One would be shocked that when I asked a group of over 50 kids from ages 4 – 16 what the word “Nation” meant; it was easier to connect my answer to a local Kenyan newspaper in circulation and a secular music group called, The Swahili Nation than to some sovereign state. My effort to explain the word “International” almost hit a dead end as none could relate (nation) to (country). My deduction – enhancing a reading culture must be at the core of developing this community.
It’s however not just the children alone, expressing oneself in basic English remains a challenge for an average youth in this densely populated neighborhood in the eastlands part of Nairobi City known to many youth as H-Town and bordering Mathare Valley, Korogocho and ironically Muthaiga where almost 85% of all the high commission residences and plush homes hidden under a canopy of green bushes are located – a tale of two residences, I would say. Broken English, Sheng and corrupted jargon rule communication here and children from a tender age get more accustomed to this pattern.
The Slumcode Centre circumnavigates through this by insisting on English as a means of communication and the result is so far impressive as more and more users can express themselves thus.
With an understanding of the International Youth Day – our objective of the day had to capture the day’s mood. Parent’s were expected to walk in and identify with where their children spend much time, know the Mentors, familiarize with the Library and see their children in action on drama, dance, spoken and shared responsibility on how The Slumcode Centre is of help to them.
Children need our support, personal attention and opportunities to prove they are capable of dreaming beyond their tiny frames. The theme of the global celebration was, “partnering with youth…..” All the young people who spent more than 6 hrs around the Resource Centre could have passed the day roaming the overcrowded neighborhood with congested high rise flats, blaring music from local beer clubs, roadside traders in the hustle and bustle of daily routine, but instead they all took spots at the now famous rooftop and mentors, Gabriel Wanyaga, Milka Mueni, Ann Mbugua, Dennis Poeta, Paul Abwamba, Janice Morwe, Esther Musingo, Eric Fred and Boniface Mise did what they do best to become like children and share in their fun.
Modeling and Dancing kept the rooftop rumbling, constant screams and claps filling the space as the kids cheered best performers and the top few were awarded. Talent galore as we took a chance to identify each for further training and development. The Slumcode Group aims to nurture talent, build strong foundations and give young people a chance to realize their full potential as they develop character and career choices for future.
One outstanding feature for the day was to witness young people take the mantle in event management and coordination and leadership was key to the day’s success and they sure proved a point – they have a platform to show their ability if given a chance and space. The Slumcode Group will endeavor to give this chance and opportunity for young people in Leadership. After the International Youth Day, Slumfest Six will be another key event that young Kenyan Leaders will see become a huge success as we connect communities to possibilities.
If you have space for youth to gain experience on the job? Call us today.