Read about Nereah's work
with starting a youth group in Kenya.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work
did/do you do?
I started a youth group in the rural area of Ahero in Kenya. I also worked as a volunteer to make sure that the first African Youth Conference was a success in Kenya. Now we have formed the Kenya Youth Parliament.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Nereah: Kenya Youth Parliament, Nairobi, Kenya; and Ack Ndori Youth Group, Ahero, Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
The project in Ahero is working on helping those who are poor to use other valuable means to earn money and to go to school. We also aim at teaching the word of God and to educate the African child how to become a very useful being in the society.
[For example,] Valmin is an orphan in Ahero, and she lives with her grandmother. Her grandmother is too old to do anything for her, so she didnít go to secondary school after her primary education. We asked our pastor for a piece of land, and he gave us a small portion,
and we were able to plant kale and corn for them. Valmin has trained as a kindergarten teacher and is now teaching.
In the Kenya Youth Parliament we are fighting against abuse and the future of our country as youths. We want to ensure that we have no social and political conflicts. We are also working at clearing the HIV epidemic. Personally, I love talking to street children and encouraging them to go back home and to school.
We believe we will achieve a better tomorrow in Kenya. I like talking to youths and advising them on how you can live and manage yourself in poverty until you move out of it.
What inspired you to get involved?
Nereah: Back at Ahero I didnít get amused at all at the sight of children staying idle and ending up stealing and getting into other crimes that they wouldnít have thought of doing if they were educated or busy. After clearing my high school in 2000 I went home and decided to
try and work on youth projects, and I decided to start from church .There was a boy whose character changed from bad to good, and the community was so impressed. It is actually from this point that the number of youths who desired to work along with me grew larger, and I got the inspiration to go on with this youth project.
How did you first get involved? Through school? Your parents? Some other means? Give us some details.
Nereah: I got involved through school. I felt as though it was my calling. I was always talking about change until one day I decided to be a part of the Youth Fund Distribution Committee. I knew that I would be changing the world somehow, but mainly the fact that my
involvement in this program would help out some organizations that were in financial need. To me that was amazing because not many students at my school would get involved in this program just because they're worried about what everyone else is going to think, or they feel as though their opinion doesn't count,
but I found out it does. That's why I am very appreciative and grateful to the Youth Fund Distribution Committee for being my extended family.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Nereah: I just loved interacting and knowing people of different cultures and how they behave.
What is/was the hardest part?
Nereah: It was so hard for me to organize a youth rally due to lack of money, so one day I decided to start a poultry project, and it was doing so well. But one day our pastor just decided to make all of them into a meal for his visitors. I had traveled to the city, and when I came back there was no poultry. In Kenya you canít question an elder,
but I was so discouraged that I came up with something, and the church elders took advantage of it.
What was the biggest surprise?
Nereah: One day I was asked to go and speak to youth at St. Stevenís Cathedral in the town of Kisumu. I had never spoken to a group in my life, and believe me, the experience was rather challenging and good.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience, and how have you changed as a result?
Nereah: You donít have to be a tycoon to help people out of poverty; it takes your heart and personality, and that matters a lot to the society. As a person it has made me believe that I can make it in life if I want to. It has changed my perspective of life as an African child.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Nereah: Take your time and think about it before you get into it. And when you get there do it with all your mind and soul, for there is nothing to regret after that. © Foundation Center
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