Volunteers: Age 18+, Educated, Keen & determined, Fit & Healthy and compassionate.
Volunteer Blog: Bex Wiles - visit: http://bexkibera.blogspot.com
Assisting in schools, with job training, Medical Clinics, orphanages, human rights issues, sport, drugs & alcohol problems and the environment.
There are many schools in Kibera mainly run by the churches. The teachers do a great job but they are short staffed and all schools need help. You do not need any formal teaching qualifications. You should be well educated and an outward going person with a friendly personality.
Children at school range in age from 4 to 16 and are usually divided between primary and secondary schools.
The first language of the children is their tribal language. From an early age their parents will teach them Swahili and English.
You will be in demand to teach English, mathematics, geography and history. Donít worry if you think you are lacking in experience.
Remember you have benefited from a western education so just relax and give some of your knowledge to the children.
Children by their very nature are optimistic but living in terrible poverty brings serious problems so a large part of a teacherís job is to keep up morale. You will need to have a positive happy attitude.
Teaching children in a slum area is probably the most rewarding job in the world. Be warned, you will be hooked and will probably want to come back.
Unemployment in Kibera is very high. Adult illiteracy is high and morale is low.
Poverty breeds indifference. However there is hope. Kenya has a thriving economy. The tea and coffee plantations are excellent and the horticultural industry is one of the best in the world, famous for roses. Industry is basic but essential and needs to be developed. Within 2kms of Kibera is the industrial zone of Nairobi. Industry needs skilled workers in order to develop, which in turn will lead to more to jobs.
Workers need to be literate, speak English and understand that to hold down a job they must be punctual, presentable and honest. These attributes are basic and on top of this they need a skill. This could be a specialised skill such as sewing, printing, computing or just a hard working manual worker. The list is endless.
The important thing is to put Kibera adults in a position where they can attend a job interview with a reasonable prospect of succeeding.
There are not enough adult training establishments in Kibera. The needs of Kibera are far more than in an affluent area because of a general lack of education. Kibera UK aims to set up adult training schools. Meanwhile, much help is needed in existing training establishments, many of which teach basic sewing and printing.
Almost 1 million people living in dreadful poverty leads to many medical problems: HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrhoea, unwanted pregnancies, maternal health issues, tuberculosis (TB) & respiratory infections.
Walking around Kibera for the first time you would think all is well. The people look reasonably happy and cheerful but dig a little deeper and you will easily find many health issues. The biggest problem is hopelessness. Problems that could be solved for a few US cents are unaffordable to the people of Kibera.
Things are changing slowly. Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) have set up many clinics and are doing a great job. AMREF (a major heath charity) is also doing very good work in Kibera. Many churches also provide a medical service.
Clinics need your help. You do not need to be a doctor or nurse (but of course that would be great) Ė you need to be intelligent, keen, kind and really want to help.
Remember all the diseases you come across in Kibera can be cured. Two years ago in Kenya there were no Anti-HIV drugs (ARVís). Now, thanks to cheap generics made in India (by CIPLA) and the support of charities (The Global Fund, Gates Foundation, Clinton Foundation etc) these drugs are available and HIV no longer has to be a death sentence. There is hope, so do talk to people and tell them there is hope and there is a future!
HIV/AIDS has had a devastating effect over the last few years. In Kibera over 200,000 children have lost one if not both parents. Most live with family or friends. However, some orphans are totally homeless and end up as street children.
Charities, especially the churches, seek out orphans and look after them as best they can. There are several orphanages but not nearly enough.
Working as a care assistant in an orphanage entails organising feeding, clothing, schooling, health, playing etc Ė a very demanding but satisfying job.
The people of Kibera have very few rights. Of course every human being is entitled to certain minimum rights e.g., food, shelter, medicine, education, clean water, and sanitation. In Kibera none of these exist as standard. The right to be heard is also important and in Kibera the poor have no voice, so speaking up on their behalf with the authorities (landlords, schools, clinics, local charities, international organisations) is very important. Kibera UK aim to give slum dwellers a voice but much help is needed. This is tough work.
Cheap drugs and glue-sniffing are an increasing problem. Initially taken to alleviate boredom Changaa is an addictive cheap alcoholic brew. It is widely available, very strong (over 50% alcohol) and not correctly made so is usually very high in methanol. The cost is only Ksh10 per glass (half pint) and after a couple of glasses people are very drunk. With over 50% unemployment in Kibera many start drinking early in the morning leading to huge problems of violence and crime. Kibera UK are trying to help by showing the Changaa makers how to make the drink less poisonous. This is important and difficult but ultimately rewarding work.
Lack of work means that many young people have nothing to do all day so the development of sport is very important work. This involves helping to set up teams, organizing competitions, training etc.
The major problems of water, sewage etc are being slowly addressed by UN HABITAT. However, as you walk around Kibera you will be astounded by the amount of rubbish. This is mainly non-biodegradable plastic. We plan to organise groups within the Kibera villages to encourage the people to tidy up their area and thereby develop some community pride
We have vacancies for volunteers at our UK office.
In Kibera we have vacancies for unpaid organisers.
Please apply to email@example.com
Kibera UK - The Gap Year Company