the community to volunteer information concerning criminals so they can take action in ensuring the safety of all the citizens.

The youth group has been having community activities once a month for the past one year.