Timothy is the Team Leader for the volunteer team. He told me that although he had only been working here for four months, he’d felt like he had been enjoying TCP for a very long time. He is a preacher in some of the churches in the Turi village and also a choir master in one of these churches. He heard about TCP and decided to volunteer to help the children in moulding, educating and helping out with running the site. He believes the project is really progressing well and he said his dream is to see the TCP concept spread over a wider range of areas. He has noticed children such as Mukohe really advancing both spiritually and intellectually and he really loves the feeling of each of them doing so. He really appreciates his job at T.C.P and mentioned that he gets on well with all the other staff and doesn’t really face any serious difficulties as leader of his very enthusiastic and helpful team.
Mr Kepha Wanjema
Mr Kepha Wanjema is one of the founding fathers of TCP. Before the Turi Children’s Project he and his wife Rose Wanjema felt a strong sense of responsibility for the children of the Turi community, who have hard and often traumatic lives. And so in 2010, along with the help of John Eames and Samuel Kihiu, the vision for a safe haven for the less fortunate young girls and boys was realised. So, using donations from the churches of his community and funds from St. Andrews School Turi (where John Eames is a teacher) in 2010 Mr Wanjema and his partners were able to convert an old colonial staff club into a place where the kids share a sense of community and freedom. He loves what he does and he says that it is all in the name of God to share His love. Now Mr Wanjema is 65 years of age and has a vision for a polytechnic to be developed on the site to teach the children basic life skills that they will be able to use in the future.
I have met a TCP volunteer called Charity. She was very kind and was pleased that we could interview her. She wanted to volunteer in TCP because she wants to help the kids by giving them food, looking after them and taking care of them. She was never involved in charity work before but she said that this project was just a ‘change of heart for me’. TCP benefits the children who, she said, might often not have anything to eat. In TCP they are provided with a meal. The children especially like to play games such as football, netball, Kati. ‘They love it here!’ Charity says. Charity stated that TCP is a great place if the children have any issues, they can easily go and tell her if anything is wrong; they aren’t afraid. The only thing that she says should be improved is a prayer room for the children and books and blackboards for the children to read and write on. Charity is a Christian who goes to church each week. She says that some of the children do not get to go to church because they do not have the right attire and they feel really embarrassed. That is why they like coming to TCP because it’s a loving community. In the future Charity said that she would like the kids to have a better future let them develop their talents. My meeting with Charity was great and I really enjoyed my time with her. I hope I have another chance to meet up with her but also with the children and to see again the smiles on their faces.
I also interviewed Martha who said that she goes to church and sees some of the kids but not all because some of the kids are embarrassed to go because of the state of their clothing. I found this quite sad because I believe that everyone should be able to go worship God and praise him for the goodness he has done on this earth. Martha is a cook in TCP and she also helps play games with the children and she really enjoys doing this work. TCP was built to help the kids and see them improving and plant a smile on their faces. I wanted to know if this goal was being achieved so I asked Martha if she personally thinks that the charity work TCP’s doing is helping the children or if it’s beneficial to them. She responded ‘The children have become much healthier ever since they came here. We give them deworming tablets and any medical help they might need, and although some are HIV positive they are becoming healthier. The children come to me for guidance which makes them quite happy when I give them advice.’
Peter is a young teacher in the local primary school where many of the children go to school. The school has nearly 1,800 pupils in buildings designed for around 1,000. Peter is employed by the parents as a ‘community teacher’ because the government does not pay for enough teachers. He says he wants to support TCP to help children who are struggling to get a decent meal each day and need support because of difficult home situations.
One of the TC volunteers that I talked to was Rose. Rose is one of the volunteers who decided to help with the children. She usually helpsaround by cooking and helping the children with the games. I asked her what exactly motivated her to volunteer for TCP. Her response was she had been living with some of the children that go to TCP for activities and meals. She also knew some who begged in the streets and she felt very sad for them. She wanted to volunteer to improve the living standards of the children and to make sure that every child got their basic human rights which are food, water, clothing and shelter. I asked her if she had volunteered in other projects or charities before TCP. She said that she had and it had been church and that she is a truly practising Christian. She helped the children in church by giving them food and playing with them whenever she got the time to.
