Episode 4 – The Australian Story

On to the 4th episode and going back to the start really, to where it all started.. and yes, it involved a few margaritas! 🍸 🍸 🍸 We hope you enjoy this episode of the …

On to the 4th episode and going back to the start really, to where it all started.. and yes, it involved a few margaritas! 🍸 🍸 🍸

Our official first board meeting.. on Sarah’s birthday in her back yard with her besties!

We hope you enjoy this episode of the podcast where we open up and explain how it all started. You will learn that, if we can do it, you can do it!

All it takes is passion, supportive friends and to ALWAYS be willing listen and learn. Transparency is key and governance!

A wonderful start for Rafiki Mwema Australia was when the MtWarning Rotary Club came on as our sponsors and helped us write our tax reciepts prior to us being approved for DGR status in Australia. Pictured here is Sarah and Jan from the Rotary Club
The faces behind the Australian Rafiki Mwema team.

Thank you to our beautiful ambassador, Stella Mwangi, for allowing us to use her incredible song, Makele on our Podcast. She continues to be an inspiration to our children and we can’t wait for her to come back and visit us at Doyle Farm.

We hope that you enjoy The Rafiki Way. Please subscribe and leave a review so others might sign up and learn about the work we do also.


(We have not had time to check through this to ensure accuracy. please understand there might be some errors)

Speaker A: Welcome to episode four of the rafiki Way.

Speaker A: I’m your host, Karly Nimmo, and today we’re going to do things a little bit differently.

Speaker A: We are going to pull back the curtain on the Australian arm of rafiki mumma and you are going to meet some of the faces and voices behind the charity here in Australia.

Speaker A: Up you’ll meet carrie boyco, who is the current chair of the board at rafiki.

Speaker A: You’ll also meet some of the original crew who started this charity, sitting in sarah’s backyard (pictured above!) with some of them had babies on their laps and toddlers crawling around with margaritas in hand.

Speaker A: Obviously, it was the adults who had the margaritas in their hands and not the toddlers.

Speaker A: And we’re going to explore the ways in which the charity has evolved over time, where it started and where they’re heading in the future.

Speaker A: So, in this interview, you’re going to hear me chatting with Sarah rosborg, the founder of rafi, kim wemmer, Claire harding and jandy Mccandlessly’s.

Speaker A: Welcome, ladies.

Speaker A: How did it look in the beginning?

Speaker A: Paint me a picture.

Speaker B: I don’t think we realized it at the time.

Speaker B: It was a hot mess.

Speaker B: We thought we were doing great.

Speaker C: Exactly.

Speaker B: We thought we were doing fantastic.

Speaker B: And I think that that came from the fact that Sarah said she needed us to do this and to be part of it and to help her get it off the ground.

Speaker B: And we were just all so committed that all the other business stuff, all of the governance s*** that we should have been focusing on, was a bit in our peripheral, but certainly not top of the agenda.

Speaker B: It was about helping Sarah get money in and keep the doors open.

Speaker B: Quite literally, in retrospect, it was a hot mess.

Speaker B: It could have been the Margaritas that contributed to that.

Speaker B: There were quite a few of those flying around at the time and I’m pretty sure that’s how she coerced us to be a part of the board and help her get the Australian business off the ground.

Speaker C: You have to say that I don’t think rafiki would have succeeded or started without those margaritas.

Speaker C: So it saved us, it helped us continue every time things were getting tough and we’ve never done anything wrong.

Speaker C: And we’ve learnt as we’ve gone.

Speaker C: I think we did a really great job.

Speaker C: We just maybe weren’t always professional.

Speaker C: We didn’t sit in the boardroom, we would sit in my front yard with our kids on our lap and do our first board meeting that way.

Speaker D: Yeah, nothing wrong with that.

Speaker D: I think we started as a group of mates that wanted to do the right thing and none of us had really been on a board before, except for you, I think, Sarah.

Speaker D: How hard can it be?

Speaker D: Hey?

Speaker D: So, yeah, we all agreed to do it and keep those girls in their safe house.

Speaker D: Then we learn as we went along.

Speaker D: We’re still learning.

Speaker C: Yeah, all the time.

Speaker C: And that’s right.

Speaker C: How hard could it be?

Speaker C: You just follow the rules from the website that they give you and we were just kind of filling the roles of the places as we went along.

Speaker C: But there is so much to learn and I always remember over the years, because jen has been with me from the beginning, before any of this and always knew, I think, Jenny, you always knew more about governance than most of us because of your job.

Speaker C: And you were always explaining to us the importance of governance and I didn’t know what that word even meant.

Speaker C: For a little while there, you would explain to us the importance of all that’s required to make a charity run, the importance of governance.

Speaker C: And I was always so wrapped up in the money and the children’s side of it.

Speaker C: I didn’t understand why all this red tape and why we had to do all of these things.

Speaker C: But as the years have gone on and I’ve learned more and more, I see why it is so important.

Speaker C: I don’t think it’s possible to know all of that when you’re starting a charity.

Speaker C: It’s impossible.

Speaker C: And you learn from experience.

Speaker B: Absolutely not.

Speaker B: And you know what?

Speaker B: If you hadn’t known what was required as far as we’ve taken governance, we’d.

Speaker D: Never have done it.

Speaker B: It might not have gotten off the ground.

