Kenya, Summer 2012
I was challenged and humbled by my experience at St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organization. Located in Kibera, Kenya, St. Vincent’s serves children and their families from the largest slum in East Africa. St. Vincent’s is unique in that it uses early education as a platform to support the entire family unit and is intrinsically involved in the lives of the families and community they serve.
I gained an incredible understanding of how just how interconnected social problems are. Discussions of education quickly touched on housing, food, jobs, and health care. The strength of St. Vincent’s is that they understand that these areas cannot be addressed alone. I had the opportunity to analyze the economic, social, and political aspects that impact social change.
My experiences at St. Vincent’s were diverse and tailored to my interests and strengths. I assisted in capacity building and organizational structure. I introduced psychosocial concepts and skills to the staff and volunteers, as well as lead health and financial literacy courses for children in the Rescue Center. The breadth and diversity of activities during this fellowship is what made this such as incredible experience. Lucy Kayiwa, St. Vincent’s Coordinator, always says that once you visit, you are family. I am proud to consider myself part of the St. Vincent’s family.
(Lisa is pictured playing Scrabble with some of the young people from the Rescue Center.)