Sarah is a trained social worker who joined TCP in April. She has worked in a project in Turkana funded by the Catholic Church. Her husband works at St Andrew’s school. As a social worker Sarah visits the children’s homes to find out their backgrounds and to see what problems the families face. She told me, ‘Almost all of the children have a home to go to but many live with single parents, and some are orphans living with grandparents or family members. However poor the home, the important thing is that they have somewhere to go.’ TCP is trying to support the poorest families as best they can. Sarah told me about a girl who lives with her grandmother as both of her parents have passed away. She is Class 6 but is HIV positive. Although she has been taking medicine for a while now, for some reason her uncle made her stop. Sarah will visit the uncle and explain the importance of the medicine and make sure the girl continues to take it. Sarah finds working with CP very rewarding and she feels things will be even better when the building is completed and more resources, such as dvds, can be available.
Sarah joined TCP on February 4th on the opening day. She was inspired to come and help because of her love for children and she feels she has the heart for this sort of volunteer work. She says she has great fun with the children to the point where she misses them when she is at home. Sarah used to live in Nakuru and one day a friend told her about TCP. She has been a lab technician, worked in community health and is a member of Red Cross.
Sarah says she gets along with everyone on site and enjoys working with her friend Martha. She wants to help the children to do their homework here when the building is finished and furnished as many do not have electricity at home to see to work.
She hopes that TCP can afford to buy more books and games for the children to enjoy and improve their reading.
Francis as well has also been working here for four months and found out about T.C.P through a local lady named Annet. He likes conducting activities with the kids such as craft but mainly does domestic work around the area. He also believes TCP will grow even further, “The children are far more jovial than when they first came and we can bring in even more”, Francis stated. His faith also plays a big role in his life and he attends church services every Sunday at the Africa Inland Church. He said his overall dream was to make kids happy.
Interview with Rahel
Rahel is a student teacher working at the prep school who started working voluntarily at TCP in February. She goes every Monday afternoon to do all sorts of art and craft activities with them.
She said she wanted to help children in the community and TCP was an organisation that encouraged people to get involved and get their hands dirty (literally!) and not just hand out money. Rahel said that even on days when she is tired and exhausted she leaves TCP calm, relaxed and very happy.
She would like to see more resources being made available for arts and crafts in order to keep the children involved in creative ways.
The work that the volunteers were doing there is great and it is developing quite fast. We were curious to find out how TCP had made the volunteers feel rewarded. Rose said that it has helped her a lot and she now understands the children more and she’s got to know them more and she’s very happy about that. I also wanted to know what the children enjoyed doing best in TCP. Martha told me they enjoy playing the games that St Andrews students bring them and they love playing football.
We asked the volunteers what in TCP was going well and they said they were glad to see the new building upcoming and they both think that it’s coming up at an amazing speed. They also said the children have built confidence massively because the children never used to sing but now they sing so loudly that at times the neighbours hear.
These interviews really changed our minds to look at life from a different perspective and realise that we are really advantaged. Personally, it made me realise that there are people out there that don’t live as good as a life as I do and that I should always consider the poor and help them at all times. I would encourage everyone else to do the same. TCP is a really well-thought-of project that has helped many children who really thought they had no future, but now they do.
We also talked to some of the children at the project and this is what they said.
My name is Muthoni. I am eight years old and I am in standard 3. I live with my grandmother as I do not have a father or mother. I like coming to TCP and come every day when it is my turn.
Hi. My name is Michael. I live with my Dad and I do not have a mother. I come here every day.
My name is Dondo. I don’t know my age. I do not go to school. I live in Turi with my Mum but do not have a Dad. I like it here.
Hi. My name is Martha. I am 12 years old and I am I standard 5. I live in Turi with my Papa. I love playing netball with my friends. I feel I have more friends here than I have at school and feel this is a place of love.