When Safaricom kicked off the “Ndoto Zetu” initiative, many people did not think the initiative would grow to change and impact so many lives within such a short period of time.
“Ndoto Zetu” is a Swahili phrase that means “Our Dreams.” Each one of us has a dream. Some have big dreams while some are contented with little dreams. The hardest part of a dream is turning it into reality. Many great dreams have gone to waste for lack of a better plan to actualize them.
Kenya is the land of amazing people. Almost everyone in Kenya has a dream but in most cases, the dreams never come true because of numerous challenges, top among them being poverty.
They say money is the answer to everything and, indeed, it is true. Sometimes without money, you will never see your dreams being actualized.
Coming from the Western Part of Kenya, Bungoma County to be specific, I got an opportunity to witness what Safaricom’s Ndoto Zetu initiative has done and I have documented some of the amazing projects that will linger for long in the minds of the beneficiaries. Please walk with me through them.
My journey kicks off in Siritanyi, Bungoma County where I meet Levis Nyamori, a resident of Siritanyi. Nyamori had written to Ndoto Zetu requesting for medical supplies to help his jigger eradication project. He often goes to school washing feet and removing jiggers and giving shoes to the shoeless school going children.
For more than 10 years, residents of Siritanyi have endured an untold amount of suffering as a result of jigger manifestation. Both young and the old were affected. You should have seen them while they walked.
Thanks to Ndoto Zetu by Safaricom, and through Mr. Levis Nyamori, they received such items as Hydrogen Peroxide, Zinc Oxide, Gauze Bandages, Gloves, Masks, drying powder, basins and, most importantly, 252 pairs of shoes. They also helped to remove jiggers from 150 children as well as more than 50 adults.
Done with the Siritanyi Community. I leave smiles behind and the hope for the future is written all over in their faces. My next stop is at Cheptais Ward, Mount Elgon still in my county, Bungoma. Here, I meet with Peter Kemei, the founder of Brighter Future CBO that is a center for rescuing girls escaping from FGM, early marriages and teenage pregnancies.
Mr. Kemei wrote to Ndoto Zetu requesting for T-Shirts to help him organize the Run for the Girl Child Half Marathon, aimed at raising funds for the center and educating the community members on the importance of keeping the girls in school.
Thanks to Ndoto Zetu, Mr. Kemei received 50 T-Shirts for the Marathon as well as foodstuffs. 30 girls within the center and 150 others within the community will receive the support. Most communities in Mount Elgon still undervalue the girl child with the majority of them seeing her just as a procreation tool. Nothing else.
I’m off. Next stop, Chongoyi Primary School, still in Bungoma. Imagine having to run a school with not enough toilets for the pupils. It is difficult. Right? Here I meet with Joan Khaemba, the Headteacher of Chongoyi Primary School. She had written to Ndoto Zetu requesting for the construction of Pit Latrine for the girls within the school and also, requested for more desks to make learning for her pupils more comfortable.
Guess what? A three-door pit latrine was constructed and, in addition, the school received 50 desks with a sitting capacity of 3 pupils per desk. Now, 510 girls are able to have access to clean toilets. How is that? Amazing. Right?
I’m leaving Bungoma County for a while. I went to Kisumu County. Eish Jaduong’ forgive me, it is supposed to be Kisumu City. What is! I was in Muhoroni Sub County and here, I meet Lameck Ochieng’, who, through his Help Upendo Home, distributes sanitary towels from well-wishers and NGOs to 6 schools in his area to ensure that girls stay in school. He wrote to Ndoto Zetu requesting for a long term situation through the provision of sanitary towels and the training and know-how of the reusable pads. 3,240 sanitary towels were delivered.
I could not visit all the projects. I’m off for Nairobi now. Behind, I leave trails of hope, smiles and a bright future. The dream leaves on.