When I was in my late twenties, I travelled to East Africa to volunteer in Kenya to see what I could learn from a new culture and in exchange, offer my skills, time and resources.
In this time, I co-founded an NGO to benefit vulnerable at-risk children and youth in Kenya, who live in an informal settlement (slum).
Living and volunteering in the country for seven years, I invested my time and resources in the start-up phase of Kitendo Children’s Charity Programme.
The years and resources I invested were productive.
We built and established an early childhood development school with a programme incorporating early years education, feeding programme, health and psychosocial support, life skills and sponsorship for vocational and primary education. We also operated a women’s empowerment project, medical camps and sustainability projects.
Providing local jobs and volunteer opportunities, the charity directly supports 200+ vulnerable children and their families, with a total reach of 6000+ within the wider community.
However, bringing this kind of project into existence is never straightforward. Persevering through numerous setbacks and challenges, I devised solutions to problems while keeping an eagle eye on the big picture. We developed simple models that overflowed with impact.
Where others saw the impossible, we saw differently and took risks that caused inroads into community transformation. This work was all things challenging, rewarding and life-changing.
For a summary of achievements as Finance, Administration and Communications manager, please visit my LinkedIn profile.
IVHQ Volunteer of the Year 2013
Selected as one of 10 finalists out of a pool of 20,000 volunteers. Won award from 12,000 votes with 30% of votes. Awarded by International Volunteer HQ for volunteer service in Kenya establishing KCC Programme.
Kiwi’s big vision for slum kids
Feb 4, 2013, Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand)
Newspaper article by Jo Moir from the Dominion Post on my work in Kenya.
Changing Lives With The KCC
Sep 2012, Gapyear.com
Interview with Macca Sherifi from Gapyear.com on my work in Kenya.
In late 2016, I moved to the UK after living in Kenya for just over seven years. From 2009 to departing in late 2016, I was a key member of the team leading and supporting the start-up phase of the charity.
It was an incredible period and one where I learnt a huge amount both professionally and personally. Through it, I experienced almost every kind of challenge that a developing country can throw at you, and survived.
Most weeks I worked 60 hours and volunteered through these years to get things set-up and established. I was able to sustain my outgoings for the time I was there from the generous support of friends and family and a local living allowance.
Arriving back in the UK, I was severely underweight and needed some time to get back to be at a more healthy body. Not an easy feat with my slim build, but have now managed to achieve this goal.
I took a slight career break while transitioning back to the UK and started the job search looking and applying for permanent work.
From my seven years of experience, I have built up a strong skill-set in communications, programmes and fundraising and am looking to transfer this experience to the UK charity, non-profit sector.
In October 2018, I secured permanent full time work at ChildHope in London as their Fundraising Officer. The charity is an international development organisation who do incredible work supporting local partners in Africa and Asia protecting the hardest to reach children to ensure they can enjoy a safer and brighter future.
More info on KCC
KCC Programme is run by a committed local team of Kenyan’s and international volunteers. Donations go a long way in supporting the programme and operating budgets, and you can be assured that your donation will be incredibly beneficial to the charity. Volunteering with KCC is an incredibly rewarding experience too, which you can do it directly through the organisation. I highly recommend it.
Find out more www.kccprogramme.org