Trip to Kenya
President Elisabetta Murdaca, why a trip to Kenya?
In the autumn of 2016, the Association was working on a training project for African refugees in Europe. By confronting and meeting different entities and personalities who know the migratory phenomenon very well, the clear answer I received was "You can’t understand Africa if you haven’t been there." So on November 6th 2016, I left for Nairobi to conduct a one-month volunteer experience.
Where have you been?
Initially I was hosted by Leandro Agosta, secretary of Tempo Fiorito Kenya. The mission of this local NGO (Non Governmental Organization) is to improve livelihoods through the promotion and encouragement of good practices of sustainable natural agriculture for poverty reduction, food security and community development. Through Tempo Fiorito Kenya I did a volunteer period at Shelter Children's Home in Ngong (the children were on vacation from school), to which the members of the Great Oak Association donated funds for the construction of new dining hall furniture, because the previous one was destroyed in a recent fire; In addition, the associate Cristiano Tomasini offered his technical advice in the agricultural project that Leandro Agosta's NGO has put in place.
Who did you meet?
In those days I was able to get to know the Italian Friends of Children Association which provided me with a complete and clear picture of the abandonment situation in which many children live in Nairobi. But the most important meeting was with Renato Sesana (Father Kizito).
Who is Father Kizito?
This combonian father founded the Koinonia Community, whose purpose is: the full development of people, vulnerable child protection, recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of former street children, awareness raising and animation of the surrounding community on issues related to juvenile marginalization, children’s rights, justice and peace. In particular, Koinonia manages:
- several rehabilitation centers of former street children in the outskirts of Nairobi (e.g. Kivuli center, where I spent a week)
- a Physiotherapy Center for Children with Disabilities at Kibera (Paolo's Home)
- a secondary residential school (Domus Maria)
- a meeting center (Shalom House)
- a Shalom IT center computer science school
- Diakonia Institute, where courses are held for social workers and project managers and a dispensary.
Have you met other Italian companies?
In my trip I met two Italian journalists from the Hic sunt leones group and with them I was able to attend the event organized by Amref (African Medical and Research Foundation) for a school against female genital mutilation. I had the opportunity to meet personally the founder of Amref Italia, Tommy Simmons. In addition, in Kivuli I was welcomed and supported by Chiara Avezzano, Italian representative in Kenya for Amani for Africa, a partnership born many years ago to support Koinonia Community projects in Kenya, Zambia and South Sudan. Chiara with great willingness responded to all my questions.
What did you bring home from this trip?
All these experiences have opened my mind to a world completely different from that in which we live. Now the Association can think of building projects that are more responsive to the real needs of Africans.