When ChildFund supporter Mandy Eagle met her sponsored children in Kenya, there were tears of joy and gratitude.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I was over there,” the
NSW resident says, “but I cried a lot.
“I cried mainly because of the love. When you get there you
realise they’ve got nothing apart from their family. They’re lucky to have
clothes on their back and they walk kilometres and kilometres in the dust to go
It had been 11 years since Mandy first started supporting
ChildFund when she decided to meet Jane, Naisoi and Seleyian, three of the four
children she sponsored through the organisation.
Mandy had been writing to the girls for many years, but visiting them was a chance for her to develop a greater understanding of who they were, their lives, and their hopes and dreams. For Mandy, it was a “life-enhancing and enriching” experience.
A warm welcome
She took away many “precious moments” from her sponsor visit, but there is one in particular that she will never forget: seven-year-old Jane’s joy and gratitude after discovering her sponsor had brought her dolls from Australia.
“Jane ran directly over to me and wrapped her arms around me and gave me the biggest and most loving hug I’ve ever had,” Mandy says.
“This still brings tears to my eyes. It was in such contrast to how complacent our kids in the West get when given such simple gifts.”
Jane and her family lived in a tiny home in Nairobi’s slums. The family had put in a lot of effort to make Mandy feel welcome, cleaning the place before she arrived and decorating the walls with lace tablecloth.
“They had this little corrugated room where six people slept, ate, did everything,” Mandy says. “The trouble they went to, to make the room as lovely, clean and presentable as possible was beautiful.”
When you ask Jane why she decided to study
electrical work, her response is simple: “Because I liked it.”
She grins. Then she adds: “I wanted to help people. And I wanted to show other girls that there is no course they can’t take.”
This is how we’re sparking new employment opportunities for youth in Kenya.
How many young people are unemployed in Kenya?
Where Jane lives in Kiambu County, Kenya, a rural community known for its sprawling coffee farms, it’s unusual to see a young woman entering such a traditionally male-dominated industry. In fact, youth unemployment in Kenya is high regardless of gender.
According to the country’s 2018 Basic Labour Force Report, more than 11 percent of youth aged 15-34 in the country are unemployed, putting them at risk of poverty and homelessness.
The dangers are even greater for unemployed or low-income girls in this age group, who face higher rates of teen pregnancy and gender-based violence than their peers.
But Jane has the confidence of a girl who knows she’s going places, thanks in part to ChildFund’s job training programs, which focus on the specific needs of young adults.
How are we reducing unemployment in Kenya?
Our Youth Vocational Skills project in Kiambu County connects at-risk youth to job training programs that will give them a practical means of earning an income for life.
We train youth as electricians, carpenters, hairdressers, tailors, auto mechanics and more, providing full or partial scholarships to students who need them most.
When the students graduate from their training, ChildFund also supports them with startup tools so they can be prepared to find work or launch their own businesses and begin making money right away, helping to reduce youth unemployment in Kenya.
“If I had not received this training, I would have probably been at home farming. But farming, for now, isn’t a good source of income,” says Jane. “In this area, even some who have completed university have no job. But if you take vocational training, it is hard to fail in getting one.”
Jane is currently in the final stage of her studies, after which she plans to seek an electrical apprenticeship and use her skills to light up homes, schools and everything in between for disadvantaged people in her community.
Become a vehicle of change and help reduce unemployment in Kenya
You can become a vehicle of change and help us reduce unemployment in Kenya. There’s a few ways you can help change lives:
Sponsor a child in Kenya: Child sponsorship is an effective strategy that provides a child and their family with access to funding, training and programs that will help improve the child’s future opportunities.
Make a donation: When you donate to us, we’ll allocate your donation to make the most impact across our projects.
It only takes one person to change the life of a child.