Sawa Sawa - It's OK
Since 2005, Sr. Lydia Pardeller FMSA has been working in Koragocho, and Kariobangi , slum areas in Nairobi, Kenya. A recent film, “Sawa Sawa” produced by a film crew from Austria, gives some insight into the lives of the local people, where daily life is all too often a fight for survival.
Touched by the plight of so many in need, especially children. Sr. Lydia set up a project known as “Hands of Care and Hope.” From the very beginning it was always the children who opened her heart.
Hands of Care and Hope is a rehabilitation centre with its offices in the Cheshire Home for the Elderly at Kariobangi. The project is also a ministry conducted by the FMSA in Kenya.
Seeing a great need for training and education for young people, Sr. Lydia Pardeller opened the centre in 2006.
The projects vision was to rehabilitate poor children from deprived areas before they joined formal schools. Located in Eastlands, Nairobi an area of slums and low- income earners, the children are usually from dump sites or may have simply dropped out of school. Teenage mothers, who initially earned a living through prostitution, are also cared for in the centre.
“A better future for the children and families in Kariobangi and Korogocho is our ambitious task” stated Sr. Lydia, in 2006, but this involved achieving several goals:
· A future with school education. and vocational training.
· Apprenticeships in secure working environments.
· Clean water supply and sanitation
· Adequate health care.
· Suitable housing.
Generous donors and volunteers from Austria have assisted Lydia and our Congregation in meeting these goals over the years.
“Hands of Care and Hope.” Provides for the future - a safe future , in which children, families and elderly are given nutrition, clean water, medical supplies and professional training.
Young people are a marginalised group in the slums of Kariobangi. Most have not accessed basic education. This makes them less successful in the job market. Caught in the poverty trap, they fall victim to poor housing, unemployment, low-income, unaffordable health provision, insecurity and police harassment, malnutrition, unwanted pregnancies, prostitution.
Young people are offered a way out of the slums. Professional training such as that promoted by bacaldrim – the Kornspitz Company, who helped finance the building of a bakery, also provided apprenticeship opportunities, future job opportunities, and ensured that the schoolchildren and elderly residents in the Cheshire Home received a daily supply of fresh bread.
Over a thousand children and adolescents receive formal education in this area. Smaller children attend St. Clare’s Primary School. Building construction is well underway to provide a secondary school.
The establishment of Secondary Schools, Training Centres , projects in fish farming, carpentry and construction, communication and I.T. skills are important steps towards ensuring independent mature living for young people in the area, with hope for the future, and encouraging responsible citizenship. Skills Training in H.C.H. assists youngsters in acquiring technical maturity and financial know- how to enable them to manage small businesses, thus facilitating self-reliance.
Sr. Lydia states: “We have to thank a lot of people, companies and institutions, all those who accompany us and finance the different project. We especially thank Caritas Carinthia, local upper Austrian Government and our volunteers”
The photographs of the children show happy, contented youngsters. Lively and well nurtured, from all that they have received from hands that have truly offered care and hope.