Sometimes it is good to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to do something different. A couple of weeks ago, I did just that and joined the SDG team of volunteers as they visited a police station. My previous experiences of police stations include reporting that a matatu I was in was hijacked and dumped and I was robbed of everything (not a pleasant experience or friendly environment) and getting an abstract for my lost ID (slightly better but still nerve-wracking). This time was to be different!
We had prepared flasks of tea and cookies to share with the officers as we chatted with them and appreciated their work. I had my three year old with me and he was spotted by one of the traffic cops….who suddenly became very animated when he recognized my son as one of the group of children that shout “HI!!!” and wave as they pass each traffic cop on the way to and from school. This broke the ice as I explained that we started this after Josphat, a friend of SDG who happens to be a police officer, told us that people don’t really greet the police and aren’t friendly to them. From the traffic cop’s reaction, the kids saying “hi” definitely seems to brighten their day a little.
I know that the police are usually stereotyped very negatively…but they are not all the same and believe it or not, there are good ones out there. As one of the officers told us “If a business man does something wrong his name is in the headlines in the media. If a police officer does something wrong the headline reads “POLICE OFFICER DOES XXX” and we are all treated the same which makes our job more difficult.”
The young volunteers we were with listened closely to his words as he continued to tell us “People don’t realise what we have to see. We go to really bad car accidents and pull people out the cars, attend grizzly murders and deal with the bodies, see domestic abuse, go to places where there has been unrest and see bodies in terrible states. Then we are expected to come in to work and just carry on.” One of the youths then asked “Do you think that contributes to the aggression we see in the police?” “Yes! Definitely!” was the officer’s response as he went on to explain that they get no counselling for what they endure.
Our visit was short but from the various interactions we had it was a very positive experience. The police appreciated people taking time out to talk to them and see them as individuals AND the youths began to understand some of the challenges the police face every day and the toll that takes on them. I was really touched by the conversations and look forward to more of these interactions in the coming months!
If you would like to join us on a future police station visit, please get in touch.
“What motivates you to work with Simply Do Good?” That’s a question I was asked this week during a meeting with a new contact. It didn’t take me long to answer.
I want to create a better world for my son. He’s only three now so there is time to shift the culture and move back to a place where people really look out for each other and help one another. A world that is slightly kinder than the one in which we live today.
Part of our discussion in the meeting was around Giving Tuesday. Anyone who has followed me on social media or spoken to me recently will have heard about this event that is happening on 27th November. If not, you can find out some details on our recent post. Working for an organisation called Simply Do Good, it’s inevitable that I will have the chance to do something at work on this day. However, I’ll also make a point to do something at home so that my son can see that it’s important that we think of others.
At a recent workshop I attended, there was a suggestion that the subject of philanthropy could be brought in to the school curriculum. The general consensus was that the younger we can teach children how to think of others, the more it will become second nature to them and not something they have to sit down and plan.
Until that happens, I’m happy to use days like Giving Tuesday as a reminder to myself and my son that we all have something we can give and it’s nice to brighten someone’s day by sharing what we have.
JOIN US!! Find a way that you can give your times, skills or resources on Giving Tuesday or use it as a day to give thanks or encouragement to others. Make sure you use #GivingTuesdayKe when you share your story.
Have you ever thought what you have to give? Skills, time, energy, stuff, money…Whatever you have, the 27th November is a great opportunity to put it to good use. Giving Tuesday falls after Black Friday and is all about using what you have to help others. We have some great ideas to share and would love to see how YOU can get involved.
Check out the links below for our suggestions for how individuals and businesses can GIVE on Giving Tuesday, as well as how non-profits can make use of the internationally recognised event.
We’re excited to be partnering with the East Africa Philanthropy Network for Giving Tuesday this year and have been helping organisations find ways to get involved. We’re also connecting organisations and individuals who can work together to have impact. If you’ve got any of the resources listed above and are looking for ideas of how to use them on Giving Tuesday, get in touch.
We’re coming up with some great ideas for how our volunteers can get involved so if you’d like to join us, we’d love to hear from you!
If you read our recent post about volunteer training in Nairobi, you'll know that the volunteers were asked to paint rocks....and did so with great enthusiasm!
This was part of our new project called Nairobi Rocks. The idea is really simple. You paint positive, encouraging messages on rocks and hide them somewhere in Nairobi. When someone finds one, they have the option of just taking a picture and leaving it, taking it home or hiding it somewhere else.
We've already had rocks hidden at The Hub shopping mall, Arboretum, University of Nairobi, Uhuru Park, Memorial Gardens and a couple of other spots. If you happen to find one, please let us know on the Nairobi Rocks group on Facebook or our NairobiRocks Instagram account.
Otherwise, we hope you'll get painting some rocks of your own and start spreading inspiration!! Having painted some special rocks for International Peace Day, our next collection will be for World Mental Health Day on the 10th October. Please join us by hiding or seeking.
