You might see a lot of photos with our children playing, swimming, dancing and there is a really good reason for that!
There are so many benefits!
Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain. The blood delivers oxygen and glucose, which the brain needs for heightened alertness and mental focus. Because of this, exercise makes it easier for children to learn.
It is well known that stress damages children’s brains. Exercise reduces stress by balance of the body’s chemistry. Its effect is similar to taking anti-depressant medications.
It improves your mental wellbeing, alertness, relationships, leadership qualities – no wonder sports will live long in our houses – and it’s fun!
Always interested in questions about earnings and very happy to answer. Our founder earns zero despite multiple trips to Kenya to deliver training, supervision, therapeutic support, as well as daily contact around the upkeep and running of the charity.
Our CEO earns less than the minimum wage for a 35 hour week, but works around 80 hours each week. Those folk involved in running our charity certainly don’t do it for the financial rewards!
In Play Therapy children have an opportunity to understand their lives through play. By using various media (sand, paint, small world play, puppets, clay, music, drama, storytelling and movement) children begin to understand muddled feelings and upsetting events that they haven’t had the chance to sort out properly. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, as adult therapy usually expects, children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace.
Play is vital to every child’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and language development. It helps all children and young people including those for whom verbal communication may be difficult.
Play Therapy can help children in a variety of ways. Children receive emotional support and can learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways.
Drawn from Van Fleet. R. (2000). ‘A parent’s handbook of filial play therapy, Boiling Springs, PA: Play Therapy Press.
More and more, people are realizing the power of play and humour in promoting positive relationships and mental health. This is a family intervention that is designed to strengthen families through the use of play. It is called filial therapy, and it can be used by families who wish to strengthen their relationships, or it can be used by therapists working with families who are experiencing difficulties. In filial therapy the parents are true partners with the therapist in bringing about positive changes in their family’s life.
To use this process in Kenya we have adapted it slightly to involve the children’s’ carers in ‘loco-parentis’.
In filial therapy, under the therapist’s guidance, the carer learns to conduct a special type of play session with the children in their care. The carers are considered true partners in the entire therapeutic process. Play Kenya has adapted the several advantages to parents being the ones to conduct the play sessions with their own children to ensure that the relationship is built with the carer with whom the child has the best relationship
• Carers have an intimate relationship with their children and already know their children better than a therapist would.
• Carers are very capable of learning to conduct these special play sessions.
• Carers are the most important people in their children’s lives. This method of strengthening the family capitalizes on this fact, and children need not develop a whole new relationship with a therapist.
• When carers are involved in play therapy as they are in filial therapy, the changes are usually positive and long lasting.
• When involved in filial therapy, carers usually learn how to understand their children better through their play. This understanding can help parents as they make childrearing decisions.
Filial therapy strengthens the parent-child relationship directly, and everyone in the family benefits. Usually children and parents alike really enjoy their special play sessions together, and using play to help children with their feelings and problems can make the change process easier for everyone.
This approach is more efficient. As parents learn to do this, they can eventually hold these play sessions at home. The therapist teaches and guides the parents, but eventually they hold these play sessions independently, ultimately reducing the number of therapy sessions neede
This type of family-oriented play therapy is relatively short-term, but it does require some commitment and work on the part of the parents. Most parents report that this effort is well worth it in terms of the positive outcomes they’ve experienced.
Filial therapy has been around for quite some time–since the early 60s, in fact, when Drs. Bernard & Louise Guerney developed it–but it has really been growing in popularity among parents and therapists during recent years. The primary reason for this is that it works. There has been a great deal of research and clinical experience with filial therapy done over the past 40 years, and those studies show that it consistently helps reduce children’s problem behaviours, helps parents to feel less stressed and more confident, and improves the understanding parents have for their children. (The term “filial therapy” comes from the Latin words meaning “son” or “daughter” and essentially refers to the parent-child relationship.)
Our aim at Rafiki Mwema is to provide a therapeutic safe house for badly abused girls to help them make sense of what they have been through. We support them through all medical treatments, the court system and therapy with the ultimate goal of returning them to a safe and loving environment when they are ready.
Once we are satisfied the girls are doing well in the house, accessing what they need from their therapy and able to concentrate and learn in school, we have a meeting about them moving home.
A lot depends on their individual home situations and whether they have a caring, loving family to return to.
