The Collective for Orphan Care and Education
In association with our local partners, we will build a facility on our land to serve as a community center. The Center for Hope will serve the needs of vulnerable populations in the community. Women and children stand at highest risk for poverty and violence and we have designed our services to cater to their needs. Center for Hope will provide educational programs for all ages on topics such as HIV/AIDS prevention, violence prevention, and vocational topics. In addition, the Center will offer counseling to victims of violence, supplementary meals and emergency shelter. Once constructed, the facility will serve as the base for our programs and will also provide a safe and convenient space to be used by the community for social and cultural purposes. We hope the Center for Hope will serve as a catalyst and model for other facilities throughout Kenya. Our strategy for creating change in the lives of community members is focused around three areas of intervention: education, health and well-being.
COCE will work with teachers at local primary schools to identify the most vulnerable youth in order to enroll them in an after school program. The program, which will start immediately at the end of the school day, will engage local youth who have graduated high school and/or college as mentors in a tutoring program. Children enrolled in the after school program will also benefit from educational workshops, reliable supervision, and access to the Center's library. Enrolled youth will also participate in academic service learning projects in order to gain practical skills while cultivating a habit of service. COCE will strive to obtain financial and technical support in order to improve the infrastructure of local primary schools.
Included in Center for Hope will be a community library, accessible for all members of the community and incorporating multi-media sources. Center for Hope will be located near the Bukhulungu Primary School, making it readily accessible for all. Once the library is completed, we have identified an organization to ship books to fill the library with. We are currently looking for retired community members who will be trained to maintain the library.
COCE will work to improve the nutrition and dietary health of local youth by providing a supplemental lunch program for local primary school students whose parents are unable to provide them with a nutritious lunch. Due to the proximity of our land to the local primary school, youth will be able to walk to our facility, enjoy their lunch, then head back to school for instruction. Nutritional snacks will also be offered during the after school program. COCE will work with local youth in order to improve their health literacy. Youth will receive information on HIV prevention, sex education and healthy relationships. Our vision for the future includes training our youth as Peer Educators in order to expand the community's access to valuable education.
In order to develop their social support and enhance their well-being, it is important that youth have time to relax and enjoy themselves. This is especially essential in communities experiencing stressors, such as poverty and disease. Thus, COCE will host weekly recreational activities, such as soccer games and movie nights. We will also provide youth with the opportunity to engage in student clubs, such as drama, debate and science clubs. Finally, we will support teenage mothers in returning to school and graduating by offering support groups for these young women in order to help them overcome the stigma that is so often a barrier to their completion of their education.