When is the last time someone did well to a cop? The police department has been tainted by all manner of controversies in Kenya. This has made many people shun from showing love and kindness to the men and ladies in blue. However, a group of young people from Simply Do Good (SDG) went against the grain and showed love and kindness to our offices in blue. This was remarkable as the turnout was impressive and you could see the young tucks yearning to do good to the police. SDG main partners Tin Roof Foundation was available to give the guidelines and frameworks on how the whole process was going to happen. Josphat, the leading facilitator from the police’s side showed the team how they could go about the charity work.
“Nyinyi ni akina nani? Nimekuwa polisi miaka mingi lakini sijawaiona mtu yeyote akifanyia polisi hivi,” (Who are you guys? I have been in the police service for a long time and I have never seen anyone do something like this to a police). These were sentiments of one police man who almost shed tears upon seeing the young volunteers from SDG serve him and fellow police officers with coffee and cookies. The SDG team was serving the police, handing them coffee and tea sachets, talking to them about work and challenges they experience as well as cleaning the environment. The team working on cleaning the environment picked trash all over the police station. The tea and coffee making and cookie distribution, well known as the catering team, made sure they served every cop coming and going out of the police station as well as the people available. It was impressive seeing the cops wearing the smiles as they sipped the coffee and talked about work.
The day was summarized with a chit-chat with the cops. They were so thankful for the good gesture shown to them. The SDG team was happy to have touched a life and it targets to do good to both the police officers and the offenders. Suffice to say, we are just humans gotten with circumstance sometimes. Therefore, touching a life of both the police and someone locked up will be a good start to restore the relationship between a civilian and the police department in the country. Even that police person you see putting on the blue uniform is a civilian first before s/he became a police officer. They are there to maintain law and order as they serve their country. Remember, we are all battling with something in our lives; therefore, it will cost you nothing to show love and kindness to any person you come across with in life. That police officer is also human. Of course, with the wave of selfies and various social media with captions, the day could not end without making memories through flashing phone cameras, posing with police men and women exhibiting electric smiles all over Pangani police station.
Post by Emmanuel Mamadi, SDG Volunteer
What would you think of if a friend invited you for a training and when you arrive you see fully grown people painting rocks? Normal is boring, so I would stay!
This is the sight our new volunteers were met with when they came for our SDG Rafiki Volunteer Training. For those who came to test the waters, they found a new family that was more than ready to welcome them and for the veterans it was yet another beautiful learning experience that brought with it new friends.
Sunday afternoons are meant to be enjoyed and that is exactly what the SDG Rafiki Volunteers did! The energetic group started streaming into the venue as early as 1:30 pm ready to learn. Led by our very capable Intern Shirley, they were taken through a stone painting activity which they indulged in heartily. SDG Rafiki has created such a warm environment for the volunteers that no volunteer felt out of place, not even our 13 year old volunteer who went ahead to show the other volunteers how to paint the stones. The joy of being able to indulge in an activity that would be considered childish by many was evident. Giggles filled the air as everyone tried outshining each other in painting.
By 3pm nearly all the thirty volunteers had arrived at the venue and seated ready to learn. The ice breaker psyched everyone for what was to come as one of our longest serving volunteer Beth helped to serve snacks and arrange the SDG T-shirts for sale on the display table. Our other volunteer, Mamadi offered to direct the new members to the venue and later on led in a really entertaining ice-breaker. SDG Rafiki is a large family filled with individuals who don’t tire of doing good.
Shawn Koonce, our founder led the volunteers through an educative session on the history, vision, values and goals of SDG Rafiki, the role an SDG Volunteer can play in improving their community and even went ahead to share with the volunteers our Christian beliefs which are the backbone of what we do. The concentration on the volunteers’ faces was evident proof of how they were internalizing everything. Questions and comments made the session fun and interactive.
I took the volunteers through a segment on ethical volunteering and Shirley finished off with a lively session about our social media pages and how the volunteers could get more involved. She finally shared what the stone painting was about. Isn’t it awesome that a group of amazing human beings can just agree to paint stones without questioning why they are being made to paint the stones? Well that is just how awesome SDG Rafiki Volunteers are! The excitement on realizing that they were going to write an inspirational message and hide the painted stone somewhere in the CBD once it dried for someone else to find was on another level.
The event ended on a high note with one of the volunteers sharing an SDG that the volunteers randomly did during our Vision Africa SDG relocation deed and Shawn Koonce rewarding the volunteers who took part in the relocation deed with a certificate of appreciation. The volunteers enjoyed taking photos showing off their certificates and welcoming the new members to the team as some helped tidy up the conference room for the next users. Everyone left more educated, excited and looking forward to the next training.
I foresee a great future for SDG Rafiki!
Post by Petra Nguono, Intern
A couple of weeks ago, a group of 26 volunteers came together to help one of our friends, Vision Africa, which had recently moved premises. The task for the day was to carry all the furniture, equipment and other items that had been stored in a nearby building, sort them and set them up in their new location.
For almost 4 hours, the team worked tirelessly alongside staff and students from Vision Africa to ensure that the job was completed. Of course as this was an SDG deed, there was a fun atmosphere with laughter, music and even dancing at some points! There was also an opportunity for the volunteers to learn about the work of Vision Africa from Programs Manager Mary Mwangi.