Speaker B: And when I say hot mess, I certainly don’t mean that in a way that says it didn’t work.

Speaker B: Look at what it is now.

Speaker B: It obviously worked, there’s proof in the pudding and it certainly was a learning curve for those first five years.

Speaker B: It will take.

Speaker B: The thing that has remained the same the whole time has been the commitment.

Speaker B: And I think that is again evident in where the organization has gotten now from literally a few drinks in sarah’s backyard to what it is today and a rental property that Sarah had our support that predominantly pulled all of that together, the funds together, herself off her own back and working ridiculous hours, all that.

Speaker B: But it was tricky and it’s probably been a pretty bumpy road to get to where the organization is now.

Speaker B: But I don’t know that other brown roots organizations start differently.

Speaker B: And like I said, had you known the government and the red tape involved and what was needed to sort of get to where it is now, it might have been a bit of a deterrent, but instead that the passion and the commitment of what bird the organization to start with.

Speaker B: And the rest of it’s just been picked up as it’s gone along and it’s remained a registered organization.

Speaker B: There’s never been any impact from the way that we started things and how it got to where it is.

Speaker B: So it was all very much above board, it was just messy and that none of us really knew what we’re in for.

Speaker B: And we dove in headburst and initially we dove in to support Sarah and the organization.

Speaker B: Obviously we knew what it was doing, but the more you got to know and the more you heard and you were so connected to it, it’s something, as you know, carly, because you’ve been involved in watching sarah’s adventure through rafiki this whole time, it’s something that you can’t walk away from.

Speaker A: So, yeah.

Speaker A: And so what’s changed since those early days?

Speaker C: Governance.

Speaker C: A whole lot more governance.

Speaker C: All of us have learnt a whole lot more.

Speaker C: I believe what hasn’t changed is the core members, which is really exciting to me, which is Claire, jandy and nikki.

Speaker C: We started it and that’s really exciting.

Speaker C: That hasn’t changed.

Speaker C: And then there’s been other people that have come along the way, victoria and collin.

Speaker C: Those people have always stuck around, which is really exciting.

Speaker C: But the governance and learning so, so much along the way, you can’t help but learn the patience of everyone.

Speaker C: We’re slightly more professional, but we never.

Speaker B: Take ourselves too seriously, which I think.

Speaker C: Is very and I never will, ever, ever.

Speaker C: If anyone knows me, they know that.

Speaker C: And I’ve learned to accept that.

Speaker D: I think we’ve done really well in recruiting what is now a really solid board of accidentally all females.

Speaker D: And that’s not a deliberate thing, but they are all females and some of them are well, all of them are incredible.

Speaker D: They’ve got amazing experience, amazing brains, and I think we’ve learnt a lot from recruiting the people that know what they’re doing.

Speaker D: So it’s great, obviously it’s still great to have the core jandy, Claire, nicky on the board.

Speaker D: And because we’ve got all that history, we know Sarah, we know rafiki, we know some of the children.

Speaker D: We were there at the beginning, but we didn’t have that missing there was that missing element, which I think we’ve now plugged really well.

Speaker B: I think so much has changed.

Speaker B: I think to some extent we’ve all changed and I think being part of this journey has certainly changed me.

Speaker B: And having the opportunity to actually go to Kenya with Sarah definitely had an impact in the trek and all the other things.

Speaker B: But it went from being a rental house that was about to shut the doors to a house 15 girls to a f****** big, massive block of land that does so much more than just the therapy and saving these girls from the high risk of living out in the community and living with their family if the perpetrator is nearby.

Speaker B: Now, it is a house that young girls have their own safe home on this block of land, with even another smaller house to transition into the big family.

Speaker B: The big girls have a house.

Speaker B: One of the girls who has significant cognitive issues, she has her own property on the site so that she can have the kind of care she needs.

Speaker B: Then there’s the boys, then there’s 40 programs, a farm, a school, rafiki social, and that is significant growth in that period of time.

Speaker B: So a lot has changed.

Speaker B: It’s happened really quickly, I think, Sarah, you’re right.

Speaker B: You’re never going to take yourself too seriously.

Speaker B: And I think if you did, this is already such a serious business, what you do, and to take all that trauma and be supporting that, you have to have something outside of that we have to split off and you’re not serious about stuff.

Speaker B: So that’s a coping mechanism.

Speaker C: Realize that because the more stressed I get, the more of a smartass I turn into.

Speaker C: I’ve just realized that as well.

Speaker D: We could have told you that a long time ago.

Speaker C: Why didn’t you?

Speaker C: I get off every meeting going, I wish I just carry on like that.

Speaker C: But now I know why.

Speaker D: To be able to communicate it to other people, you have to be able to dampen it down a little bit because otherwise you’re going to scare the living daylights out of people.

Speaker D: And to get the message across, I think we have to be very kind of matter of fact about something and it’s kind of putting those walls up to protect us, protect other people, get the message across.

Speaker B: I think, as much as the organizations and the people that work with it have changed.

Speaker B: Obviously, there’s a bit of an army now where it was our small little troop previously, and it has a corporate element now, which you have to have when you’re trying to raise as much money as the organization raises and does the serious business on the ground in Kenya.

Speaker B: But one thing that hasn’t changed is how Sarah is about it, I think.

