In November 2013 I spent a month in Kenya working closely with an NGO called Expanding Opportunities to provide them with photos for their website, newsletters and social media. The organisation has a number of facets and I was able to focus on two of these, the outreach work in Samburu to rescue young girls from forced marriages and help educate them at the local school. and the children's home called JWHS on the outskirts of Nakuru.
I spent a fortnight here, getting to know the children, the staff and how things work at the home and took a series of photos to tell the children's stories and show sponsors all over the world what a day in the life of JWHS looks like. I also put together a little multimedia video which you can watch below.
If you spend any time on the streets of Nakuru, or any Kenyan city for that matter, you will see the many children living there, scraping a living from begging and usually high on glue.
Expanding Opportunities began as a way to try and get some of these children off the street and give them an education and a future. The first way that EO does this is to connect with local community members and support family members who are battling to send their children to school, or pay for textbooks and school uniforms. Cate is the social worker who visits these families, listens to their requests and, where possible, assists them.
But the real heart of Expanding Opportunities is the the children's home - JWHS. The children here are either orphaned or their families cannot afford to look after them and send them to school so they come to live at JWHS. Each child is sponsored by donors and their support covers each child's living and school expenses.
One of the core beliefs and EO is that education is the key to expanding children's opportunities and empowering them for a better future. The children go to different school in the surrounding areas and a lot of time and effort goes into making sure they all have the correct uniforms, books, supplies and are doing well at school.
Once school is done there are always plenty of chores to be done around the home. JWHS is also home to goats and chickens and has a very large vegetable garden, or shamba as the Kenyans call it. The home is self sustaining, running off solar power and rain water. This saves money and is environmentally friendly, but it does make for lots of hard work for the staff and children.
It's not all hard work though, there is always time for games, and little relaxation at JWHS.
JWHS gives children a home - a place to eat three meals, to play with friends, to sleep in safe warm bed, to do their homework and to learn to play their part with chores and housework. But every child here needs a sponsor in order to stay here and complete their studies. If you are interested in sponsoring a child at JWHS, please get hold of Bev here: http://www.exop.org/home_school.html