We always veer on the side of caution but have tragically learnt that we cannot anticipate all variables.
When the girl’s key worker, our social worker and the rest of the Rafiki Mwema household are satisfied that the girls are ready to move home we begin a 12 week step down program and this is when we will contact the girl’s sponsors to let them know what is happening.
During this 12 week period our outreach team will visit and work closely with parents and/or family members to train them in our Attachment Play Program (APP). Our outreach team will work with schools, churches and village elders to ensure they understand the impact of the girls’ situations and help educate them around the subject of sexual abuse.
We then invite the parents to come to the house for one day a week (staying in our volunteer accommodation if they live a long distance away) and they participate in the APP sessions with their daughter. Only when we have observed their sessions and can see they are being conducted in a safe manner we are and are satisfied that they are responding to their parent will they take their daughter home.
Children are aware from the beginning of the 12-week step down program that they and we are working towards them being able to return home to a safe and loving environment.
On the night before they leave we have a celebration for them where all the staff and girls say goodbye. This can be a very emotional time but is a very important part of the process.
Our Outreach team and the girl’s key worker (All girls have a key worker who delivers their APP and is the person they attend all court hospital and other appointments. The girls go to their key worker if they have any worries or joys to share) and as many staff as are able accompany the girl to their home to hand them over. We will visit the home twice a week and telephone daily for 4 weeks (or longer if needed). She then scales down her visits over the next 4 weeks to one a week and then fortnightly, 3 weekly and then monthly.
We visit all our girls monthly unless they live in the remote villages where we cannot get our transport to. This is unfortunately where we have experienced two sad stories (Even after our step down programme and all our follow ups which were still on-going one of our little ones was raped by her father. He had never shown us any worries or concerns and this little girl was previously raped by a neighbour. Heartbreaking)
We will keep in telephone contact forever really and we find that the families come to think of her as part of their lives, in a very positive way.
Every conceivable care is taken for the girls when they leave Rafiki Mwema but even then there are times that we are reminded just how much stigma can be attached to our little girls and the consequences of their abuse.
This is why we NEVER stop being involved in their lives. I look to the day when we can guarantee their safety and maybe have them therapeutically educated with us until they are 18 – a new generation of strong, able young women.
Our children at Rafiki Mwema love receiving mail and we welcome you to write to your sponsor child.
Not all of our sponsors have time to write and send letters, which is understandable. However, we don’t want some children to be over-loved with letters and parcels and others to receive nothing, so we suggest you send things that your child can share with the others… such as, stickers & books or art and craft material. Also, our boys are big fans of soccer.. Arsenal!! so they love football pictures, cards, magazines, and USBs with movies, songs and things they can enjoy.
We do ask that you don’t mention that would like to visit ‘one day’ as the children believe that means someone will visit soon and we don’t want them to be disappointed! And if you do get do get to go one day what a lovely surprise!
We recommend that you keep the package/letter small and only send plain packaging (so it doesn’t look too exciting to steal!). Also please remember that if the parcel is too big Rafiki Mwema get charged on the other end to collect the parcel (if it cannot fit in PO box) and this can often cost far more than the item is worth. We suggest no larger than an A5 size envelope like the example below.
In all cases please make sure the item is marked as having “no value” to ensure it makes it to Rafiki and puts a smile on the kids faces.
I am sure that writing back to these letters will give them just as much joy, and as much as we would like to facilitate this we currently do not have the funds or resources to do so with all of our donations currently going to providing the essentials and more importantly the ongoing therapy to rebuild the children’s trust and their futures.
The staff at Rafiki Mwema will help the children read the letters and any stickers, craft items etc will be shared around. While they speak the local language, Swahili they are also learning English at the house and this program will be an educational tool. Who would have thought so much goodness could come from writing a letter!!
Our address is:
Rafiki Girls/Rafiki Boys
PO Box 4298
Kenya East Africa
As always, please contact me if you have any questions at all. Thank you for your support.
Everyone wants to help make a difference and we love it when you do. Sometimes its a little hard to know how to get started so here is a few suggestions to help you out in your fund raising for rafiki fun. There are so many ways to raise money for Rafiki and every little bit helps not only the financial aspect but raising awareness is so vital to our sustainability.
