My time volunteering
I was part of a team volunteering in Makueni County on a Livelihoods program in which we were implementing the project EYEE (Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Employability). This is a project that aimed to enhance the economic stability of the youth aged 15-30 years through sustainable income generation. Our three main outcomes were to enhance youth agency and ownership, increase access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities amongst youths in Makueni and engage youths in Agribusiness. We were a team made up of Kenyan and UK volunteers, spread about 7 different placements throughout the county.
The impact of my placement
I was placed at St Patrick's Makueni Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre, a school for children with disabilities and early leavers. We gave lessons on tree nurseries and chicken coups, employability skills, record keeping, budgeting skills, different ways of learning, building confidence, sexual health and disability rights and awareness. These lessons were a way of providing the students with ideas for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. For many of these lessons we would ask speakers to come in and discuss these with the students in order to create and maintain a good link between the community and the school. We also began a tree nursery for the school whilst the students were on holiday with the intentions of the next cycle introducing this to the students and teaching them on how we did it and how a business from can come from it. We worked on proposal writing and were able to get some funding for the Kenyan Sign Language training that St Patrick's hold. We also met graduates and pioneers of St Patrick's who worked locally and discussed with them their feelings on Disability Awareness in Makueni County and ways it could be improved. We also carried out home visits with some of the students to check on accessibility in their homes and to check their attachment (work experience) status, and encourage them if they were not on one yet.
My unforgettable moments
I have so many amazing memories from my time in Kenya but some of my highlights were spending time with my amazing host family and counterpart, meeting my work counterpart, spending time with the students at St Patrick's and gaining their trust to make great friendships and of course seeing an elephant!
The impact my placement has had on me
My time volunteering in Kenya has impacted a lot on my life. For example, it has sparked a greater interest in me to volunteer with children with disabilities here in England. Beforehand I had many different volunteering ideas in my head but hadn't carried them out and I now feel motivated to do so. It has also increased my desire to continue travelling around the world and experience different cultures. There were times on my placement when we faced some challenges and obstacles and I think these experiences have increased my decision-making and leadership skills. This experience has also given me some amazing friends in Kenya who I will never forget and hope to see again one day.