World Youth Alliance Africa, in its quest to promote dignity and solidarity initiated ‘dignity projects‘. The projects are meant to give our trained members and interns an opportunity to do a project that according to them reflects their understanding of human dignity.Ngala Blaise, An intern from Cameroon chose teaching french,sports and life skills at St. Martin School in Kibera slums of Nairobi as his dignity project. Here is his story.
One of the most significant experiences I had with the World Youth Alliance during my internship is when I visited St. Martin School in the heart of the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. The school is located in the heart of the slum amidst crowded homes and more surprising, children are found playing around foul rivers of human waste and trash flow unaware of the high risk of contracting a waterborne disease.
Life in the slum is very difficult; poverty erodes the family structure, children are left at the mercy of gangs which can introduce them into crime, drugs and prostitution at any stage of their growth.
I said to myself what can I do to help? I could organize a seminar or forum to talk about dignity, but that could have ended at that, what these kids needed was a practical affirmation of their dignity of some sort.
The impression I had on the first day was that St. Martin school was some kind of paradise for these kids and acted as a shield from the negativities in their surroundings. The children enjoy playing but did not have anyone to take them out for games and sports. The community play ground is located one Kilometre away from their school and given the commitment of their teachers in the classroom, at the end of the day no one will have enough energy to take kids out for games and sports through such a distance.
I then told myself I need to give back to the community what it has given me. This is how “fighting for children’s dignity in the slum” project came about; it consists in volunteering two days per week to take the children out for games, French lessons and life skills.
Since then it’s been weeks of memorable experiences in terms of love, friendship, generosity, and simplicity. Some of them are very talented in football,athletics and art and may never excel in these just because we the society has in one way or the other been selfish.
This project has made me to realize that each and everyone one of us can change the world, we have the potential to change our societies .It may not be something very big but just giving a little time to the people in need around us could make a very big difference.
It’s been great working with Lydia Talia, fellow WYA intern from Kenya who is also teaching some of the games she played as a kid, is just wonderful .From the love and appreciation we receive from the kids and their teachers, we believe that we are contributing to their integral development and they have the chance to grow up as other children in the world and why not dream to be world sports men and women.