At the end of 2015, Wotton + Kearney started sponsoring the education and feeding of Joyce Wambui, a 7 year old girl who lives in Kenya and attends the Aberdare Ranges Primary School (a school established and run by So They Can). Our sponsorship of Joyce was really the start of our partnership with So They Can. It was through understanding the difference the child sponsorship program made to children like Joyce that we decided to make So They Can the focus of our CSR initiatives, to make this trip to Kenya, and to fundraise for So They Can with the goal of funding the sponsorship of a further 80 children at Aberdare Ranges for a year.
Today, we went to Aberdare Ranges and we met Joyce.
I felt very emotional going into the school today. Maybe because I have spent the last 8 months talking about Joyce. Maybe also because last week I started sponsoring the education and feeding of another little girl, Abigael, and I knew that I would also have the opportunity to meet her today. Whatever the cause, I felt overwhelmed during the school assembly – unable to believe that we are actually here, at the school in Kenya and that our efforts over the last 8 months have come to fruition.
The school assembly was fantastic. The kids made us feel extremely welcome – particularly as they had come into the school during school holidays to hang out with us. They put on great performances of music, dance and acrobatics, with some highlights including a performance of the Haka (for our team mates from Trilogy in NZ) and a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.
After school assembly, we were introduced to our sponsored children. Abigael is just 5 years old and is new to the school this year. When we met, Abigael came over to me and gave me a big hug and huge smile. She is confident and full of joy and it was so so special to meet her and be able to spend time with her, drawing pictures, playing and meeting her big sister.
I had been thinking for a while about getting involved in the child sponsorship program, wanting a way to continue to support So They Can in the years to come. I am so happy I made the decision to get involved. It was a privilege to be able to meet Abigael and Joyce today and to see them both having access to a great education, giving them the foundations to achieve their dreams – Joyce wants to be a doctor, and both Abigael and her sister Joan tell me they want to be lawyers. Maybe when they are qualified it will be time for W+K to open its Kenyan office??
Its been a great day, full of fun and activities – participating in a sports day with the kids (I came 3rd in the 100m sprint, beaten by 2 very speedy Aberdare boys; David Kearney came 1st in the sack race!), helping to serve up lunch to 350 children with impressive appetites, and hanging out with the kids, getting to know them, chatting, playing. At the end of the day we walked the kids who live at Miti Mingi Children’s Village back home, and spent another hour playing with them.
You can’t help feeling happy when you are surrounded by so many exuberant people, who appreciate the world around them, and want to create a better future for themselves. I’m glad that all of us at W+K are able to be a part of their lives and that we have an ongoing commitment to Joyce. I’m looking forward to following her progress over the years – and I very much hope to meet both Joyce and Abigael again one day (yep, I’m already thinking of coming back!).
To learn more about the child sponsorship program look here – http://www.sotheycan.org/ways-to-help/sponsor-a-child/
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