Speaker B: And just recently we’re at an event, the first one since clover closed down.

Speaker B: And after all the time Sarah has spoken at events and talked about the organization, the work they do and what happens on the ground in Kenya, that hasn’t changed.

Speaker B: It’s not just raw in that she’s just telling the truth.

Speaker B: She’s not sugar coat in anything for anyone, but it’s raw in that you see how much it has actually, Sarah, she kind of embodies it now.

Speaker B: And I think that seeing her recently, after so many years of doing this and having a break during COVID seeing her stand up and talk about rifiki and just passion just falls out of it.

Speaker B: She doesn’t have a way to stop it.

Speaker B: I don’t know.

Speaker B: There’s just something about that that is very different to what you see when you see another CEO from another organization talk.

Speaker B: So as much as things have changed and risk growth comes a whole lot of other red tape hystericals and governance and reporting and all sorts of s***.

Speaker B: What has stayed the same has been she’s like the soul of it and it just comes out.

Speaker B: And I think it was a really good reminder recently.

Speaker B: And I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from the board for a little while while I try and study and work full time and stuff.

Speaker B: But after that event, I was just so excited about finishing uni this year in a few weeks and hoping to be able to have some capacity to be part of that again because it’s just so raw and real and you just know it means something.

Speaker C: Well, and you’ve been to Kenya Gandhi, so you’ve been my mate forever, but you have followed all of my charity work, which is about 17 years now.

Speaker C: So you’ve heard me talk about Kenya forever.

Speaker C: Forever.

Speaker C: And I’m sure you get sick of it because it’s all I talk about, all the visa or Jenny.

Speaker C: I mean, there’s three subjects in my life.

Speaker C: What was it like for you when you went to Kenya?

Speaker C: Was it different to what I had told you about all luigi’s?

Speaker C: It’s hard to really explain it, isn’t it?

Speaker C: But how did you go?

Speaker B: Actually, when we got to the farm, I was expecting to be I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way.

Speaker B: I was expecting to be heartbroken and to really see the trauma and to really experience some of the emotional stories that I’ve seen Sarah stand up in front of crowds and share.

Speaker B: And even when she just reached out to clara, me and nikki and the other close network, you just feel it because of how she was so open and honest about what’s happening.

Speaker B: But it was just f****** incredible.

Speaker B: Like, so many smiles, everyone was just so kind to one another, happy, worked together.

Speaker B: I can’t explain it.

Speaker B: It was just completely different to how I expected.

Speaker B: So inspirational.

Speaker B: I hate that word and I know Sarah hates it even more than I do.

Speaker B: And it wasn’t just like going, oh, thank you.

Speaker B: It was just inspirational.

Speaker B: That knowing all the trauma behind it, I didn’t expect it to be that happy and happy.

Speaker C: Exactly.

Speaker B: And that’s functional.

Speaker B: So many trauma brains living in one vicinity.

Speaker B: I’m thinking, this is going to be a f****** hot mess.

Speaker B: I live with three, three teenagers when I went over there, and that was enough.

Speaker B: But this was completely different experience, the commitment to school, loving school, it was just phenomenal.

Speaker B: Going out to the streets and visiting some of the kids that Sarah had worked with in Outrage, with another story that that was a very different feeling and experience.

Speaker B: Yeah, but I wasn’t expecting what I encountered and it was just incredible.

Speaker C: It’s kind of how constance put it as well.

Speaker C: When we spoke to her, she was saying she has traveled around the world and been everywhere.

Speaker C: But when she went to the farm, it was a very different feeling to what she was expecting it to be.

Speaker B: You don’t want to leave.

Speaker B: You really don’t want to leave.

Speaker B: I remember when Sarah and I were our way to the airport and coming home, we were like, okay, so when lovis is ten and she can come and look, let’s go and live in kenya.

Speaker B: We’ll live there six months.

Speaker B: We’ll come home, work for six months, put money in the bank, we’ll go back and we’re dead serious.

Speaker B: And I was dead serious.

Speaker B: And it still might even be on my card.

Speaker B: But you just got to think about you want to you really want to be part of it.

Speaker B: It’s just a family.

Speaker C: And it’s exciting because who is coming soon, ms.

Speaker C: harding?

Speaker C: Claire has been with us since she started it, so she’s been with us for is it ten years?

Speaker C: That’s what you’d say.

Speaker C: Ten years and never I’ve been asking everyone, come on, are you coming this year?

Speaker C: No, because she’s too busy with everything she has going on.

Speaker C: But you said yes this year.

Speaker C: I’m thrilled.

Speaker D: I can’t wait.

Speaker D: And it’s really good to hear you talk like that, dandy, because I don’t really know what to expect.

Speaker D: I’m a little bit anxious.

Speaker D: I can’t wait to meet those kids.

Speaker C: Yes, I would love to hear what you think it’s going to be like now.

Speaker C: And then we’ll ask you when we come back if it was anything like that.

Speaker C: I wonder if you think it will be sad like Jenny thought, but then when you get there, it’ll just be overwhelmingly happy.

Speaker C: I just can’t wait.

Speaker D: Yeah, no, I haven’t thought that it would be sad because I guess I’ve spoken to you when you’ve been there and we’ve been there and I’ve heard all the screaming and squealing next door and all the happy faces and talking to the boys.

