In course Nr. 9 I travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia with the sole purpose of helping and giving back. The question I asked myself before I arrived was how can I be of support and bring lasting change in just one month time? What I came up with comes down to 3 points:
- To help to change the negative narrative of Africa
- To focus on empowerment & planting the seed
- To be brave, to act, to start with myself, to be the change I want to see in the world
The 1st point is realized by sharing all my experiences on my website over the course of the next few weeks. In the West we have such a wrong perception about Africa and it’s time to change this outdated narrative. What about point 2 and 3? In Kenya I am now lucky to call one of the most inspiring people my friends. Among them is Fred (click here to get to know more about this selfless individual). But when I arrived in Kenya I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t organize anything in advance, I just booked a one way ticket from Australia and trusted my intuition again. But like always when you trust and follow your heart, everything fell into place and the most inspiring people magicially crossed my path. With the help of these individuals I was not only able to live with a whole Maasai tribe in the middle of nowhere in the African Savanna but also to support 5 different volunteer projects in total. Here’s what I did:
1.) Manyo – Mathare North Youth Organization
Manyo is a little charity organization and children school in the Mathare Slum in Nairobi which is led by 8 young Kenyan individuals, who selflessly committed their lives to make a difference. I spent many days with them in the Slum in their container and helped them to create a website, a new logo, rebranded with them their charity name, internet presence and found strategies with them to utilize slum talent. Here you can find out more about them.
2.) Streetwise Transformers
Streetwise Transformers is a little voluntary organization that focuses on street children in Nairobi. When people in the Slum live on 1 to 2 Dollars a day. Street children usually live on less than a dollar a day and don’t have any shelter. To cope with their daily struggle to survive, to dull the hunger, cold and diseases most of them do drugs. In the streets of Nairobi they either sniff Glue or Gasoline. The shocking truth is most of them don’t even get to my age. Together with Streetwise Transformers I visited these children in the side streets of Nairobi. I listened to their struggles and connected them with a meditation & positivity coach who taught them mediation and self-belief. Here you can find out more about this selfless little charity.
3.) BLEP – Better Living Empowerment Program
BLEP – Better Living Empowerment Program is a Kenyan based little youth organization which champions organic urban farming, agribusinesses and environmental conservation. Through attending their board meetings I had a chance to give my insights and found strategies with them on how to become more economical. Here you can find out more about this little organization.
4.) A refugee women Empowerment Program
Together with an italian NGO I had the honor to support this program. Refugee women from Somalia and Eritrea, who have a very hard time in Kenya, were invited to create a photo collage showing all their dreams and wishes. We provided them with tons of magazines, scissors and glue and they started to get very creative. It was so nice to see how much fun they had and how different these refugee women’s dreams were.
5.) Maasai tribal Community
Lastly I was lucky to live with a whole Maasai community in the African Savanna. After some time I even had the honor to be initiated as a member into their tribe and to get to know their way of living. Moreover, I sat down with the tribe leader of 7000 youth Maasai and gave my insights on how the Maasai Community could strive and develop. Click here to find more about them and my time there.
As you can see, in just one month time, I planted the seed and empowered 5 different organizations. And the beauty is: I was able to really change things and in the course formed incredible connections. Most of these organizations are so small and have very limited resources so that they are very grateful to receive help. The crazy thing for me is that usually when people volunteer in Africa, they are stuck in one project, they pay quite a lot of money just to be able to volunteer and usually it’s with a Big player NGO. But most Big Player NGO’s don’t go to the places I’ve went to because they consider it unsafe which is an absolute joke.
Moreover, I heard from many Big NGO volunteers that even if you really want to help, it’s super hard to bring in your ideas because of the large bureaucratic structures of these corporations. Many of these volunteers felt frustrated and like a little cog in a big wheel. I believe change starts with yourself and there is hardly anything more frustrating than wanting to help but not being able to. I believe we may not change the big NGO’s and corporations. But we can all start with ourselves! We can all start to be the change we want to see in the world. Therefore, I worked on a solution for this.
How to really help in Africa
I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have to learn a lot from other people. – Eduardo Galeano
Together with my friends in Africa, I created a Tailor Made Volunteer program which is based on small local NGO’s only. You will be able to pick from a variety of different little organizations. This way you can not only choose and combine different fields of your interest and where you want to help, but foremost you will also see the direct impact of what you’ve done. Because these little organizations are super grateful for any kind of knowledge and resources you’ll bring them. And I can tell you, there is hardly any more fulfilling feeling than seeing that your help is changing something. That it is having some impact.
This is not about making money for me. In fact I will not make a single penny from this. It’s about empowering Africa. See it as a selfless, unique offer from me to you. From conscious people, from people who want to make a difference in this world to you, the very few rare conscious people in this world who really act, go and make this world a better place. If you feel addressed fill out the contact form below and we get your own tailor made Africa volunteering program going. =)
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This challenge and Africa was another very special month for me. Have you ever been to Africa or volunteered? What’s you’re take on it?