With a crime rate of 80% until recently, Mathare, Nairobi’s second largest slum has no work for adults, or schooling for youngsters. With nothing to do except hang around street corners, most young people get involved in theft, drugs and prostitution, usually around the age of 13 or 14.
Murder is common and HIV/AIDS is rampant. It can be a scary place.
However, a fantastic project has been set up by local people to change all this. Its aim is to engage the youth in activities, provide work and train them to earn for themselves, rehabilitate drug users, prostitutes and criminals and encourage young people to take a full part in society.
Already, with community policing by ex-gangsters, they claim to have reduced the crime rate from 80% to just 5%.
A jewellery workshop employs about 20 teenagers and young adults, and in a local field, football training takes place every day.
Nearby, dance sessions and training in acrobatics are held daily in a community centre. Many other activities are planned. The dancing is technically imperfect – but the teenagers are so full of enthusiasm that they are absolutely enthralling.
These kids have never travelled, but their lives have already been massively changed by having something positive to do. When Jeremy Piercy (Shared Earth UK) and Kathleen Hanlon (The Zuri Foundation) promised to organise a tour of Britain for them in summer 2013, they could not believe it.
To raise funds for this tour, Jeremy and Kathleen will be taking time off work to “walk the walk”. Joining them will be ex-street child Milton Obote, now manager of the jewellery workshop in Mathare. A ‘rehabilitated gangster’, he came out of crime after his four best friends had all been killed. He will be walking with Jeremy and Kathleen across Britain, telling his story on the way.
John Mucheru, a community leader in the slum, also hopes to walk for 600 miles.
Would you fancy joining them, or supporting the event in another way?
The organisers are looking for people from every section of society. Get in touch if you’d like to join us on the WALK AGAINST CRIME, even for just a day!
We’re also looking for people who are in the media and people with marketing skills. We want to ensure the tour next July is a real success. We’re already getting some good articles and interviews in the local media.
Can you help promote us?
Thousands of leaflets and posters have now been printed about WALK AGAINST CRIME. Help to promote us – phone 0151 548 8966 for free copies.
NEWS UPDATE – the amount pledged so far has risen to £13,500 (July 2012). Thanks fo everyone. Funding is being managed by a small charity called The Zuri Foundation. You can find out how to donate via Zuri Foundation`s JustGiving page.
Stop press – read the latest Walk Against Crime Blog post.
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And we would love to read your thoughts on this initiative – please leave your comments below….
Paul at THE FAIR TRADE STORE.