Over the last several months, PEIFF Mentees and partners have been engaged in various activities in our communities - from charitable services at special homes and orphanages to informational events at schools and in communities directed at school girls, children who have survived conflict and abuse or at helping mothers who, due to widowhood or abuse, are struggling to care for their kids. And we continue to try to keep pace - on this informational platform - with our amazing class members and partner organizations.
On the weekend of October 22, 2017, Ms. Esther Katiba, PEIF Fund Mentee and Director of MFTH, Kenya (one of the PEIF Fund’s partner organizations), led her team to the Christ Chapel Children’s Home (CCCH) in Huruma Estate, Nairobi, Kenya. The Home serves about seventy-five children who have been abandoned by their parents.
Esther, a lawyer by training, is also the Director of Career Routes Solutions Ltd. in Nairobi, Kenya. Together with members of the MFTH, she spent quality time talking with the kids about a range of issues, providing empowering information about keeping safe and staying strong in the face of difficulties. This effort continues the PEIF Fund's tradition of visiting, spending time serving, and even celebrating birthdays with kids in orphanages and special homes as a reminder that they are loved, that we carry them in our hearts, and that we are their family too.
During her time at the Home, Esther and her team shared a meal with the children. Esther has made it a regular habit to spend time with the kids at CCCH, a tradition that fosters familiarity between Esther and the children. During her visits, Esther brings along various necessities that she is able to solicit, knowing that the kids at CCCH lack basic supplies, including hygiene items, underpants and sanitary towels – items that, when combined with the cost of daily care, are too expensive for the single mother who manages the Home.
A few days before their visit at the CCCH, Esther and team members spent a day at a local school in Nairobi where her own children are enrolled. She had conversations with the girls in classes 6, 7 & 8 on sexual abuse, peer pressure and much more. The final level in the Kenyan primary school program is Class 8. Students in this class have their final examination between October and November annually, following which they begin high school. Esther, therefore, is keen on giving candid talks on issues affecting girls to school-girls at these final stages of the primary school program before they begin high school.
In her talk, Esther empowered the girls with information on the meaning of sexual assault, discussed issues of self-confidence, and advised them on how to keep themselves safe at home and in public spaces. She also addressed the problem of peer pressure, particularly the pressure to look and act a certain way, advising the young girls of the power of believing in themselves as tomorrow’s leaders. This message is critical and timely as societies - in the West at least - are beginning to pay attention to the pervasiveness of sexual assault and abuse that women suffer in workplaces and in public life in general.
A primary part of our work at the PEIF Fund is ensuring vulnerable kids and kids-in-need are given the opportunity to have a promising future – a task accomplished through our corporate support, as well as through inspired Mentees and organizational leaders, like Esther Katiba whose social entrepreneurial work the PEIF Fund supports. With Mentees like Esther undertaking grassroots initiatives to support vulnerable children such as the kids at CCCH and primary school girls in Kenya – and who are in effect serving as a matter of altruistic duty, the PEIF Fund is contributing to redefining what it means to volunteer and to be an active citizen.
In the New Year, the PEIF Fund looks forward to providing details of social entrepreneurial initiatives undertaken by our Mentees to support struggling families and local economies, and to sharing more of Esther's efforts to empower widows and abuse survivors in Nairobi, Kenya.