From little things…
As mentioned above the smallest contribution can help make the biggest difference. There are many small fund raising projects you can host at your workplace, local school or within a social group. Here are a few ideas that will raise funds and awareness for Rafiki and everyone involved can have lots of fun.
Host a morning tea where you bring in some baked goods and others make a small donation to participate. Make sure you take a photo and send it into us so we can encourage others to do the same thing.
Put jelly beans or any other type of confectionary in a jar (we can supply Rafiki stickers for the jar) and people pay .50 cents or $1 to have a guess. The person with the closest guess gets to win the prize (the jar of sweets) and everyone wins because they have made a contribution to Rafiki. And you get to have fun counting the jelly beans too 😉
Turn your work, school or social group pink for the day. Tell your colleagues to wear pale pink for the day and they have to make a donation to do so (you can encourage this by promising pink cupcakes etc) maybe a donation for each item of pink they wear just to make it interesting and see who owns a lot of pink!
Get a few of your fellow parents to get busy in the kitchen and hold a bake stall at school or at the local market.
Some of you are be interested in investing a little more time in your fundraising – and we love it!! Here a few ideas for those wanting to go that little bit further:
A lot of hardware stores offer charity spots at their weekend BBQ. This one requires you to do a bit of shopping before (or get some local businesses to supply the goods) you then man the stall on the day and raise funds and awareness of Rafiki (we can supply posters, postcards, stickers and donation tins). You can take your costs from the takings and send the rest to us to keep our girls safe and happy.
Get some of your local businesses to donate something, it could be a bike or a piece of art or even a dinner voucher at a local restaurant. You can sell tickets at school/work/ social outings (and get your family and friends to sell tickets also). And make sure you tell us all about it and send in photos – we would love to share the details on our website and social pages.
If you or someone you know has a retail store or feel a store near you would be willing, we can provide donation tins for their counter or reception area, if requested we can provide postcards too – it is important you have time to check back with the business and get the tin and funds back to Rafiki so we can send those funds where they are needed as regularly as possible.
There are so many fun runs and walks these days where you can choose your charity, get a group together and raise funds for Rafiki!! You can use your social media to drum up support and we can pop it on our social media channels too. Everyday Hero is a great place to set up your fundraising page.
Rafiki Market Day
A lot of local markets these days have a “charity of the day” where everyone coming in makes a donation. You can contact the market administrator and submit the application form (we can help you with this) you need to ensure you have a couple of willing and able bodies to assist – there are often more then one entry point and you will need someone to take turns so each person gets a break. We can supply money tins, stickers and other material to raise awareness.
Who doesn’t like to dance? Host a little disco at home or talk to your local school or hall about holding one there (this of course will take a little more planning and perhaps some up front costs. I would suggest asking the venue and your DJ to do the event as a donation). Sell tickets and everyone gets to have a boogie for a good cause!.
If you have some good condition clothing and nic-nacs why not hold a store at your local market (and do a little reduce, reuse, recycle at the same time). The stall may cost money and you can recoup that from your takings on the day and then donate the rest to Rafiki. You can do this with friends or family and they can help on the day as well as getting a spring clean done!. Again we will supply some awareness material so people know you are working for a good cause!!
By becoming a sponsor you will be making a lifetime difference to some of the most vulnerable children.
The support for our children is lifelong and complex. It also can change from moment to moment. We employ and continually train the right staff to work with traumatized young people. It is so much more than a traditional home or orphanage. This comes at a cost and we are therefore aware that we need to not ‘cap’ these opportunities for our children’s emotional healing. Because of this we do not have a set number of sponsors for each child. Instead our sponsors are sponsoring our family as a whole and will receive a yearly photo of their child. We know you will understand this need and thank you so much for supporting our amazing children.
Sponsorship will cost you $50AUD per month and your valued donation will assist us in supporting ALL of our children with all expenses across our entire charity.
Firstly, you rock! Thanks so much for expressing an interest in helping Rafiki Mwema here in Australia.
Everyone involved in this charity are volunteers who are passionate about helping others, and the fact that you’ve found this page is proof that you too want to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable girls and boys in Kenya.
Our team is always looking for motivated individuals to help with our wonderful charity here in Australia. While we don’t have specific jobs to fill as such, there is a whole range of projects and tasks that we need your help with in order to keep our charity moving forward and raising money.
Obviously we can’t pay you, but the joy you’ll get from knowing you are making a difference to the lives of dozens of young children who would otherwise have an uncertain future will be payment enough, trust us.