Speaker D: They’re always so happy and positive, and I think that’s what I’m hoping to get out of it.

Speaker D: Despite everything that these kids have been through, they are still so happy and positive.

Speaker D: I think the feeding program and I really want to experience that.

Speaker D: I want to go to the streets and see the work that we do there, because I think what we do there is incredible.

Speaker D: The fact that we feed 100 kids every day, but we don’t just feed them now, we’re educating them and we’re giving them a hot wash and some clean clothes and safety while we’re there is when they sleep, by the looks of some of the photos that I see.

Speaker D: So I think, yeah, I’m not sure what to expect there.

Speaker C: You can expect that you do exactly what I do and probably cry.

Speaker C: You’ll get a little bit high from the glue that’s around you and it’s very emotional.

Speaker C: But you understand that jandy has a lot of energy.

Speaker C: So when jandy came, she did disco parties for the girls next door.

Speaker C: Like, she doesn’t stop, they’re going to think that you’re just the same as auntie Jay.

Speaker B: So I’m about to say, please do a disco do a dance circle for me.

Speaker B: And the girls will have to take a turn and and dance, because that was probably the funnest night there.

Speaker B: Oh, my gosh.

Speaker B: What was really funny, I was really concerned about feeling safe.

Speaker B: I don’t know what it was, but going to Kenya, I was like, Am I going to feel safe apart from the f****** flight?

Speaker B: When the pilot said, Cabin crew prepared to die, but that’s not they said, Cabin crew be seated.

Speaker B: But it was Sarah whitney had to talk.

Speaker B: The cabin crew said, can you please tell the pilot not to talk like that again?

Speaker B: And he just ripped my friend out.

Speaker B: I seriously heard cabin crews headed anyway.

Speaker C: And I said, if that girl’s looking at you, can you always just smile because she’s watching and if she’s watching your face and you have a worried look, she’s going to rip my arm off, so please always smile at her.

Speaker B: But once we landed, I must say I did not feel unsafe at all.

Speaker B: At all.

Speaker B: And one night we were walking with two of the boys from outreach who are now living independently and like six or 07:00, it wasn’t like the roebie and I did not even think a thing of it.

Speaker B: And then we finally got in the car with the driver and the boys came and took us to the driver that was meeting us.

Speaker B: He was like, you guys are crazy, like, what are you doing out?

Speaker B: What do you f****** look at?

Speaker B: And I’m like, oh my God, there I did not feel unsafe the entire time.

Speaker B: And even when we went to yeah, we share it to the slums to drop off a rug because all we wanted for his new house was a bloody rug.

Speaker B: Yeah, that was still unsafe.

Speaker B: And in retrospect, I am a bit.

Speaker D: Concerned about that, even though I’m a street fighter.

Speaker C: I think that’s why you were worried.

Speaker C: No, I’m just saying, you know how skilled I am at protecting people.

Speaker A: Constance said the same thing, Claire, that she was really kind of a bit afraid heading in, but as soon as she landed it was all good.

Speaker C: Yeah, Jimmy will be there waiting for us, be absolutely funny.

Speaker B: He’ll probably be late, but no, it’d.

Speaker D: Be interesting to ask all the same questions again in a couple of months.

Speaker A: Yeah, totally, we should do that.

Speaker A: Claire, as a business owner and a mum, why did you get involved?

Speaker A: You’ve obviously got like a lot on your plate already.

Speaker A: What made you go, oh yeah, I’ll do this and then continue to do it, not just say, yeah, I’ll do this, but still be there a decade later.

Speaker D: Yeah.

Speaker C: And on top of that, if I can add in, we have the rafika wemmer office in the barefoot office, which they give us at a discount.

Speaker C: They also sponsor our seo and donate on top of that and Clear donates her time as well with everything going on.

Speaker C: So there’s a whole lot more than just that.

Speaker C: So why do you?

Speaker B: Good question.

Speaker D: I must have been pretty drunk on those marguerite that night.

Speaker D: Like you said, I’m a mum and at the time I was a mum to a two year old boy and I think, as any parent, you can’t help but empathize with the children and the families of these children, as long as the families aren’t the ones that have been doing it.

Speaker D: I think it’s just really hard to imagine it being your child, and I think most people do that.

Speaker D: I always try and put myself in someone else’s shoes if it was my child.

Speaker D: And I think the only difference with our children in Australia, the UK, wherever, they’ve just been born in another country, they’ve just been born into a country of privilege, and I don’t think, to me, that’s the only difference.

Speaker D: And kean could well have been born somewhere completely different and I could have been in completely different circumstances and his life would be very different.

Speaker D: Our kids are so lucky.

Speaker D: They get to go to school and wear shoes and ride a bike and feel safe and all those things that I think they take for granted.

Speaker D: So I spend a lot of time with him talking about just that every afternoon.

Speaker D: He’s starving, but they’ve never experienced starving.

Speaker D: So, yeah, I had to get involved.

Speaker D: There wasn’t really an option.

Speaker D: She didn’t have me around the neck or anything, so it sounds like she.

Speaker A: Could have because she’s a Main Street fighter.

Speaker D: Yeah, and then it just grew and grew.

Speaker D: Like, it grew from the house with the girls to a farm and then the boys.

Speaker D: And I think the boys was a game changer for me.

