Friday, March 19, 2010

Pondering the next steps after the national examination results

After a long and agonizing break since December, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results were announced last month rekindling the joy and celebration that was experienced after finishing the form four exams. This marks a major milestone in the life of our youth who must now start defining what they want out of their lives.

For them, the joy of completing form four was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of school routine. This feeling of “freedom” is akin to a heavy load being removed from their backs, at least for now. Each one of them is now busy trying to acquire a national identity card and gain the freedom to decide their own destiny. They have also been engaged in voluntary service activities before they join colleges to further their studies.

The hard part has now begun - selection of courses to pursue in tertiary learning institutions. The announcement of the results also means that they have to think about what they want from their lives. The results set the stage for the dreaded question when the youth care co-workers, mothers and other co-workers will sit them down and ask each one of them what they would want to do in life.

This is why the planned career counseling this week will help them to develop an idea of exactly what they want to be in life. Such basic assistance will be crucial because they have had little exposure to the outside world for them to be able to evaluate where they want to go. All they have is ideas of what they have been exposed to by their caregivers, relatives, close neighbours and friends. They therefore aspire to be like one of their parents or friend and relatives they admire. They will then be able to discover themselves and hence map out a distinct future for themselves.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It was that time again when across the world, many people encountered the most romantic day of the year-Valentine’s Day. Last month, Valentine’s Day came and went. We gratefully left the hot weather of January behind and embraced the month of love. At SOS Children’s Village Eldoret, our mothers did not remain date-less and were hosted for lunch at a local hotel by the village director. This was a way of appreciating these special mothers and recognizing their work. So they scurried for their best dresses and colognes in readiness for the occasion.

It was a wonderful bonding session when mothers took time to reflect on their work. Of significance was to firmly anchor children so that they can stand on their own feet later on. There was a renewed sense of personal responsibility for their families. And so as they filled their plates with the sumptuous meal, they challenged each other to a season of service for the children.

The highlight of their day out was a hospital visit to one of our staff members, Reuben Kivunaga, as a show of outward expression of love. They also took time to visit other patients and to wish them well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stress management workshop held for youth in Eldoret

SOS Children’s Village Eldoret hosted a 10-day group counselling workshop on stress management in February for its youth. Approximately 80 youth attended the seminar whose aim was to raise young peoples’ awareness of how to cope with stress. The workshop also enlightened the youth on various avenues through which they can make their lives a bit easier and have a more open minded perspective and attitude in the future.

Dubbed “emptying the emotional distress” and presided over by Paul Boyle, a trauma and healing specialist, the workshop provided a forum for youth to relive their traumatic experiences and were helped to deal with the unfinished business in their lives. The facilitator managed to give guidance to the youth to examine what constitutes a well lived and successful life, as well as learning coping skills to enable them to deal with the pressures of modern life. He helped them to focus on finding meaning and purpose in life, educated them in regard to protective factors, as well as taught them skills of coping with trauma.

They were encouraged to reflect upon what he called the “ingredients of a balanced life” and to attempt to put those ingredients into practice. The climax of the workshop was a foot massage for all the participants.

The feedback from the youth was encouraging as most of them were happy to have gained some level of self awareness. “This is a wonderful program which should have come earlier”, said Francis. Angelina said that she had greatly benefited from the workshop and wished it could be regular. ‘It is my hope that we will have such forums more frequently”, she said. Others were touched to the core and made confessions of their mischief to the care givers.