Visiting Edmund Rice Mission in Kenya
In February, Fiona and Naidi along with ERD Board Member Dee McMahon had the opportunity to visit the partner projects in Kenya. They were warmly hosted by the East African Area Governors in the South C community in Nairobi. The first weekend there, they attended an Edmund Rice Ministries East Africa (ERMEA) meeting with ERFA staff from Australia who were also visiting Kenya. With representatives from all development projects in the East Africa area, the interactive sessions were very productive. There were updates from the projects and discussions on how to better collaborate and promote the great work being done within the projects.
Following this, the ERD team visited Edmund Rice Centre Nairobi (ERCN). In the last three years, the Mary Rice Centre, the Edmund Rice Advocacy Network, and the Edmund Rice Camps have come together to form ERCN. They have made impressive progress setting up a strong team with comprehensive policies and procedures. There are currently 76 children with disabilities attending the centre. They are being taught language and numbers; activities of daily living; and pre-vocation and vocational skills. The centre’s strong advocacy department recently made an oral submission to the UN on the Rights of the Disabled Child in Kenya.
The ERD team then visited the Edmund Rice Catholic Education Centre (ERCEC). They were shown the hairdressing and tailoring projects aimed at providing sustainable livelihoods to their beneficiaries. ERCEC also provides computer classes to ensure that their beneficiaries can keep up with developments in modern technology. The children attending the school put on wonderful performances showcasing Kenyan culture.
Naidi then traveled to Eldoret to visit the Edmund Rice Eldoret Empowerment Project (EREEP) and the Education for Life (EFL) project. On her first day there, she went to the Child Rights Clubs jointly run by EREEP and EFL. The beneficiaries told her how the projects had empowered them to know their rights and make good life decisions. The teachers gave powerful examples of the success of the project including two girls being rescued from early childhood marriage, children being protected from abusive situations and the provision of sanitary products to ensure girls aren’t missing school while menstruating. Naidi was also lucky enough to see the award-winning EFL choir that uses the power of song to de-stigmatise HIV. On her final day there, she met with the Savings and Internal Lending Clubs and learned how the beneficiaries have used these communities to become self-reliant.
Finally, Naidi and Dee carried out a monitoring visit in the Ruben Centre Maternity Clinic. They met with staff and beneficiaries, discussed the successes of the project and recommended ways to further improve project implementation. During their time there, the importance of the centre was illustrated by the safe delivery of triplets to a surprised mother. All three babies and mum are safe thanks to the skilled midwives in the clinic.