Depending upon who you ask, the definition of sustainable impact may differ. Some view it from a standpoint of economic impact, some see it as development and others like to define it from a social health standpoint. No matter the angle, you might find that the work or project being engaged crosses more than one of those definitions. Networks for Voluntary Services is a registered Society that shares a common goal with not only our volunteers that work with us, but so many other worldwide organizations. That common goal is sustainable impact in our local communities.
We have had over 4,000 volunteers in our organization since 2007 and so many amazing projects are still going today that have made an impact in our communities. We would like to highlight one of the many sustainable projects and share our appreciation for these volunteers who created it.
Kellie H. came to Kenya in 2011 with a passion for working with those with developmental disabilities. The view of those with special needs may vary around the world due to culture. Kenya is no different when it comes to a culture responding to this population. In some areas of Kenya, the belief that disabled people bring bad luck because they had been cursed or had a spell placed upon them by witchcraft can be found. Those with a disability or special need are often viewed as not fully human or possessed by evil spirits.
Due to lack of support and education around disability awareness in Kenya, many disabled children and adults are hidden from public view by their families. There are increasing numbers of children born with either mental or physical disabilities that are living in poverty and cannot afford to fend for themselves or access any kind of support.
Kellie and her friends wanted to create economic and social health change for this population in Kibera. She and her friends did just that with a program she created called New Beginnings- Maisha Iko Sawa where students attend daily. The built the entire center themselves from scratch! The students are instructed in personal hygiene, daily living skills, pre-academic, and pre-vocational training. They employ locals from Kibera to support the school and project. Together they provide hands on assistance and supervision while assessing the individuals’ needs and progress. The ultimate goal is to assist integration into the workforce in hopes of generating income and to be contributing members of their family and their community. Kellie’s work did not stop there! She partnered with a local company to help her make special wheelchairs that would be able to navigate the terrain in Kibera allowing her students to have a better quality of life overall. Their partnership on these special wheel chairs continues today! Want to know more about it? Visit them online New Beginnings Maisha Iko Sawa and be sure to check out their success stories! You can also donate directly to her program.
Much love to you Kellie! Love, Jennifer