Speaker D: Seeing those boys and being actually able to compare that little boy is the same age as my little boy, and how different their lives are.

Speaker D: That, I think, was a bit of a turning point for me when we got the boys.

Speaker D: So I’m really looking forward to spending time with the boys.

Speaker D: But, yeah, I just fell in love with them and then we just kept growing.

Speaker D: And why I still do it, I think it’s a no brainer.

Speaker D: Our company is so intertwined with rafiki.

Speaker D: We hold very strong values in terms of giving back and as individuals within the company and personally and supporting rafi on an ongoing basis is a no brainer.

Speaker D: I don’t even think of us as separate entities anymore.

Speaker D: Like, sarah’s office is in the corner with the door open and we’re yelling to each other all the time.

Speaker D: Our staff, when they are inducted into the agency, are inducted into Rafikiwema as well, and they become part of rafiki too.

Speaker D: And I think they all know that as well.

Speaker D: They all give their help to rafiki as well.

Speaker D: So, yeah, I think we’ll be part of rafiki’s journey forever.

Speaker D: For as long as ever is, as long as Sarah lives.

Speaker C: You can hear the little gimp in the corners yelling out those swears still there.

Speaker A: Jan, do you know Sarah better than anyone?

Speaker A: What do you think it is about her that makes her a good founder and a force behind rafiki.

Speaker B: As long as I’ve known Sarah, it’s a very long time.

Speaker B: She has been passionate and committed it to whatever she does, whether it’s sneaking out of mum’s house to go to parties and meet boys.

Speaker B: Nothing would stop her.

Speaker B: Like, even to a point where she left me there one time to go meet a boy and her mom comes in and she’s like, where’s Sarah?

Speaker B: I’m so sorry.

Speaker B: As long as I’ve known she’s obviously committed to having a bit of fun, but she has just committed to her moral, terrific belief.

Speaker B: As soon as she got well after her car accident and decided that she was going to she’d been sorry, she’s been volunteering in Kenya briefly before a car accident.

Speaker B: And when she came home to Australia and started her recovery, she had expressed to those nearest and dearest to her that that was her aim, to get well into healthcare in Kenya.

Speaker B: And as soon as she said it, I knew it was a lifelong commitment.

Speaker B: I mean, it was an evolution.

Speaker B: She first started running her own small business and in every spare minute of her day, doing stuff for charities that were supporting kids in Kenya.

Speaker B: Then when this situation came to light and she had an opportunity to start something in Australia that would be more long term and would be directly supporting something that she was connected to and had a real part in it was just something that at the minute she said she was going to do it, I knew she was going to do it and she was going to do it well.

Speaker B: And like I said earlier, there’s been so many hurdles on this journey and at no point has she walked or said she’s walking or anything.

Speaker B: Even when she worked almost full time for the organization without a fence, she had to try and make money with her own small business in her spare time.

Speaker B: So she’s committed and nothing can get in the way of something once she’s got her mindset on doing it.

Speaker B: She’s just always been a good person to the core.

Speaker B: Even when she was sneaking out and starting street park, she was doing it for the little reason.

Speaker D: You meet Sarah and you are raw and you can see what you see is what you get.

Speaker D: And you know that you’re at the heart of rafiki right there.

Speaker D: I can say hand on heart to my friends that sponsor that I can tell them at any time how any of the children are doing or how the farm is doing and where the money is going.

Speaker D: And I think it’s that connection with the heart of rafiki, which is Sarah, and knowing that what we’re doing is real and what you see is what you get.

Speaker A: Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t sound like because I know Sarah, so I know she’ll tell you how the key word there is really integrity, right?

Speaker A: Like she is a person of her word and if she says she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it.

Speaker A: And the other thing is transparency.

Speaker A: What you see is what you get.

Speaker A: And if there are questions, she’ll answer them.

Speaker B: I guess when you say what makes for a good founder?

Speaker B: And it’s that with Sarah at the helm, everyone is going to have some transparency and everyone’s going to know exactly where the money is going.

Speaker B: Sarah has been plenty of times where we’ve said, Sarah, you need an income, and she pushes back and all sorts of things.

Speaker B: So she’s certainly transparent, if nothing else.

Speaker A: If people are listening and they’re thinking, like, how do I get involved here in Australia?

Speaker A: Because I know you guys don’t take volunteers over to Kenya.

Speaker A: It’s definitely not on the cards for anyone.

Speaker C: Yeah, well, we can explain that a little bit because I think that needs an explanation, because people will say, why is gender being there?

Speaker C: Why can Claire come there?

Speaker C: The honest truth is the reason we don’t take volunteers is because it interrupts our children’s lives.

Speaker C: And people come over there with the best of intentions because it is life changing.

Speaker C: And you do have culture shock.

Speaker C: And you come over there and you’re very overwhelmed and you’re very sad, and you tell the children, I’m going to write to you every week.

Speaker C: I’m going to visit you every year.

Speaker C: I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.

Speaker C: And the children hold on to that.

Speaker C: There’s still kids over there asking me where this one volunteers who said she would write every week and she’s never written since.

Speaker C: A huge market in volunteerism, because a lot of charities have people coming in and out, because that’s how they get money from really, really wealthy people.

Speaker C: A lot of it is quite disgusting, having people come in and out and just look at my look at this poor child, look at this orphan here.

