Dear MacKenzie Scott,
We felt compelled to contact you as your piece – Seeding by Ceding – caught our eye and deeply resonated with us, as does your bold vision for philanthropy.
Rafiki Mwema is always looking out for the right people to collaborate with. And we believe your position that power is built from within communities, perfectly aligns with our reason for being.
Breaking the cycle – about Rafiki Mwema
Our charity, Rafiki Mwema, meaning ‘loyal friend’ in Swahili, is based in Nakuru, Kenya. We are committed to caring for children from all over Kenya who are the victims of sexual violence. To do this we have built therapeutic safe houses on a secure 14-acre property known as ‘Doyle Farm’. This is home to 70 children from as young as 18 months old up to 18 years old.
|Through our Outreach Program, we continue to check on another 130 children who have returned home to their communities to ensure they are safe. While they’re with us, we work to reboot the safety and love the kids feel so they can grow up to be balanced and loving adults. By supporting, protecting and educating these vulnerable children we seek to set them up as ‘agents of change’ who will ‘go on to support and empower others’ in their communities. To us, that’s the key to breaking the cycle of abuse. |
In the short time Rafiki Mwema has been operating, the organisation has achieved many life-changing results.
➜ We have grown from a rented house with 22 girls, to four therapeutic houses that are home to 70 children (two girls houses and two boys houses). Through our Outreach Program, we also provide continued care for 130 children who have returned to a safe family member in their community;
➜ Two video links have been installed in local courts in Kenya which is massive because a) they are the first in Kenya EVER!, and b) it protects our children from having to sit meters away from their perpetrators during hearings;
➜ Rafiki Mwema has acquired a farm for our growing family. Here our staff and children grow their own crops which allows us to feed all the houses, sell the excess at the market and take crops to the outreach families who live in extreme poverty;
➜ We’ve built “Queens Castle” – the girls’ house – and “Kings Castle” – the boys’ house;
➜ Rafiki Jasiri School has been built. This is a school on our farm for the smallest girls who are in too much danger to leave our farm due to current court proceedings;
➜ We have launched two new life changing programs which extend the work we do into the local community. The first is called Rafiki Social (Break the cycle. Build the future) – this is a program to help the children who leave us or graduate to move into adulthood and back into the communities where they will build their futures. The second is our Rafiki Feeding Program where we currently provide children on the street one meal each day and valuable human connection through games of football and sharing food. This program also allows us time to monitor their health / injuries and provides the children with time to safely rest away from danger.
|Please let me know if you might be interested in supporting us in our mission by raising awareness of Rafiki Mwema and the work we do. We’d love you to do this by sharing our story with your readers on ‘Medium’ and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further. |
Together, we can end the cycle of abuse, bring about systemic cultural change to remove the stigma of sexual violence and give children the chance to live as children should.
Founder of Rafiki Mwema
How we began
A simple, rented house in Nakuru, Kenya, was where it all began. In 2011, the doors first opened for girls who were victims of sexual violence and needed a safe, caring home to live while their case went through the courts. We called it Rafiki Mwema, which means “loyal friend” in Swahili. Within one week, we were caring for 22 little girls, and we’ve been full ever since – even after opening another three homes! The need in Kenya is great.
Today, Rafiki Mwema therapeutically parents 70 children in four homes on the safety of a secure property (pictured above). We support 130 children who have left our care and returned to a caring home in their community. Our mission is to heal each child from their trauma with attachment, love and empathy.
We create brighter futures
Rafiki Mwema gives young people like Abe and Elizabeth a life that was once unimaginable. Abe escaped life on the street, gained an education and is on his way to realising his dream of attending university. After a horrific start to life, Elizabeth now has a forever home with us, so that she can receive the love and around-the-clock care she needs. There are, and will continue to be, many more stories to share of children who’ve gained the courage to hope for and achieve a better, brighter future
We are so much more than a safe home
We don’t just provide a safe, caring home, as vital as that is. It takes a lot to provide our expert level of care and includes everything from regular training for our amazing key workers to therapy for our precious children living on Doyle Farm. It includes providing our outreach team with vehicles to visit our girls who have returned home, no matter how remote their village is. It includes medical treatment, boarding school fees and uniforms, three meals a day for around 100 people (that’s 2,100 meals a week!) and apprenticeships. We could go on, but we think you get the picture!
Looking back over the last ten years, it’s incredible to see what we’ve achieved. We built Jasiri Rafiki School so that our younger girls can learn in safety. The Rafiki Social program provides vocational training and work experience for our children who’ve turned 18 and are ready to move back into the community to build their futures. Our Feeding Program provides a daily meal for around 80 children who live on the streets of Nakuru, and meets their self-care and medical needs.
We bring about systemic cultural change
We work with families, communities, schools, villages and government officials to break the cycle of abuse. In a first for Kenya, we were instrumental in introducing video links to courtrooms, allowing children to testify from a safe space, far from their attacker. It’s our mission to change hearts and minds, and bring about systemic cultural change to remove the stigma of sexual violence that tragically is far too common in Kenya.
It can be overwhelming to hear the stories of our children – and we thank you for listening. We hope that you will decide that NO CHILD should ever have to fall asleep with an empty stomach, have no-one to turn to for comfort, exist in fear and shame or believe that they count for nothing in this world. Please help us change stories and create brighter futures.