Our work in Kenya
Unbound program unites Kenyans
Kenya is a diverse nation with more than 40 ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language and culture. The Unbound program in Kenya strives to work across these groups and be a unifying force among various communities.
Unbound projects in Nairobi, Meru and Kisumu help children access better educational opportunities, empower mothers of sponsored children to develop income-generating projects, and inspire and direct youth to make positive choices in their lives.
Decision-making is in the hands of mothers, who choose benefits most important to their families’ needs. These benefits can include help with tuition fees and other school costs, nutrition, health and dental care, livelihood programs, and birthday and Christmas celebrations.
Mothers groups unite and empower
The Unbound program in Kenya works with small groups of mothers of sponsored children to provide personalized benefits and attention. Mothers of sponsored children form groups that give members mutual support and access to small loans.
The ethnically and politically diverse groups have fostered a sense of unity and ownership. Women are empowered to use their industriousness and ingenuity to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
Millicent is a 28-year-old mother of three children, two of whom are sponsored through Unbound. She borrowed money from her Unbound mothers group to open a fish-selling business. Income from the business helps support her family.
Unbound also enabled Millicent and other mothers of sponsored children in Kenya to obtain birth certificates for their children. Many Kenyan children don’t have birth certificates because they were born at home.
Though it was a lengthy and frustrating process, the project encouraged Millicent to persist until she succeeded in obtaining the certificates. Her children now have this important validation of public identity. The birth certificates will allow Millicent’s children to be registered when they take school exams.
Families value education
Kenyans place a high value on education, but quality schooling is expensive. Educational expenses make up the largest portion of Hope for a Family benefits for most sponsored children in Kenya.
Although primary education is free, parents must pay for related costs, such as books and uniforms, which can require a substantial portion of the household income. A child can be turned away from school for not having the required uniform.
After becoming sponsored, Rachel’s guardian saved money from Rachel’s child account to purchase two school uniforms. Before sponsorship, the 13-year-old had been sent from school for not having the proper uniform.
“This affected me so much, I missed out on lessons,” she said.
Now, Rachel feels happy and confident going to school.
Program fosters potential of youth
Unbound-Kenya created a youth program to address the social and emotional needs of sponsored youth, many of whom have issues related to self-esteem because they come from humble backgrounds. This lack of self-esteem has hindered their academic and social success.
The Unbound staff in Kenya encourages young people to avoid bad influences and concentrate on their studies. Youth group meetings are forums where young people can listen to and support one another. The groups perform community service, such as helping the aging and improving the environment. Recreational activities reinforce bonds of friendship.