A joint initiative by two New Zealand Rotary clubs is helping to change the lives of at-risk youth in Kenya.
The Rotary Clubs of Tawa and Waimate have jointly funded the building and furnishing of a classroom block at Osiligi Training Centre, a rehabilitation farm school just outside Kisenan, which is run by New Zealanders, Robin and Margaret Aim.
Over recent years, the two Rotary clubs have provided finance for improvements to the school, which has a record of successfully converting street kids, from lives of crime and begging in Nairobi’s slums, into skilled and responsible men. “They are able to hold down a job and become stable citizens and an asset to society,” said Aim in a speech to the Rotary Club of Tawa. “The boys, who have attended the contact centre in Kangemi slum in Nairobi and shown that they want to change their lives, get an opportunity to do two years at the rehabilitation farm. During their stay on the farm the boys are equipped with social skills, modern agricultural methods, basic education, as well as business skills. They also undergo counselling, discipleship and a mentorship programme.”
Last year, the Rotary Club of Tawa provided a wide range of tools for use in upskilling the boys in current farming technology. It also financed the purchase of Kenyan-made furniture for the newly completed classrooms. “Having new furniture in the classroom block is such a blessing and such an encouragement to the boys,” said Aim. “Most Kenyan classrooms have very inadequate furniture, often partially broke (sic). Our former Street boys have been rejected by society in the past. Having quality furniture in the classrooms, for them to use, helps us in the reform process of building self-worth in these young men's lives.”
In 2015, the Pretoria-based NZ High Commissioner, Richard Mann, gifted the farm a brand new tractor and implements when he officially opened the new classroom block.