It has been a whole year since we began this incredible journey of sharing the moments that have shaped and reshaped the communities we are privileged to serve. The tapestry of life, forever evolving, has provided us with an abundance of inspiring individuals, from the youth we have encountered, to the school communities who have warmly embraced us, and the selfless support of our committed donors. Our blogs have become a chronicle, showcasing the experiences that have touched our hearts and compelled us to act.
As we stand at the crossroads of another year, it seems only right that we reflect on the year nearly over and draw inspiration from the words of a true humanitarian, and someone I look up to, the late Nelson Mandela.
His profound statement, “What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,” encapsulates the essence of our mission at the Amara Charitable Trust.
This year, we embarked on an extraordinary journey fueled by an overwhelming sense of hope. Along the way, we witnessed the resilience and the victorious spirit of the human soul, which left an indelible mark on our souls. As always, my experiences in the communities and especially with the youth, continue to inspire me and enrich my life. I am always humbled by the deep and meaningful connections formed with the very communities we seek to serve.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our generous donor community, whose unwavering support propelled us forward. It is through their selflessness that we were able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the youth we encountered.
As I reflect on our journey, I am reminded time and time again, that amidst the darkness of the world, there is always room for hope, for compassion, and for the transformative power of unity.
I celebrate the moments of joy, the strides towards positive change, and the countless lives touched by the Amara Charitable Trust. From providing essential learning resources to empowering individuals with education and skills, I hope that our collective efforts have resonated with Mandela’s vision of a life well-lived.
It has been a remarkable year for Amara Charitable Trust. We had three successful fundraisers and handed over two new ablutions blocks and 6 renovated classrooms and workshops to the community at Mitaboni Vocational Training Centre. In addition to this, we have continued to support 7 primary schools with 5,820 hot lunches daily when school is in session. We supported157 scholarship students in Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions, as well as secondary schools to ensure that disadvantaged youth have access to educational opportunities. We also extended our impact to 17 schools, where we have provided over 12,000 library books, school stationery, exercise books, and school furniture. On top of all of this, we conducted two workshops on menstrual health and pad-making, actively engaging with the students at Ewuaso Girls Secondary School and a Maasai women’s Group. We held our first ever workshop targeting young men on self-care, cultural practices and respecting diversity. All of this was capped by regular school visits to the schools we support, and new bonds of friendships formed with likeminded individuals.
Yes, a lot has happened this year, but my personal highpoint has been to witness the transformation of our TVET students on two separate occasions.
In June, we attended an open day at I&M Foundation for 23 first-year scholarship students who are beneficiaries of their generosity, and it was a deeply moving experience. Looking back on my first encounter with these remarkable individuals in 2022 during their scholarship interviews, I vividly remember their hesitancy and uncertainty about the path that lay ahead. Back then, they were timid, almost afraid to voice their thoughts, as if a single misstep in their words could shatter their dreams of securing a scholarship.
Fast forward to nearly a year, and the transformation is nothing short of incredible. During the open day, we witnessed a beautiful metamorphosis as these once-reserved individuals now stood before us with confidence, passionately sharing their dreams and aspirations. Their resilience in overcoming personal challenges and fears to pursue a brighter future was truly inspiring. It was a moment that filled me with pride, knowing that we had played a small part in empowering them to embrace the journey toward their aspirations.
Boniface Mwangangi’s transformation has been the most inspirational. When we met him in September 2022, he had no expectations and was almost resigned to his fate of taking care of his sick mum back in his rural home. Today, he has completed a year of studies in motor vehicle technology and has taken on a leadership role among his peers. During his free time, he works to support himself and participates in activities with the community. He is currently completing his three-month internship with Mitchell Cotts Freight (K) Limited in Mombasa.
In September, we held our first ever graduation event for 26 students who have successfully completed their two-year formal training and are now either working, completing their internships or looking for full-time employment opportunities. The gift of education is often taken for granted, and its true significance can elude us. It is only when we listen to the testimony of a student whose life has undergone a profound transformation that we begin to fully appreciate the privilege of education. Knowing that these students have a future filled with promise and opportunities is a manifestation of our vision to educate, empower and enhance the lives of youth in rural Kenya.
Ivyen Wambui is a young woman on the fast track to a future full of opportunities and promise. Her training at Kibodeni College has opened up a whole new world of experiences for her, from doing food service during the Royals State visit to competing and winning in a national cooking competition. This win will see her travel to Tunisia. It is a remarkable journey for this young shy woman being raised by a single mum of five and who, when we interviewed her, was very emotional about being abandoned by the father.
Education is the best gift we can give the disadvantaged youth. It is one thing that no one can ever take away from them. Education whether it is studying at technical college or secondary school has the power to change the life of our students, their families and community. This wise saying by Maimonides sums up the value of education best.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” —Maimonides
In the midst of your busy lives, I hope you will take a minute to pause and reflect and that Mandela’s words serve as a poignant reminder that true significance lies not in the length of our days but in the depth of our impact.
How have we, as individuals and as an organization, contributed to making a tangible difference in the lives of the disadvantaged? What is your impact? Who inspires you to bring about a positive impact?