13-year-old Melody has been living with her grandmother, Beatrice, in Kangoro village in the Embu District of Kenya since she was a baby. Earlier this year, we met them both and they told us their stories.
When she was growing up, Melody became anxious about not knowing her parents but she did not know how to talk about her feelings. When her grandfather, Gitonga, had an accident and could no longer work, she worried further because Beatrice struggled to provide for the family.
When children have experienced trauma from an early age and are questioning their sense of identity and belonging, they can become isolated and lonely very quickly. Because Kangoro is in an area where drug and substance abuse is common and there is also a lack of good education, this means that children like Melody are even more vulnerable.
That’s why, through our Kids’ Club Programme, we are equipping community volunteers in Kangoro with the skills to provide counselling and emotional support for vulnerable children like Melody. Using drama, dance and other activities at the club, they are encouraged to open up, share their problems, and build their confidence.
And we are also working with parents and guardians like Beatrice through our Village Investors Programme (VIP), which establishes savings and loans groups in communities and provides training in financial and entrepreneurial skills. With access to self-generated loan capital, VIP members are able to start and grow their own businesses, helping them to earn a more sustainable income.
Today Melody is a proud leader in her community, and is helping other children to open up about their problems! She knows where she is, where she is going, and where she wants to end up. And Beatrice is running her own dairy and tea businesses, and is able to save money every month through the VIP which helps her to provide for Melody’s future.
Our aim at WeSeeHope is to ensure vulnerable children like Melody have the skills to change their own futures. And just as we have with Beatrice, we work with their families and communities to make sure they are supported along the way.