My first trip to Nairobi was an exceptional experience in community and capacity building. The focus of my two weeks was spent on understanding the staff’s work, interacting with the students, and visiting board members. My biggest takeaway is the sense of community that welcomes the students and their families when they join the NRCF (Ngong Road Children’s Foundation) community. They are embraced with joy and high expectations.
The new Elimu Hub student center is busy! Lucy Iguri (in blue) and Victor Wambua have made creative and professional contributions to the library collection, including tagging the books per a system emulated from another library, and developing a Google Form for book tracking and checkout. Lucy developed guidelines to address how to curate and manage the collection. Pictured is a group of students who spied a new pile of books on Lucy’s desk and pressed her to enter them into the system so they could start reading!
Between one-to-one meetings, Saturday programs, lunches, and weekend activities, I was able to get to know the individual NRCF and KLL (Karibu Loo) staff members and have the privilege of hearing their stories. The most impressionable stories were those with the staff who are also program alumni.
Here are two NRCF alumni entrepreneurs: Patrick and Leonard!
Delivering loos with John and Martin, both NRCF beneficiaries.
Meeting former board member Edna with Callen and family. Visiting Kelvin’s son Taj.
At Saturday Program, I could see the layers of connectedness between Case Managers, students, and supportive people such as the Saturday Program cook and nurse. The children radiate delight at having games, activities, and books that they would not otherwise be able to access. The students in the red shirts are the choir.
Shanice is a newly sponsored student. She took a book home from Saturday program, and when she came with her mother to pick up her uniform, Alice said she read it to her sister all evening. Here she is coming back for more! Future librarian?!
Being immersed in the NRCF community solidified for me why I was compelled to join this organization. We provide equal opportunity to children who, due to economic disparities, would not otherwise believe that they would obtain a college education. Their beaming faces project a sense of security in a circle of supportive peers, mentors, and caregivers among whom they grow up.