Fifth World Centre Pilot Project-Community Action Experience, Kenya 2013
26 November 2013
From 17 October to 22 November, 8 young women from Madagascar, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Lebanon, UK and USA came together at Shanzu Transitional Workshop for Disabled Young Women in Mombasa, Kenya as part of the Fifth World Centre Pilot Project Community Action Experience.
Shanzu, a project initiated by the Kenya Girl Guide Association, enables young women with disabilities to gain tailoring, production and life skills that empower them to become productive and confident members of the community and society. Held as part of the Fifth World Centre Pilot Project, the one month programme saw the participants undertake volunteer projects to assist the centre and the young women who live there whilst learning about community leadership, economic empowerment and themselves. Alongside Shanzu, they got the opportunity to experience and assist with the work of two other Community Partners: Tumaini Children’s Home and Serena Beach Hotel’s Turtle and Butterfly Conservation Projects. They also had the opportunity to learn about WAGGGS and its projects and experience Kenyan culture.
Words are inadequate to express how I felt at Shanzu with the girls. I have never worked and volunteer the way I did before and especially with disabled girls. They are smart, intelligent, and I see things changing for the better in shanzu and the mindset about disabled girls in Kenya as a whole. The Shanzu Team was wonderful. I’m delighted to have been on this team to volunteer in this Fifth World Centre Pilot Project. I’m optimistic I can go back home and do more than what I did, learned and experienced here.
The participants undertook a wide variety of different projects during the month-long programme which included:
- Assisting Shanzu with the marketing and branding of the products which are produced at the centre
- Creating a website (http://www.shanzu.kbo.co.ke/home) and facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/shanzuworkshop?fref=ts )
- Re-organising the Shanzu gift shop
- Painting a mural
- Developing a sensory garden for the Shanzu residents to enjoy
- Conducting daily sessions in reproductive health, personal hygiene and nutrition, business, self esteem and personal development
- Exploring the talents of the young women at Shanzu and holding a talent show
- Developing an activities manual of recreation and education activities for the Shanzu cadets to use in their free time
- Organising an outing for the young women at Shanzu to a nearby hotel where many of them residents got the opportunity to swim for the first time!
- Sharing about international guiding and running sessions for the Girl Guide troop at Tumaini children’s home
- Assisting with the butterfly breeding programme and with the rescue and incubation of turtle eggs with Serena Beach Hotel’s conservation projects
But the part that I enjoyed the most and left a greatest impact in me is the glow on the Shanzu cadet’s faces when they meet us during the morning sessions, afternoon games or just hanging around in general. I believe that this experience has affected their lives on a deep level from the information that was given to them by the WAGGGS volunteers and the activities we had with them.
What is next?
The Fifth World Centre Pilot Project will be hosting an event in 2014. Check this page for more information as it is available! And check out the Fifth World Centre Pilot on Facebook for more photos and information too!
This programme has given me my first international experience, my first flight , first time to live and communicate with many people who are really different from me in terms of culture, language, way of life and the country where they come from.
I also learnt new approaches and many things about the other volunteers' topics that I will bring and share back home.