, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – When she set out for her volunteer mission to Kenya 2012, Lenore Boyd never envisioned a long stay in Africa. Now acclimatized to the environment and life in Kenya a joyful Boyd marvels at her successful mission six years on.
Boyd’s life changed after a casual meet-up with a street child as she walked along Nairobi streets and felt inspired to start Alfajiri Street Kids, a community based organization in Pangani with over 40 former street children already enrolled.
“I was approached by a young man holding a glue bottle and I asked him do you go to school? All he said was take me to school and I will throw this away,” Boyd explains.
“This boy really inspired me and challenged me to have a different view on the street kids. I argued that if all these kids need is education to keep them off the street something needs to be done.”
According to United Nations data released in 2015, Nairobi has a population of 60,000 children living in the streets and the number increases with each day.
Boyd who comes from a family endowed with rich artistic history and with a passion in art ventured to serve the street children with what she loves most – art.
“My family has a rich history with art right from my ancestors who are well known artists in my homeland country – Australia. I am an artist and always valued art and with this I started a talent school for the kids who do what they love best and are really passionate about it”, she said.
She defines art as therapy to the children, saying that they are able to express their deep inner feelings with the use of art.
According to Boyd, most of the children are faced with a tragic past that haunts them day in day out but with art they are able to express all this with no judgment thus helping them heal.
Alfajiri Street Kids not only deals with art but also encompasses other talents in addition to supporting the children access education.
John is one of their success stories amongst many who have been through Alfajiri. He successfully completed his studies was and he was able to pursue pastry through the organization’s support.
“I thank this organization for what they are doing. Apart from pastry, I’m a musician and in future I want to be a professional artist but all this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for Alfajiri,” an elated John explained.
With more action needed be taken to help the street children, Boyd notes their expansive idea is to share what they are doing with interested parties.
There has been success in doing so with a similar organization being started in Burundi but she notes more of such need to be started in Kenya.