By Oscar Pilipili
Gaudencia Oludhe’s visit to Kibera slums opened her eyes to something she had never known before. Here, in one of Africa’s largest slums, she found out, it is the way of life for a mature man to marry a girl; a norm for people to consume hard drugs without a care and child prostitution seems acceptable.
Parents, either because they are overwhelmed by the magnitude of responsibility or don’t just care, ignore their children and their needs.
Sometimes the men who marry girls sicken residents and they ‘arrest’ them. But the law intervenes in the culprits’ favour and releases the beastly men. Once they come back to the community, they harass the people and the victims.
Left in tears
This state of affairs left Oludhe, a preacher, in tears. She decided to do something about it — to ‘rescue’ one child at a time from this hell they knew as home. To achieve this, she started a centre through which she would reach many hopeless children.
For the Spring of Hope Community centre to take off, Rev Oludhe got an administrator to donate land in Agwambo area of Kibera. Right now, the centre takes care of 65 desperate children.
“I strongly believe that I was called by God to serve his people because every morning desperate children would keep on knocking at my door asking for food,” she explains.
Tried to run away
“I tried to run away and shift to Tena Estate but I met the same case with children coming to my house looking for food.
“I yielded to the call and decided to return to Kibera and start an organisation to support desperate children. I started off by using my personal money.”
Soon she got friends and donors who are helping her keep the dream of improving the lot of children in despair alive.
For example, the other day friends from the United Kingdom donated donated clothes and foodstuff to the children, who received the handouts with jubilation.
Roy Hirons of Rooms 4U Properties Company in the UK and Sherrie Anyango who is a teacher in the UK were so moved by the children’s situation that they decided to build a modern resource centre and a block of toilets at the facility which currently has a mud-walled block.
The resource centre will also be used to teach the children life skills, an activity they haven’t engaged in as the current abode can only accommodate a few poeple. They plan to educate adults on life skills as well.
Others helping give the children quality life include Medicins Sans Frontiers — Belgium. It operates four free clinics in the Kibera areas of Silanga, Kisumu Ndogo, Katwekera and Olympic. “The clinic in Olympic handles rape related cases which are said to be common in the slum while the rest of the facilities are for general treatment,” says youth peer educator Dorothy Anyango.