Working in Partnership
The Walk Centre, Kenya
Project Founder Alex Maina started The Walk Centre in 2005, after witnessing cases of extreme poverty in his local area of London, Nakuru. Many of the children who attend the project come from families who live on the town’s rubbish dump. Before the project started, these children scavenged around the site looking for food and valuable objects which their families could sell on.
After his first visit to the dumpsite, Alex felt compelled to help. At first, he brought the children down from the site to attend a makeshift school in a rented building. Here, he gave the children food, juice and a basic education in Swahili, English and maths. After some time, Alex was able to gather supporters and raise funding which enabled him to purchase a plot of land and relocate the school to its current location.
The Walk Centre educates children from the age of four, and gives children a pre-primary education. In 2014, the school opened its first primary class, standard one, for students aged six. Alongside providing education, the project provides children with a nutritious meal, for some their only food each day.
In 2015, work started as part of the biggest project African Adventures has ever undertaken – helping The Walk Centre build a new school! Volunteers have been helping to construct a new primary school on the school’s current site.
Currently, the school sends its children on to Prison’s Primary School, located a short walk from the Centre, once they graduate Standard One. This is at a significant cost to the project and, moving forward, the school would like to avoid those costs by running its own primary school.
A Day in the Life
Of a Volunteer
Here is an account from a volunteer called Sarah who visited Kenya in March 2016. She worked at a project called Mama Kerry and kept a heartfelt blog. Here, she shares her experience of the first couple of days;
“There’s nothing that comes close to the emotions of Kenya. I’m not even sure ‘emotions’ or ‘feelings’ are words I could use to describe them. Strolling through the centre of Nakuru at midday, eyes ahead and worries behind, greeted by smiles and waves and hearts and happiness. Crouching in the red hot dust of the Mama Kerry School playground, clinging to a toddler who is taking a much-needed nap. She is comfortable and content…that’s all that matters.
I left Dublin airport on March 11th 2016, with a group of fellow students, on a mission to change the world. I didn’t know what to expect. I’m still not quite sure if any of us had hopes, dreams and aims for the trip as one would anticipate, or if we all were just rather overwhelmed by the adventure in front of us and the world that was opening up around us.
After a long and eventful journey, we stepped out of Nairobi airport into the light. The heat lingered upon our skin, and our eyes were met by scenery so extravagant that it has to be seen to be believed. It was all worth it.
A 5-hour bumpy bus ride to Nakuru felt momentary with the landscape to admire. Our accommodation felt like home from the moment we tucked ourselves into the safety of our mosquito nets. It was the perfect mixture of basic yet luxurious. We settled quickly and, after a reflection of how far we’d already come, both in miles and mental growth, we drifted into the realm of dreams.
On Sunday, we used the day to adjust and chill out. We mingled with local teenagers by the pool; both nationalities excited to get to know the other. Hours were spent wide-eyed, taking in everything. We discovered Kenyan cuisine; the chapattis, served with mixed beans and rice, were a delight.
After the relaxing weekend we had experienced so far, Monday was certainly a shock to our systems. We were bussed off to our projects, knowing only that there would be children, lots of children. The welcoming ceremony consisted of all the pupils singing and dancing, an abundance of joy. Overwhelmed by the happiness of these kids, we joined in the celebrations. It was only when I started to look closer at the children I noticed the torn clothes, shoeless feet and longing eyes.
In that moment the world stood still and all that I could see was the brokenness and overflowing love of Kenya.”