When we think about children, we imagine kids who are safe at home playing, having enough to eat and having friends to hang out with. Sadly that’s not the case with all children. The Kisumu Children’s Remand Home is a perfect example. It houses children who are in conflict with the law, as they await trial in the court of law.
Together with other stakeholders, we took a visit to get to know the place and the children and were immediately touched and inspired to organize an activity. We sought to find out what food and games the kids would love most and after numerous chats and preparations we organized our first chapati Festival.
On arrival at the home, on the day of the event, we were surprised at how organized and disciplined the children were. Without any supervision from their teachers and child-care officers, they helped us clean the venue, set up the seats and most of them even volunteered to be part of the program to help entertain the guests and their fellow children.
Amongst the group that volunteered to help organize the day, we had a professional chef from one of Kisumu’s most prestigious hotels, that helped organize how we could prepare over 500 chapatis and other food stuffs to feed the entire remand home. The team cooked pilau (spiced Swahili rice), meat, varieties of vegetables and most important, the beloved CHAPATIS!!
Part of the volunteers who were not in the kitchen, organized themselves to talk to the kids about issues surrounding self-esteem and other life skills. This is where the team from Better Me really took charge as we divided the volunteers into groups and facilitated discussions with the kids about various issues. We encouraged them that even though they had conflict with the law, it does not mean that Society has forgotten about them or given up on them. Rather it means that they have a chance to prove to everybody that they can do better and become even better members of the society.
After the mentorship sessions, we continued with the main event, where we had a chapati eating competition. One of the kids really surprised us by eating about 8 chapatis in under 2 minutes!! Insane!!
After the competition we asked the chapati champion what he would like as a prize. Out of a hundred things that he could have told us, the boy said that all he needed were beads and a thread to make bracelets. We were totally puzzled by his humble request and immediately organized a small fundraiser. Amongst the volunteers who were present, we were able to raise enough money to buy him supplies to make at least 300 bracelets.
After an amazing and fun packed morning, we shared lunch together with the kids and it was another opportunity to share more stories and to connect more deeply with the children. To our surprise, our chapati champion still had room for some more food! 😮
After lunch, the activities did not stop. An activist group in Kisumu performed a short play and engaged the children in activities that provided the children with more knowledge on their rights and ways on how to get help in case they have been abused or their rights denied in any way.
In the evening, as we were leaving the venue, we reflected upon the events of the day. All of us felt deep appreciation for what we have and what we can do to make the lives of more children better. It was a day to learn and share love & joy with children that society rarely thinks about.
With love from Kenya,
Kenya Program Coordinator
PS: If you’d like to support initiatives like this, please get in touch or make a donation.