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.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Great expectations for Form 1 students

It was all smiles as 11 SOS children who sat for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2009 joined Form One of secondary school. The students reported to their new schools last week, all of which were provincial or national schools, with excellent reputations. We encourage the children to work hard and aim high.

For all of them, this is their first experience living away from home for an extended period of time. It is a definite break from home and a complete 180-degree turn from the life they are currently used to. Apart from the increased academic demands there is also formation of new friendship with class mates, knowing the teachers, and adjustment to the unfamiliar environment.

An overjoyed Dorothy from house 4 said that she hopes to do well in her new school. Mercy from house 12 asserts that she is up to the challenge and promises to manage the basic tasks such as eating, sleeping, and going to class. Even as most of them were excited to take on this new experience of boarding life, others were feeling apprehensive about making this change. “I am feeling nervous”, said George from house 1. Being one of the first major transitions, this is understood, assured the Youth Care Co-workers Coordinator.

The beauty of this transition, which undoubtedly comes with great expectations, is that the youth will gain independence and take charge of the many choices and decisions that we have made for them in the past. A typical day in school is more structured and so there is a lot of reading inside of class.

Wriiten by Fred Ochieng, Youth Care Co-worker Coordinator

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Joy, encouragement and celebration at youth graduation ceremony

SOS Children’s Village Eldoret passed yet another major milestone on Sunday 31st January 2010 with the celebration of the youth graduation ceremony (when youth leave the family house to live in a neaby youth facility). The event, which was held at the Noble Guest House & Conference Center in Eldoret, saw 8 youth graduating to the youth facility. It was a moment of jubilation as the graduands arrived at the hall colourfully dressed and palpably excited. The ceremony, which was full of pomp and colour, was presided over by the village director, Mr. Peter Mungai.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony in which co-workers as well as invited guests from the community took part, Mr. Mungai wished the youth the best in their future as they mark this major milestone in their lives. “I am today handing you over to the youth care co-workers who will continue guiding you on the path to independence. Today you celebrate this significant step in your lives - graduating from the family house to the youth facility, which for all of you is the beginning of the next phase of your life on the road to becoming independent and productive members of society”, said Mr. Mungai. He urged the youth to utilize their time well and ensure that they will have completed their education by disengagement time.

Pastor Mwalo, while giving a sermon to the congregation advised the youth to hold on to the guidance and instructions they had received from their caregivers in all aspects of their lives. The Hermann Gmeiner school principal, Mr. Omobe encouraged the youth to focus on building their character. “I want to emphasize that you endeavour to model good behavior at all times so that your younger brothers and sisters can learn from you”, he said.

The mothers poured their hearts out and urged the youth to be responsible, disciplined and make education their priority. “Make the best of what you have learnt from here”, remarked Mama Rogers. She dissuaded the youth from associating with friends who bring out the worst in them. “Our presence here today is an expression of our love for you”, added Mama Wambui.
The graduates, who were looking forward to this day with great anticipation, each spoke eloquently of what they learned from their mothers while in the family house and how they will apply what they learnt in their life in future. Each graduate received a gift from their mothers. Charo Yaa, one of the graduates, could not hide his joy at joining the youth facility. "I would like to thank my mother and other co-workers for the support, care and guidance they have given me while in the family house," he said. "You did a wonderful job in training me mama."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A good cause for a good cause

The Adult Literacy Centre in Eldoret last week received text books from the Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in Eldoret. More than 100 text books were handed to the tutor at the facility, Ms Sarah Omwoyo by the family strengthening representatives, Ms. Getrude Olima and Reuben Wachira as part of the ongoing effort of community capacity building.

The donation was in response to an assessment conducted by the FSP which showed that there were quiet a large number of the community members with no basic education. The books will help in training and equipping the learners with basic writing skills and reading skills that can strengthen their competency in assisting their children with homework and perform simple calculations.

Sarah, while receiving the books, expressed her appreciation noting that the gesture was for a good cause for a good cause. The text books donated were for English, Kiswahili and Maths.

Due to the great demand of basic education among the community, the centre conducts 5 adult literacy training sessions in a week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thanksgiving prayer ushers in the New Year

The year 2009, by all accounts, was quite eventful. It had its historical moments, its fair share of events which we wished would forever remain in our memory and others we wished never happened.

To make the New Year happier, staff and children from SOS Children’s Village gathered at family house number 7 for prayers and thanksgiving. Led by the village director, Mr. Peter Mungai, the bygone year was bid farewell and the New Year embraced with prayers. The prayers were led by the assistant parish priest from Kapsoya Catholic Church. Children and youth participated fully in the liturgical activities. In other words, it was the kind of get together function for all children, youth and staff, to give a warm welcome to the coming year. The whole place was full of enjoyment and fun as the SOS family joined together in a festive food, singing and dancing.

It was a good way to start the New Year and a welcoming break from the political upheaval that characterized the previous two years. We look forward to a very good year.