It’s an incredible feeling to finish off your work day exhausted because you’ve just visited and talked to so many inspirational people. Today we were taken by Ken Wamai, the Regional Coordinator at Youth Enterprise Development Fund in Eldoret to visit the 4 groups that we’ve selected for the Social Starters Programme.
Introducing the incredible groups we’ll be working with over the next 6 weeks:
Firstly we have The Old Uganda Youth Group – Made up of 30 community members who came together in 2006 because so many of them were unemployed and idle in the community. They decided as a group to address the issue of waste management as rubbish building up in the streets was becoming an issue. They started by volunteering in their spare time and worked together to collect rubbish in the area. Now, 7 years later they have won a tender with government and provide private garbage collection in two areas within Eldoret. Their hope is to one day to buy a tractor in order to collect even more waste from the streets of their community.
Next up we have Capsoya Border Farm Youth Group who provide vocational training for a number of vulnerable youths in Eldoret. They provide training in carpentry, electrical work, tailoring and shoe repair. Whilst there we heard about how Pius, the Chairman, had found many of the boys who now work in the carpentry workshop, living on the streets in Eldoret. An orphan himself, he felt compelled to provide opportunities for other vulnerable youths. The group provides training and also an income for group members through selling their products and providing services in the community.
Further outside of Eldoret town we met with Cheptiret Eldoret Youth Group, who came together to form a group after the post election violence 2007. In a show of unity after tribal clashes, which shook the country and resulted in thousands of deaths, the group consists of members from a number of different tribes. United, they have taken it upon themselves to address issues in their community and carry out activities such as: condom distribution, training other youth groups on capacity building, advocacy on HIV/AIDS, running HIV support groups, monthly voluntary garbage collection days and a running a peace programme. To fund their work they run a successful tent and chair hire business and a tree nursery.
The last group on our list – Kamukunji Village Youth Group are more inspirational that I can ever get across in a blog post. During one very emotional speech from the Chairlady, Andrea and I got quite teary. The passion, commitment, dedication and compassion that these individuals have demonstrated is truly inspirational. They are 30 members – 12 from a women’s group and 18 members of a youth group who have joined forces. In their community, people are suffering from poor health, were spending the little money they made on medicine for their children and after yet another person died this year because of health issues, the group decided to take action. After conducting research on the internet they decided that it might be because of poor waste management and poor sanitation that their community was suffering. They now manage waste collection in the area and conduct home visits and outreach on health issues including providing treatment for a parasite which affects 300 people in the area. Their next goal is to set up another business selling masks and gloves so people can manage their own waste, thus helping to fund their outreach work. An amazing group.