Speaker C: Orphan, come and sit on my lap and tell this old man your story about how your mum lived.

Speaker C: You know, it’s, it’s disgusting and we have to work harder for money, not having volunteers go over there, but it’s about the children at the end of the day, and we will be committed to them and we will get money in other ways.

Speaker C: The reason why dandy and Claire can come over is because they have been with us from the beginning.

Speaker C: The children already know them.

Speaker C: I know that they’re committed and I know that they are not going to leave the children.

Speaker C: And unless I know that you can’t come over, like, there’s other volunteers that currently work with us now, and they’re great, but unless you are at least with us for over five or six years, and I know that you’re not going anywhere and there’s no risk of you leaving the children and abandoning them, it’s just not going to happen.

Speaker C: Because our children.

Speaker C: Hold it on to each person that they’ve ever heard of and ever known, and they will hold on to that forever because of the abandonment issues they have got.

Speaker C: So that’s my explanation.

Speaker C: I hope that you all accept it.

Speaker C: If not, that’s fine too.

Speaker B: I’ll just add as well, as we grew, we looked at risk.

Speaker B: Anyone that was even on the board with Sarah, we all did, working with children’s checks and a range of other things.

Speaker B: So obviously, from a risk and governance perspective, that’s really important.

Speaker B: And in addition to that, all of the staff that work at Rafiki are Kenyan and there is a real focus for the organization to remain Kenyan, to provide Kenyan care to Kenyan kids.

Speaker B: But when they go out and become adults and live a Kenyan life, they know what it’s about, they know what’s expected.

Speaker B: And it’s easy for people who travel from other countries, who have different experiences to be a bit open about that or talk about that.

Speaker B: And it’s just not life in Kenya.

Speaker B: That was something I found hard to come to terms with as well, is that you need to have a Kenyan organization that’s run by Kenyan, that has Kenyan standards.

Speaker B: You can’t open a home over there, give everyone an Xbox like you did in Australia, because that’s not what they’re going to get when they grow up and get their own place and have to live on a Kenyan wage.

Speaker B: So I think there are a number of really factors as to why they don’t take long years at the property and they’re all very valid.

Speaker C: And there is other organizations that I know of who do raise the children kind of in a white fashion.

Speaker C: And then these children are expected to leave and go on their merry way into a Kenyan culture.

Speaker C: But they’ve been raised by white people, those children.

Speaker C: I hope that they are successful, but being raised by white people is not going to help you when you go into a Kenyan culture.

Speaker C: This is why we tell our staff, if you ask my opinion and I give it to you, but it doesn’t make sense in your Kenyan culture.

Speaker C: You argue with me and tell me why.

Speaker C: Like I always have to say, is this what you would do at home?

Speaker C: If it’s not, then why are we doing it?

Speaker C: We have to always think of these children and if they go home to their mum, their dad, is that how it’s going to be?

Speaker C: If it’s not, then go back to how it’s going to be when they go home.

Speaker C: Because we want to help them with their trauma now, but we want them to succeed when they go home.

Speaker C: And if not, we are setting them up to fail.

Speaker C: And what’s the point of any of it?

Speaker C: We want them to be okay forever.

Speaker D: And in terms of how people can help, I always say everything helps.

Speaker D: There’s so much thought with people that I can’t do enough and I can only do a little bit.

Speaker D: But if everyone did a little bit, if all of our followers on Facebook gave us a dollar, it would solve the running cost problems for the next month.

Speaker D: So everybody can do something.

Speaker D: And it doesn’t matter how small, because although those small things together create something really big and sponsor a child, it’s $50 a month, which is a couple of coffees a week.

Speaker D: If that people don’t think about walking into a bottle shop and dropping that on a couple of bottles of wine, you know it’s.

Speaker B: What do you think?

Speaker C: And also and that’s right, because I hear a lot of people who don’t give because they get embarrassed to give $5 and they think, oh, I’m not going to bother doing that.

Speaker C: But we’ve seen like what happened with constance’s fundraiser.

Speaker C: So many people gave a small amount and look what happened.

Speaker C: Nothing is too small.

Speaker C: Don’t think that one share of our Facebook post is not enough, so you don’t bother doing it.

Speaker C: You never know who’s going to see that.

Speaker C: You never know how many people will give $5 or a dollar or whatever.

Speaker C: Just do one thing.

Speaker C: It can be small, but it will make change.

Speaker D: Yeah, you’re so right.

Speaker D: I remember when we did that fundraiser, reading all of the comments and mothers saying, I’m a single mom, I’m working five jobs, I’ve got three kids, I’ve got $5.

Speaker B: You can have that.

Speaker D: And when I get paid, I’ll give you some more.

Speaker D: And it was mostly small donations.

Speaker C: Totally.

Speaker B: I was talking to Sarah earlier this week about if you commit to $10 a month, but you get ten of your friends to commit to $10 a month as well, that’s a lot of money.

Speaker B: And that is so easy.

Speaker B: Like, how many people do you talk to that you can actually spend time telling the story?

Speaker B: Get them on board.

Speaker B: Ten people.

Speaker B: That’s in a month, period.

Speaker B: Just give yourself a challenge.

Speaker B: I’m going to sign up $10 a month and I’m going to find ten other people that handle Heart will sign up as well.

