I recently went through the photo archives for Amara Charitable Trust, dating some fourteen years back.
What an incredible treasure trove of photos! It is a good record of the impact Amara continues to have in marginalized communities since our inception in 2008. From building classrooms and improving school infrastructure to providing scholarship opportunities or school lunches to some of the most vulnerable youth in our society, the photo archives tell a story of how lives are enhanced and communities empowered better than words ever could.
Amara’s vision to EDUCATE, EMPOWER and ENHANCE has remained at the heart of everything we do.
As I sorted through photos, I came across so many of children, just being children and living in the moment. Their pure, unadulterated joy leaps out at you from the photos. I wasn’t present when some of these were taken but it does not really matter, the story is the same: these young children have found the truth that escapes most of us and that is in order to find contentment in life, live in the moment with joy.
A young child will light up when you give them something as little as a pencil and will barely contain their excitement over a plate of maize and beans.
I continue to learn certain life lessons as we visit some of the most underprivileged schools and the experience is nothing short of humbling. There is a sense of gratitude and contentment in knowing that what we do could maybe be the catalyst for some of the joy captured in the photos. Not to be presumptuous but I certainly hope so!
Here are some of the cheerful faces from around our school communities.
The first three images are from Kyangoma Special Needs School. Located in Kikima Town, Makueni County, where we recently interviewed special needs students for enrollment into a mainstream technical training institution. In February 2021, we enrolled five students from Kyangoma here, and their transformation is remarkable. That is a story for another day and one that we hope will resonate with many who believe in creating meaningful learning opportunities for these special students.
Kenya is one of the few countries in Africa with a policy document articulating the provision of education for special needs children. The Draft Special Needs Education Policy is enshrined in federal legislation and serves as a roadmap for the education of children living with disabilities and ensures that they receive equal opportunities and access to an education.
Amara Charitable Trust has created playgrounds at some of the primary schools to encourage and enhance times of recreation, because we understand the importance of finding balance between work and play. Playtime at some of these public schools is non-existent due to lack of facilities or space. We have also donated equipment like skipping ropes, hula-hoops, etc. to schools. Providing an all-round learning experience for our students is in keeping with our mission.
Playtime is essential for these young children as it builds their confidence and allows them to learn and explore as well as form bonds of friendship that go beyond the classroom. I have many fond memories of my time in school, where recreation was encouraged during recess and lunch breaks. It is at these times that we learn to interact with others and develop some social skills.
And speaking of finding balance, sometimes it is just as important to rest when you need it. Life can become too much sometimes so be kind to yourself.