When you travel, you see a lot of inequality, injustice, poverty. You start to understand how privileged you are to even go to school, to work, and then, to travel. This text is for all the others, who don’t have that chance.
The small village of Karatina in Kenya is not on a tourist map. But that’s where we started our trip to Africa. Two runners, who wanted to make a change in the world and give kids in Kenya a chance opened a charity that supports families in Karatina. During our recent visit to Africa, we were able to see their work there by ourselves.
To give kids in Kenya a chance
As it says on the Gathimba Edwards Foundation website “the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity with the overall aim to give disadvantaged children in Kenya the support and opportunities which so many in the developed world take for granted.”
Myles is Alex’s and my friend from Aberdeen, so we’ve been following his and charity’s efforts for a long time.
Charity in Kenya – Gathimba Edwards Foundation
Travelling through different countries around the world opens your eyes to the conditions that other people live and makes you wonder about equality in life. It just blows my mind to think that in Poland or UK there is free education, free healthcare and free social service, that will always help you whenever you need it. Not even mentioning Norway. But people in Kenya don’t have that. Whatever happens to them, they are left for themselves.
Whereas you, unfortunately, can’t help everyone, there are things that can be done. However small they can be.
We know, follow and support the Gathimba Edwards Foundation (GEF) for quite some time already. With numerous projects, the GEF’s aim is to help disadvantaged children get a better start in life. They achieve it by providing shelter, education, sustainable food solutions and more to the local communities in Kenya.
The Foundation runs volunteer trips where volunteers build houses for families. It organises the charity events to fundraise money, takes care of over 100 children’s education and well being. It also organises sponsorships for children from anyone who would like to support a child’s education. I and Alex had a rare opportunity to meet the kids we sponsor in person and see the outcomes of the GEF’s work.
*Important is to know, that ad-hoc help, without the experience or a plan might do more bad than good. Therefore, it’s always better to go through the established organizations who have the understanding of the local environment and the necessary knowledge. They can provide sustainable help to those in need (and sustainable is a key word here – they don’t just pour money into the problem, they invest in resources, knowledge, technology, so those in need can after some time build their own, better life). And that’s what GEF is doing.
We felt the air cooling down when we arrived in the town surrounded by the mist-covered hills. It’s Africa, but it doesn’t mean that it’s only hot here. It was very chilly and it started to rain. I was wearing a jumper and a jacket.
Our visit to Karatina was during the time when the kids had a GEF seminar and were attending classes and inspiring meetings.
The first stop was the Pavilion Village. That’s the place that gave Myles and Gideon inspiration to start the charity. Pavilion Village currently is a home for 22 kids. Most of them have been either abandoned, abused or lost their parents. They all found a shelter in Pavilion Village run by Pastor John Murage and his Wife, Agnes. They both worked tirelessly to help all the kids with food, clothing and education with no support from the outside. That’s what encouraged Myles and Gideon to start the charity and support the kids from Pavilion. The buildings were constructed by the GEF volunteers and the Foundation supports the children living here. We’ve seen bunk beds, simple, but clean rooms. There was also a farm and animals. Like a real big, happy house.
Meeting the kids in Karatina
Then it was time to meet the kids who were attending the meetings at school premises.
Immediately when we arrived, numerous curious faces turned towards us. We were quickly surrounded by smiling kids, jumping, hugging and grabbing our hands (and sometimes not letting go ;-)). We had a chance to give a speech to the children, take some photos, talk and play with them and also even plant trees.
One of the little girls, Anastasia, held my hand for our whole stay and didn’t want to let go, smiling shyly. She didn’t speak much English, but her happy face was enough for me to know that she loved our visit.
Sponsor a child in Africa
GEF gives the opportunity to sponsor a child in Africa. For £35 a month, you can support a child’s education, which covers all the school fees, clothes and meals. It’s a great way of developing a special connection with the child through the handwritten letters that you can exchange. Together with Alex, we sponsor two children – Martin and Viona.
Below you can see a sweet letter that Viona has sent me after my return from Kenya. I had a chance to meet her in person during our stay in Africa. It was an amazing experience. Viona is a 17 years-old girl coming from a family of one brother and a mother Rhoda. Her father attacked her mum with a machete cutting out both of Rhoda’s arms. It all happened in front of Viona’s eyes when she was a little girl. Luckily, her mother is a strong woman and even with a disability, she works selling clothes to provide the best for her children. She even plays in volleyball team for disabled people.
I can’t even imagine the amount of pain that Viona’s family went through. When I found out that I could help, I didn’t think twice. And there are more families like Viona’s.
You can also help!
It’s my birthday tomorrow, so if you’d like to make me a small gift – donate something to GEF, or share this post, so we can reach more people. Every, even a tiny amount that you can spare, will make a big difference in the lives of others.
Asante Sana! (Thanks a lot)
If you have any questions about the charity, our experience in Kenya or how is it to sponsor a child in Africa, let me know in the comments!