WOV visit Nairobi slum
From Cindy Breilh, Women of Vision National Director, traveling in Africa:
Vision Trips are always an adventure!
Seven of us, six from Women of Vision Orange County, California, are traveling together for one week in Kenya visiting our World Vision sponsored children and seeing projects funded by the chapter. Other than a missed flight, holding up an overbooked flight and room lock outs, all has gone according to plan – mostly. The key to travel is flexibility and a willingness to throw out the schedule if needed. Three of our companions were stranded in Dubai, but they chose to see it as an opportunity to meet new friends and experience the wonders of a very clean, modern and sophisticated city. Arriving in Nairobi was a shock they took in stride. For rookie travelers to Africa, they landed well!
Our purpose here includes a view toward funding new projects in Kenya, especially those giving a “hand up” to vulnerable children and women – for the most part as we learned – all women and children in rural Kenya. But first we went to visit a World Vision Area Development Program (ADP) in urban Nairobi.
The project area is located in Soweto, a slum in all its forms, started thanks to the vision and big hearts of the Women of Vision OC and their 200 sponsored children. Two children here are even named Susan and Paulson for Suzanne Paulson, long time partner of the chapter. Her nickname is Mama Soweto! Now in its eleventh year, the project emphasis is on building up community based organizations, CBO’s, (think self-help groups) and economic development – both of which are keys to sustainable communities. The problems are not all solved but the community is certainly being strengthened to help themselves. Already the World Vision Kenya staff is preparing for a transition out in 2015. They are remarkable. For example, “Fred”, is seeking out capable individuals from among our sponsored children and their families and helping them develop small enterprises – supporting them with training, acquiring equipment and gaining access to capital. One father, a true craftsman, already has 14 employees and needs more space!
Myatima is a women’s community based organization (CBO) started by neighborhood women to help children orphaned by HIV and AID’s. The group self funds microloans, purchased a small plot of land for their activities, provides food and preschool to orphans and vulnerable children who are often shunned at “regular” schools, and now has a peanut butter processing operation. It takes great vision and strong leadership to make a CBO successful and the Myatima President, Paris, is all that and a powerful community change agent (pictured). Thanks to World Vision, and she is the first to acknowledge it, she has great plans for the future – in the middle of the slums.