Jitegemee Community Project.
“ Bringing Hope, Love and Bright Future In The Lives Of Children “
“Jitegemee” This is a word whose authenticity is in Swahili. It can be translated as “Depend on your own,” or simply, “be dependent”
Jitegemee Community is a faith based non-profit project based in Kenya. It is located in Manyatta slums, in Kisumu Town. The Project was started by some youths who shared the same visions, and therefore went ahead and registered the Community in 2007. The project started with a purpose to arrest social economic activities among orphans and vulnerable children by helping them acquire Early Childhood Development Education. By so doing this, it would reduce poverty and eliminate child abuse that is rampant in Africa. The sole reason for the community, as the director explains, is just as the scripture call us to love and serve the poor throughout the world, as Jesus did. We give and restore hope by demonstrating God’s love. Through these works, others are able to know their value, realize their potential, and experience life in all its fullness.
The Community seeks to improve the lives of children, youths and women, by empowering them with hope, knowledge, skills, opportunities and the resources necessary to help improve their lives in the slums, by enabling them access to life’s basic necessities.
Pillars of Jitegemee Community
This is defined as a community venue where all information is accessed. It includes all services through which the footprint of Jitegemee is left in the various communities that we serve.
Who we serve
Jitegemee Community serves the most-at-risk populations, orphaned and vulnerable children, the youth, and generally the poor communities through responsive and innovative programs that enable them to eradicate poverty and live a quality life . We serve all children and youths, regardless of their religious beliefs, gender, cultural, race, or ethnicity.
To provide early Childhood development Education for Children from families with humble financial background to obtain free and affordable education.
To improve the feeding habits of the children at the Centre by providing them with well balanced diet while attending the daily schooling program.
To enlighten the community to value education especially the vulnerable children from the slums
Basically the community has a number of programs that run in it. Each program is geared towards improving the lives of individuals. In this document, contains a schooling program whose main focus is in educating “Little Hopes,” the children.
Establishing a well equipped educational centre and holistic health programs
Opening up a vocational centre where youths can train on various things including, artwork, hairdressing, tailoring and computer skills.
Offer malaria control equipment, .e.g. mosquito nets, as Kisumu is an area prone to mosquitoes, and malaria.
Train people on the control of Water borne diseases e.g. cholera
Handle water and sanitation in the slum
Little Hopes Centre
Little hopes children in a class
Little Hopes is one of the programs in Jitegemee Community. It mainly focuses on educating children, as education is the best way to confront poverty. ‘Give a child a fish and tomorrow they will ask for more, but show a child how to do fishing, and tomorrow they will find for themselves.“ The program does a number of things for children. It’s focus is mainly on:
Providing Early Childhood Development Education to vulnerable and underprivileged children within the community.
Feeding the children while in school
Health care program
The centre started to give children mainly in the slum a chance to have access to education. However, challenges have been part and parcel of this idea and project as well. As stated earlier, the individuals in this category are from less fortunate backgrounds. All that the guardians can do is simply provide a meal a day, if any. Others pull through with empty stomachs.
As we all know, life begins when a child belongs. Giving children a sense of belonging not only puts on a smile at that moment, but it’s a lifetime mark. They begin realizing their potential and living up to it. Following these, managing and taking care of the children, has not been easy. They live upon well wishers to feed them, of which some are not constant wishers. This therefore becomes tricky and not enough funding to provide for the children. In the past, we have had to rely on a network called, Arise 4 Children Network whose donations are once every year, hence not being possible to provide for their needs throughout the year. This network donated books inclusive of other things, as shown in the picture below.
Children showing books given by Arise 4 Children Network
Children feeding in the school
Due to this fact, we have not been able to employ workers and all we do is to coordinate with volunteers who also need allowances to attend to various duties. At times they never feel motivated and therefore delivering goods and services becomes quite a problem. Due to limited funds, Little Hopes has not been in a position to have spacious classes and be well equipped. The enrollment is now 60 children, hence the need for spacious and enough classrooms. These children all have to share 3 classrooms where each carries 20 of them, making it too compacted, as the space is limited. There is an increase in number of the needy children, and maybe in the future we will need to help more of them. But only if we have the equipment and funds to meet their needs that will transform their lives.
Little Hopes children inside the small-spaced classrooms
A front view of the three classrooms shared by the 60 children of little Hopes Centre
Unless we get enough funds, it is very difficult to keep the centre operating.
However, we have seen lives change and children transformed. Our Children are happy to be part and parcel of us and are active in the society both academically and socially, in and out of class. They take part in co- curriculum activities and its always our joy to see them excel.
All these pretty faces are young minds reaching for wisdom, to move mountains and change many more lives. They can only do this if they are given a chance and an opportunity to forget about the bitter past they have had as young children, as it never equals their future.
As Walter Anderson said, ”Bad things do happen. How we respond to them defines our character and the quality of our lives. We can chose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of our loss or we can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift we have, …life.“ These children can only treasure their lives if they are given a sense of belonging. In the midst of all turmoil, HOPE has never left them. It is that one thing that has kept them moving. They are hopeful of a bright future even though the way to that, is still unknown to them.