Happy Mama Alert;My Kibera students finally graduated

11:25:00 PM

Yaaay we graduated
Towards the end of last year when my mind, my funk was still new, I wrote countless letters to do a pilot program that would be a more than my #hugSitawa one off sessions. No one came through and I was about to give up though deep down I knew, you don't change attitudes towards mental health conditions and epilepsy just by telling your story and collecting hugs; that gives food for thought but you need to resound it over and over again for it to become real. I knew for any progress to be made in mental health in Kenya is through awareness creation which needs foot soldiers who grasp it...so I kept push and one lady saved the day by suggesting a place and I really disturbed her till she introduced me to the place; The Kibera Soweto East Resource Centre and the pollination project made my trips there possible. I have been coming to the centre every Tuesday (and sometimes Thursday) for the past 14 weeks and I have taught about mental health, epilepsy, blogging and storytelling through art, through partners, the students have learnt about suicide and drugs and together we have worked on our esteem and public speaking, we have also had fun through class debates, picnic at Central Park and board games.

On Tuesday as my students graduated, I lacked words to describe for how faithful God has been not just to me through this whole process but also for each and every student who attended my class. I thank God for this far He has brought them and I am humbled that He trusted me with them. When we began they knew email addresses are for opening FB accounts period and majority of them didn't have email addresses as you can simply get o FB via your phone number but now they email me almost daily and some have blogs that they regularly update (we have 10 blogs), they were all shy and couldn't speak up but through our regular group work sessions and class presentations, they are now challenging me in class which is just amazing and most of all, they are excited about their future, constantly keeping me on my toes with their thirst for more.

As I listened to them speak about their experiences with me and how they feel blessed that I came through, I am know that this was definitely the Lord's doing, that there couldn't been a better time for me to meet the lady who introduced me to the centre and also to get #seedthechange. As we graduate, I thank all the people who have made this possible;
  1. The centre in Kibera and its management; Billy, Bi and Teacher Kenyatta
  2. Hital from Cisco,
  3. The Pollination Project,
  4. Aaron and Kaitlin Tait from Spark International,
  5. My BasicNeeds Family for everything including allowing me to sneak out for two hours every Tuesday when facilitating at the fellowship,
  6. SCAD and Samaritans Kenya for taking time to come and talk to them,
  7. Cassey and her board game which they can't get enough of and the list goes on and on.
  8. Everyone who likes our FB page and session pictures or simply tells me 'I see the work you do in Kibera',
Now as I work on getting some into a job scheme and start a CBO with the rest, I know that God will keep blessing me with health and He will provide resources, human and otherwise,at His time according to His riches.

PS: Thanks to the success of this pilot program, we will be taking a new cohort at this centre, mid July or August (how cool is that?). We will also be starting another class on the other side of Kibera near the bypass (Katwikira side) and since I loooooove my hood so much, I will give back to it for being the one place I want to live and die in so a third class in Ngong...subscribe to this blog for updates on all this.
See more picture on our FB page

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  1. You are such a kind/loving soul Sitawa, an inspiration. You are introducing everyone to new ways to express themselves (like a blog) and giving hope to their lives. Amazing!