Speaker B: That’s my goal.

Speaker C: For the marketing meeting on Friday.

Speaker D: I love it.

Speaker D: Having said all of that, we need corporate sponsors is what we need.

Speaker D: We need cash in big dollars from Australian organizations, people that want to make a difference in Kenya.

Speaker D: Because with that kind of support behind us, we can do incredible things.

Speaker D: We’re already doing incredible things, but we’re also chasing our tail every month.

Speaker D: And last week, I don’t know how the situation is at the moment, but last week we had less than one month’s running costs in the bank and it’s a worry.

Speaker B: So not only can Australian businesses get their tax cuts based on sponsoring of the heat, but social impact is so important right now.

Speaker B: All the big corps are doing it.

Speaker B: There’s ESG stuff and finding and you can’t even get money off the bank if you’re a big corporation unless you can demonstrate that they are signing you up to some ethical lending, and that even if you’re a mining company, you’re still doing something really important socially and you’re able to provide an outcome based on that.

Speaker B: So, big corps, whatever you’re doing, the civil society wants to see you having a social impact, having some environment, social governance reporting.

Speaker B: This is the perfect opportunity.

Speaker B: Come on down.

Speaker B: Don’t call Sarah.

Speaker C: Haven’t.

Speaker D: We sarah a car mechanic who give us a percentage of all of his car services and he’s a dad of three kids living in Speed and he’s got a huge heart and wants to do the right thing.

Speaker D: Imagine the impact a corporate could have with that mindset.

Speaker B: Totally.

Speaker B: If for no other reason, if social impact doesn’t vote your vote and you don’t give them back, kids, please give money.

Speaker B: So that my friend, my best friend for most of my life, can actually function.

Speaker B: Because over the last ten years, there have been so many moments where Claire and nikki and I and the few people that are around her that can do what we can.

Speaker B: And I don’t have a social following and we don’t have a big corporation amongst us.

Speaker B: So if for nothing else, do it for Sarah sanity, seriously, start losing it slowly.

Speaker B: Do it for our f****** sanity, because we’re all the ones that are there.

Speaker C: When she’s picking up the pieces.

Speaker A: And now you’re going to hear from Kerry boyco carey is the current chair of the board at Rafikim wemmer.

Speaker A: She’s going to explain to us a little bit about the governance side of things, the various volunteer roles and how you can get involved.

Speaker A: Welcome, carrie.

Speaker A: Can you tell us a bit about how you got involved with Rafiki?

Speaker A: Because I know you’ve been involved for quite a long time as a volunteer.

Speaker E: So I first became involved with Rafiki off the back of constance hall’s commentary on social media.

Speaker E: So I followed her for some time and I was reading these stories about Rafiki and I think it just got to a point where I was like, well, I have a bit of time and I have some compassion, I suppose, towards this situation and why not?

Speaker E: So I think also there was maybe a volunteer drive at the time and I just filled in a form and forgot about it.

Speaker E: And then I was contacted by someone in the organization at the time and we had a big chat and I was assigned to one of the committees.

Speaker E: That was before COVID I had a couple of meetings and then COVID happened and it kind of dropped off a little bit and I think we’re all just trying to work out what we were doing.

Speaker E: And then about a year or so ago, I got asked to be part of the board, just as a general member.

Speaker E: And then this year it’s just kind of happened.

Speaker E: COVID has resulted in lots of things for Rafiki that we have to just create some structure around and some sustainability and some strategies and we’ve all just come together and suddenly I’m the chair of the board.

Speaker B: That’s awesome, isn’t it?

Speaker A: You’re going to love joining an organization that they’re being thrown into the chair.

Speaker C: Of the board position.

Speaker A: Good times.

Speaker A: So when you were doing the volunteer work, what kind of was involved in that?

Speaker E: So I was part of the Risk and Governance Committee, which was very much looking at the policies and procedures of the Australian Arm of the organization.

Speaker E: So we really just looked at what was Rafiki here in Australia.

Speaker E: We were a volunteer organization that had paid employees that needed to be almost like a business in terms of its HR and employment structure, but also we managed a lot of volunteers.

Speaker E: So what did that look like from a risk and governance perspective?

Speaker E: As a charity?

Speaker E: We’re governed by the acnc and we had an international component to this charity.

Speaker E: We had lots of discussions about the three kind of work stacks when it came to risk and governance, so it was quite busy at the time.

Speaker E: We were also having lots of conversations with AC and C.

Speaker E: So we’re really trying to understand as a charity where we fit into that.

Speaker E: That’s kind of what we were doing in the risk and governance based at the time.

Speaker A: What does good governance even mean?

Speaker A: Why does it matter?

Speaker E: Good governance means a lot of things and I’m probably not going to be able to articulate everything that it means, but from our perspective, it means a lot of things to create sustainability for the charity.

Speaker E: In my opinion, this is a charity that can’t fail.

Speaker E: So we have to make sure that we live forever or the charity lives forever.

Speaker E: So we have to have a purpose and a strategy and you’ll see all of that in our current strategic plan.

Speaker E: We need roles and responsibilities.

Speaker E: People need to know what they’re doing on the board and in the committee.

Speaker E: And also the volunteers, what are they here for?

Speaker E: We need to make sure that the board is running effectively, making the right decisions, being financially compliant, have accountability and transparency.

