AMREF and Fundraising in Africa

Nefeli Oikonomidou Foka talks about her campaign to raise money for helping street children in Kenya and the work her selected charity performs.

Nowadays we take many things for granted: from basic human rights such as access to shelter, food and clothing, to the fundamental needs for education, healthcare and a warm hug from our loved ones. Whilst it could appear that these are equally available to all, they are not. Many are privileged to be constantly enjoying these provisions, yet more than an equal number of humans in this world live on less than £2 a day; these people clearly do not have access to the same opportunities. 

This is the reason why on February 7 of 2017, I launched my fundraising page “Help Street Children in Kenya”. The aim of my page was to raise money towards counselling services for the street children in the Dagoretti rehabilitation centre in Kenya. With every £20, an additional counselling session is offered to the children. The centre is called “Child in Need” and is operated by AMREF Health Africa. “Child in Need” focuses on children from the Dagoretti slum, aged from 5 to 20 years old, who have ended up without a place to call home. The majority of the children have come from abusive domestic environments that forced them to leave their families, while others have been outright abandoned by their parents. In other cases, the children’s parents have passed away due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, children growing up in such hostile, deprived conditions often turn to drugs and prostitution in order to make a living.

Thus, the Dagoretti rehabilitation centre provides these children with the opportunity to either return to school and receive education, or develop certain skills that would help them to realize their potential and earn money (e.g. knitting, music, drama etc.) to support themselves. During my time there as a volunteer, I witnessed first-hand the centre’s enormous contribution to the Dagoretti society. Nevertheless, I found that professional counselling, which is essential for the provision of mental health support, was missing. More often than not, children that experience mental health problems tend to return to the streets and engage in illegal activities. The aim of my campaign has been to provide regular therapy and counselling sessions to these children, in the hopes of increasing their chances for a safe and happy life.

Apart from their incredible work with the “Child in Need” project, AMREF Health Africa, the largest Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Africa, has been operating a series of projects since the 1950s. Its promise is to improve the health system for African citizens and empower communities all over the affected areas. 

Being a volunteer at the centre was an eye-opening experience. I participated in a series of seminars for personal hygiene and sexual education and taught Mathematics, Physics and English. I participated in honest and constructive discussions with the children that urged me towards fundraising for vital counselling sessions.  All these aspects of my volunteering work fostered my connection with the children and augmented my understanding and sense of responsibility, and left me with a need to find alternative methods to support these children: let’s see more happy faces in this world!

For more information concerning my fundraising page, click here.

And for more information concerning the “Child in Need” centre visit, click here.