I started volunteering at Embracing the World’s Children’s Home near Nairobi in 2010 as a reluctant and shy volunteer. My parents would have to practically force me to go to the home. I think this was because I wasn’t quite comfortable with the community around me, as I had never interacted or talked with them. However, after continued visits for an year or so, I adjusted quite well and started enjoying going to the home. By 2012, I was quite active in participating in the activities of the home. I became regular and consistent in my visits, and started quarterly drives for the children’s school by initiating collection of books for the library, toys, stationery, shoes and clothes from friends and family. The response to these drives was encouraging and at times we had two carton full of useful stuff to be taken to Athi river!
I also tried spending more time with the kids at the home by organizing football camps for them which I thoroughly enjoyed, as I connected with many of them on a personal level. I was Impressed with their football skills and their enthusiasm for learning the rules and skills of the game.
I have also been a regular volunteer at the Sunday feeding program for several hundred children from informal settlements at Athi river and thoroughly enjoy helping out in this actively.
In June 2014, I organized a concert in the aid of the school called ‘The songs of June’.
Although I couldn’t be very involved with the setting up due to a broken leg, I contacted many organizations to donate to the cause.The concert was a success as few of my school friends also contributed to it. I collected a substantial amount of money and received goods such as chocolate powder, noodles and juice from corporate sponsors.
When I had friends visiting from the Springboro Community School in Ohio in August 2014,I asked them to help me collect stationery and raise funds for the school, and thus raised enough money to sponsor 3 children’s education for year and a lot of school supplies all the way from USA. We also arranged to have breakfast with the school children by taking goodies from town. It was an experience which my friends will not forget. They have promised to stay connected with our community.
I am now gearing myself to get involved with AYUDH’s White C(r)ane Project in Kenya, which aims at providing a white cane to every blind child in Kenya.I am planning to involve my school community in this endeavor.
The experience of working with the home has made me a different person. I have become more giving, caring and grateful for what I have, and have learnt the joy of helping others. I have also become less reserved and shy. I have really enjoyed volunteering at the home so far, and intend on continuing my work through my final year in school, as well as after I go to college, in the best of my abilities.
I am of the opinion that people are willing to help out with a noble cause if you reach out to them.
– Shivansh Chaturvedi, 17, AYUDH member from Kenya