Speaker E: The list could go on for me, there’s lots of things, but I think the strategic plan that we have in place at the moment really does show for me the governance of the board going forward.

Speaker E: It’s got the values and the mission and the purpose and the pillars, our objectives, I suppose, about what we’re going to do in the future.

Speaker E: We can’t fail.

Speaker E: We have to make this charity sustainable.

Speaker E: It has to live beyond us.

Speaker E: So governance is all about creating that.

Speaker A: What does the Australian arm look like?

Speaker E: So currently we have a board which is made up as a normal board is, I suppose, a chair, a secretary, a treasurer, some general committee members.

Speaker E: We also have committees that we have created to help with various aspects of the charity and they are the Risk and Governance Committee, which I’ve been talking about, the Marketing committee, the Finance committee, a new committee that we’ve started which looks at the Australian operations, which is all the Australian governance administration, the human resource aspect, the volunteer acquisition and retention.

Speaker E: We also have a committee that looks after the canyon relations because they’re also part of our charities.

Speaker E: So we need to ensure that we’re taking care of that.

Speaker E: That’s what the current structure of the board and the committees looks like.

Speaker E: And then we have a whole bunch of volunteers which essentially take some time out of their lives to do particular tasks for us, which kind of report to committees but also just fall into the general organization of the charity.

Speaker A: And do you know how many people are involved in the organization from the Australian perspective?

Speaker E: Yeah, there’s about 23, I think.

Speaker E: But we’re speaking to volunteers every day.

Speaker E: I spoke to one this morning and I’m communicating with another later this week.

Speaker E: So people are really invested and want to help in various ways.

Speaker E: And whether that’s donating money or actually donating the time, I think from the communications I’m having with these people is that COVID has really brought out a part of them where they’re like, this world is bigger than us, so we just want to help somebody else and it also makes you feel good.

Speaker E: So there’s lots of volunteers that are reaching out that want to do various things, even if it’s just coming to a bingo bash that we have in Sydney or something.

Speaker A: If people wanted to get involved in volunteering their time, what are the kinds of roles that they could potentially take on?

Speaker A: Are there holes that you’re looking to fill in the volunteer space at the moment?

Speaker E: Yeah, there is.

Speaker E: The best way to become involved with Rafiki is jump onto our website and complete the form on the website to become a volunteer.

Speaker E: And we have a very comprehensive induction program that we can take you through the positions that we are hoping to or the tasks that we’re hoping to assign to volunteers in the future.

Speaker E: There’s a lot around the social media space.

Speaker E: We’re a grassroots charity where we speak directly to the people in their homes who donate small amounts each month that keep us going.

Speaker E: And each of the social media platforms are different.

Speaker E: I’ve got no idea how to use Twitter or TikTok or any of those.

Speaker E: So anyone who has those skills, we’re very definitely welcoming.

Speaker E: We have a lot of administrative tasks that we are looking for people to help us with.

Speaker E: And also we’re looking for a volunteer coordinator currently that’s being shared by a couple of us.

Speaker E: And I think for Rafiki to work effectively, we need somebody to take ownership of that space and really help with the retention of our volunteers, that the people that are going to get us going, because we literally, as you probably know, only have two paid employees in Australia running this entire organization.

Speaker E: All of us are volunteers, most of us are for jobs and children and husbands and cats and dogs.

Speaker E: So someone needs to keep us on track.

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker A: Talk me through a bit about the strategic plan.

Speaker A: How did that come about?

Speaker A: Yeah, and I guess, like, its purpose is to help with governance, right?

Speaker A: Keep people accountable, keep the process transparent, know where you’re heading.

Speaker A: How did it come about?

Speaker E: So the strategic plan was probably about a six month journey, and it came about as the result of about half a dozen of bully board members coming together earlier this year to meet for the first time for all of us.

Speaker E: And we started talking about what was our purpose here, what were we doing, what did we need to look at in the future, how could we articulate the direction that we were heading?

Speaker E: So we really looked at pretty much every aspect of Rafiki from an Australian perspective, a Kenyan perspective, a board perspective, our committees, everything, and we’ve come up with a really great vision and mission, as well as broke our strategy for Rafiki into different pillars.

Speaker E: That weekend was almost like a brain dump or workshop on what we needed to do.

Speaker E: And then we all individually went away and had a bit of a think about what we were doing and then collectively came back together and created the strategic plan to what it is today.

Speaker E: I think it’s a good one.

Speaker E: I think it very definitely shows where we’re headed, as well as taking into account what the Australian arm and the Kenyan arm of Rafiki wants.

Speaker E: And I think that’s very well reflected in our strategic plan.

Speaker A: So that’s a little bit about the Australian arm of Rafiki.

Speaker A: wema and in the next episode, we’re going to pull back the curtain on Kenya and explore what it’s like living in Kenya and also what the staff’s experience is of working for Rafiki.

Speaker A: until next time, I’m Karly nimmo and this is the rafiki way.

Share this post to your network - you never know what impact it may have!

Would you like to receive monthly updates straight from the heart of Rafiki Mwema?
We guarantee to deliver happiness and positivity straight to your inbox 📥 🖤

NGO Registration Number OP .218/051/22-131/13252

× Do you need some help? Available from 10:00 to 20:00 Available on SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday