Update 5-6-14: I was medically separated from the Peace Corps on January 4, 2014 and am no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer.
You may remember that I started this blog as a way for people to keep up with my Kenyan adventure in the summer of 2012. I spent two weeks living and volunteering at an orphanage that was, at the time, called Watoto wa Baraka (children of hope). I was discouraged by friends and family members from writing too much about the nitty gritty of the orphanage, since they felt my safety could be in jeopardy if I voiced my anger and dismay at the things occurring there. Though I did not have the courage to speak out, a couple of PHENOMENAL women that I have the privilege of knowing did and do. Together, they started Stahili Foundation, “a foundation established to combat child labor and abuse of children living in rural Kenya. Stahili works to rescue and provide these children with the basic needs they deserve – a supportive and loving environment and the right to achieve their individual potential through education. In Swahili, Stahili means, ‘to deserve.’ ”
Whether you are reading this blog because you typed “Peace Corps” or “South Africa” or “Kenya” or even “Harry Potter” into a google search bar, I hope you agree that EVERY child in the world has a right to love, dignity, and education. The amazing people at Stahili Foundation work tirelessly to create an awareness about child labor, trafficking, and abuse in rural Kenya and to help facilitate a bright future for affected children. You may recognize some (or all!) of the children that they are currently serving from photos that I posted on Facebook or that you saw here on my blog.
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, I don’t exactly have the expendable income to donate money to Stahili Foundation, but what I can donate is my voice. I realize that the economy isn’t great right now and many people are struggling, but as you sit in your air conditioned or heated home using electricity and internet access to read this, I urge you to be mindful of the privilege you receive just from being born in your home country. I urge you to consider what it is like to be born and grow up in rural Kenya. Above all, I urge you to consider what it is like to be a child who is exploited and abused by the adults who are supposed to be taking care of you. Every child deserves love, dignity, and education. Stahili Foundation is an amazing organization that is trying to provide all three of those things for underprivileged youth. Even if you are unable to donate, please do your part and spread the word (and the love!).
Check out http://www.stahilifoundation.org/ and see for yourself what this wonderful group of people is doing to make our world a better place, one child at a time. Share the link with your family and friends. Even if you can’t afford to donate money, donate a little bit of time to help get the word out- PLEASE.