If you’re interested in becoming a valued member of Rafiki Mwema then we want you! To help us find a position or role where you can thrive and put your incredible skills to good use, we’d love you to fill out the form over here in as much detail as you can.
Remember, don’t be modest, we’ve all got talents and we’re excited about helping you unlock and use yours to help provide a safe and happy future for disadvantaged children in Kenya.
Tell us how you want to help and we’ll find a way to make it happen!
We use DDP Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy.. better known as PACE
You can read more about this over here.
You sure can. You can find our logo, flyers. posters, facebook cover images etc over here.
Yes! Help us spread the word about Rafiki Mwema. Post a banner on your blog, website — anywhere you can embed images. Just right click and save the image of your choice. Head over to our resources page to get your badges.
We have many items for sale in our very own online store. We have established this store with our products to help cover the running costs of running our charity. These costs include bank fees, website subscription costs, printing, postage, promotions etc. 100% profits from the sales of all items in this store help us cover the costs mentioned above.
The main thing we want you to know about this model is that we aim to have 100% of all donations go directly to the running costs of the house. Not 50%, or 75% but a whole 100%.
Not only do we have many Rafiki Goodies for sale direct from Rafiki HQ but we also have a store over at RedBubble! What the what you say?
RedBubble is a great company that allows you to upload your design and they can make almost ANYTHING with that design!
We get 20% from any sales made at our RedBubble shop and you get to rock the Rafiki merch to help us spread the good word!
Thank you for your interest in helping us at Rafiki Mwema with the help of your business!
They say ‘it takes a village’ and we completely agree! Our team of busy ‘Meerkats’ are an essential part in the foundation and day to day operations of Rafiki. Best suited to small businesses.
If you are a business interested in donating a portion of your sales to Rafiki, we say go for it! This is a great way to raise funds, awareness and start conversation.
In order to become a Business Buddy we require that you register your interest with us, outlining your goal and how you aim to reach it. Once you have hit a minimum fundraising target of $500 we will promote your initiative to our engaged audience through our online channels, giving you that extra fundraising boost!
Find the form to fill in over here and please let us know if you have any questions at all. Thanks once again
Rafiki Mwema means ‘Loyal Friend’ and that is what we will be to these young girls and boys.
The impact of sexual abuse and the horrific circumstances around the lack of care and support for our girls is heart breaking. We have little girls as young as 2 years old with us, up to teenagers who are now 15. There is so much stigma around being a child who has been raped.
Because we know that working with the girls is really dealing with the product and not with the problem we opened our first boys project 2 years ago. We now have 2 houses where we therapeutically support boys who have survived the horrors of living alone on the streets, some boys from the tiny age of 5 years old. these boys have been beaten, abused, used as sexual playmates for both men and women, often for the price of a cup of tea and without support, could go on to continue that cycle of abuse.
At Rafiki Mwema we work with our boys to respect themselves and others. We give them the values to become safe husbands and fathers. We help them to be able to be loved.
All our children live as a family, but in separate houses. They are therapeutically parented and have regular therapy as individuals and in groups. They are supported to have safe contact with their families. they are loved.
We work with families; in the communities; the schools; churches; villages; with the government officials to ensure the cycle of abuse is broken and children are able to live as children should.
We are totally committed to supporting the children who have experienced things we could not even imagine and to help them heal their trauma. We are looking at a family who will grow to love and be loved.
All volunteers at Rafiki Mwema must have a current police check and Working With Children Card, blue card or the equivalent. No volunteer to Rafiki Mwema would not be left unattended with the children at any time. This helps ensure the safety of all of our children at all times.
To protect their privacy and confidentiality, volunteers and visitors should not discuss the children’s trauma histories without express permission of the Rafiki Mwema staff. Full details of the children’s trauma may not be disclosed if it is deemed not necessary in order to work and live around the children. When discussing the children’s stories online, their real names are never used. If an accompanying photo is used, it will never match the story being discussed. These measures help to ensure that the child’s safety and confidentiality is protected.
Rafiki Mwema is not a religious based organisation. However, many of our Kenyan staff identify as Christian, and this is the dominant religion in Kenya. It is important that we continue to support the children’s beliefs and ensure that they are able to attend a church if they wish to do so. Other children may also choose to accompany them or their key worker to church.