I've decided to dedicate my time, energy, skills and enthusiasm to a volunteer project in Kenya for a year, and I (as in the kids) would love your support!
So, I thought, Ive got a Psychology/Arts degree in my pocket and alot of experience working with children, where can I put my skills and knowledge to good use where its most likely to effect change? I have a lot of skills to share in various creative and active areas, and I believe strongly, (and this belief is founded in psychological theory and research) in the power to improve mental and physical health, educational outcomes, school attendance, and overall wellbeing through movement/sport/dance/music/art.
But where to start?
You have to start somewhere, and you have to start small. So, Ill be working with former street-kids and HIV-affected children on behalf of a Kenyan-German organisation called Children's Hope Home, founded and run by a Kenyan woman called Lucy, which supports two particular orphanages on the outskirts of Nairobi. (More information specifically about the organisation at www.childrens-hope-home-org)
There's got quite a lot of flexibility as to the kind of work I am doing in a practical sense. On the one hand, my role is also quite simply to be there for the kids as an ordinary human being, a reliable support figure, a carer/teacher role, as well as helping with all the typical everyday tasks that support them. But I do have a lot of great ideas about ways to use dance/acrobatics/circus/drama/music/visual art to get children engaged and involved, and I like to find ways to be able to use my psychology background to support them in a 'therapeutic' sense, through games and play, to improving general psychological/social well-being and educational outcomes too.
I think its very important that it's for a whole year. I am very critical of temporary "voluntourism", and based on my psych knowledge I know how ineffective if not damaging it is for children to form attachments with various caregivers who continuously "abandon" them when after a few weeks they leave to continue their travels.
Why support me?
As the orphan's home itself is supporting me during my stay here - food, transport, accommodation, health insurance, etc - I need to support them by helping to collect donations. So please support them, and also my work here! This is a great way to do something good by giving financially (maybe you can't give a whole year of your time, but you can chip in a few dollars to make my work have more of an effect, or even be possible).
Your donations will be going entirely towards supporting the children (as in no administration costs), by supporting my work there (in helping the organisation to cover the cost of my stay) or directly (covering food, health-care and school-related costs relating to the children).
Much love and thanks in advance for all your support.