I was lucky enough to secure a place on the DFID-funded International Citizen Service youth volunteer programme, and subsequently spent 9 weeks living with a host family and working with Voluntary Service Overseas in Machakos County, Kenya. VSO’s project in Machakos aimed to tackle high levels of unemployment and poverty among the youth, through empowering under-35s to improve their entrepreneurial and employability skills.
I was placed at a local Township school’s unit for children with special educational needs alongside a Kenyan youth volunteer, Judy. As the majority of the children would be unable to leave school with traditional educational qualifications, together we focused mainly on introducing vocational skills such as beadwork, mat-making and agricultural projects, so that the children may have some practical skills to generate an income after leaving school.
Aside from my placement at the Township unit I was lucky enough to be involved in some side projects: these included Community Action/Active Citizenship days focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals as a VSO volunteer, working with Kenya Red Cross’s dissemination team in local schools and volunteering with charity orthopaedic surgeries to correct deformities of the hand and foot at a local hospital.
No amount of words or photographs will be able to truly capture my time in Kenya, but I hope to have offered a brief insight into an incredible – albeit sometimes gruelling – experience, and one that I am so grateful to the Go Abroad fund for allowing me to have.