I have said this before and I will say it again, hiking is more than just being in the outdoors, it is about relationships- with fellow hikers and the communities in which we hike in. The reason I am writing about this today is because of one special community that we are working with for the year- SOS Children’s Village Kenya.
Over the years SOS Children’s Village- Kenya has been doing amazing work in the country through the different programs that they run.
The SOS Children’s Villages Kenya is a member of SOS – Kinderdorf International, the largest private child welfare organization in the world. In Kenya, the first SOS Children’s Village in Kenya was opened in 1973. Additional SOS Children’s Villages were subsequently built in Mombasa (1979) and Eldoret (1990) and Meru (2005) and the latest village in Kisumu (2012).
As the largest, private child welfare organization in Kenya they take action for orphaned and abandoned children. Their mission is to build families for children in need, and help them shape their own futures. They also share in the development of the communities that their children come from. At SOS Children’s Villages they are driven by the promise to provide “a loving home to every child.” Children admitted into SOS care are typically orphaned, abandoned or destitute. They have either lost their biological parental care, or face the real threat of losing parental care. These orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) are referred to SOS by children’s courts, government departments, police stations, credible community organizations, hospitals and members of the public. In all cases, a thorough and transparent admission process is followed to ensure the following;
- the most meriting cases are admitted
- they are in compliance with SOS policies and statutory obligations.
Once admitted into an SOS Children’s Village, a child is offered a new beginning, full of love, security, and possibilities. The SOS House is located within a Village environment, which provides children with a sense of belonging, community and security. In addition, SOS Children’s Villages Kenya runs education, health and community development programmes across the country. Both the villages and community programmes currently takes care of over 14,000 children. These facilities serve the SOS children, as well as members of the community. SOS Children’s Villages Kenya also runs a Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in 8 locations; Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Suba, Marsabit , Busia and Meru; they implement activities aimed at facilitating the access of basic services to children, building the capacity of caregivers, enhancing household livelihood and strengthening the community support structure that protects and cares for vulnerable children.
From outside looking in, it may appear that SOS has got more than enough support from international donors. However after spending time at the Buruburu SOS Village it became clear that, Kenya as a middle-income country, SOS- Kenya has been charged to raise support locally. This is where you come in. Pay a visit to an SOS Village near you so that you can understand how they run the villages and how you can plug in. It doesn’t take much. It can be as little as Kshs. 100 per month and this will go a long way in ensuring the children get all the support that they need.
We were amazed to see that the SOS homes are run like a typical home, and this ensures that the children feel loved and wanted- this is a big part in overall mental development. The children are able to move on from the dire circumstances that got them into the villages as they have a house mother and a father who nurture and support them.
It is time that we stopped looking for solutions to our problems from the west and instead provide home grown solutions. If you would like to learn more about SOS and how you can plug in as an individual or a corporate institution you can get in touch with them here.
Mountain Slayers Kenya are privileged to be a part of this community and are committed to fulfilling our mandate of giving back to those who need our support. To find out more about Mountain Slayers Kenya visit our website www.mountainslayers.com and connect with our community.