Our thanks go to all the volunteers who gave up time on a Saturday…and lots of energy…to complete this deed. Thanks also to Vision Africa for the opportunity to serve and for the delicious meal of githeri that was provided for volunteers.
If you are interested in participating in future SDG deeds, please get in touch.
PS. Don’t just take our word for it that the day was great….here’s what our volunteers had to say
My journey as a volunteer has been so worth it! I would never trade the joy that comes with freely giving myself to serve for anything else in this world. I have been a volunteer for close to ten years. My motto is "do good anyway"! In life, no one owes you any kindness but you owe yourself the happiness that comes with doing good. It is not about what someone acknowledging what you do, it is about rising higher than the need to be recognized for doing good. It is about shining a ray of love in someone's life. It is not all about what you do but with what heart and intention you do it with. Volunteering teaches even the coldest of hearts connect with their selfless self.
My volunteer projects have ranged from offering to wash churches on Saturdays, babysitting for neighbours so that they can get time to do something they have not had time to do for long because they were overwhelmed by Parenthood, cleaning up police stations, volunteering to cook in homes of the less privileged, educating pedestrians and motorists in the streets on the importance of peace amongst many other activities.
One thing though that many don't realize is that volunteering is not for the faint at heart. There are many challenges that come with it. The biggest being the doubt that humanity serves you when you are volunteering. It is a sad fact that humanity is so used to evil that it is hard to imagine someone doing good without an ulterior motive. I have been mocked, ridiculed and even insulted in the course of my volunteer work, but that is not anything worth deterring me from pressing on. I continue doing good anyway!
My greatest reward for being a volunteer is the genuine smiles and happiness I leave those I served with. In my opinion, there is no currency in the world that can ever be higher in value than a genuine smile served from a grateful soul. I will spread love around this world like it's a virus. I will encourage those around me to volunteer and remind humanity that we all have a helping nature inside us, we just need to step out of our comfort zones to activate it.
Post by Petra Neemah, Intern
We’ve talked about skills and resources but there’s another thing that you can use to simply do good…..your time.
If you have some time to spare you could consider doing one of these…..
Visit elderly – Life can be lonely when you get older. Whether it’s a relative, neighbour or someone in a home for the elderly, visit and take time to listen to their stories about the times before we were all caught up in TV, games and phones….you might just learn a thing or two!
Organise a clean-up – you don’t need skills or even a huge team of people. It starts with you and your own local environment. Just pick up some trash and dispose of it in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Help at church/mosque/temple – There are always opportunities to volunteer and what better cause than your church/mosque/temple? Ask what you can do to help and see if there is a regular way to contribute your time.
Read to small kids – Listening to storybooks has been proven to help children with their literacy, it can also spark an interest in books and reading. Think of your favourite book from when you were young, find a copy and read it to a group of small children. Maybe they can suggest the next story they would like to hear!
Coach kids in schoolwork – Did you know that there are several different ways in which we learn? Some people need to see or feel how something works, others need to read about it or hear it being talked about. Teachers often don’t have time to understand what works for each child in their class but you could support what they are teaching by finding different ways to explain to either one child or a group after school as they do their homework.
Chat to security guards – We often just walk past the people who spend hours outdoors in all weathers working to protect us. Stop and say hi, get to know their names, make conversation….help their day pass a little more quickly and make them feel valued.
Visit someone in hospital – Hospitals can be very lonely places at a time when you are already feeling low. Ask at your local hospital to see if there are any patients who don’t have visitors and offer to sit with them during visiting time, share a few words of encouragement and maybe even help them with some homemade food or a snack.
As always, we would love to hear how you choose to Simply Do Good. Please tag @SDGKenya on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your stories.
Each and every one of us has something we can use to simply do good. Take a look around you and we’re sure you have more resources than you realise. As always, we’re here with some inspiration to get you started.
Food - What’s in your cupboards this week? Can you make an extra meal from what you have and share it with someone? Or make a batch of mandazi or chapatis to give out to people who would appreciate them?
Shamba - We hope those of you who are farmers get a bumper crop this season. If you have some maize and beans to spare you could donate them to a school or somewhere that runs a feeding programme. Encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same and you can really help kids get the most out of their learning if they get a nutritious lunch.
Clothes - In cold season, there is always someone who could benefit from an extra layer of warm clothing. Have a look through your clothes and see if you have one or two things you no longer wear and could pass on to someone who could make good use of them.
Car - We know that some of our SDG followers are fortunate enough to be car owners. If you’re one of them, can you think of someone you could offer a ride to? Take someone to do their shopping at the supermarket, give a colleague a ride to or from work, help someone visit a family member in hospital….
Books - Do you have a book that has really inspired you or helped you through tough times? Or are you still hanging on to those books you used in high school or campus? Rather than leaving them lying on a shelf, let them serve their purpose and help someone else.
Bags - Who used to have a drawer full of plastic bags and has ended up with one of reusable bags??? If like us your cupboard is now full because you keep forgetting to take one to the supermarket…..sort through them and see if you have a few you could hand in to your local duka or mama mboga so that they can help out a customer who is as forgetful as you!
Junk - Want to help the environment AND some kids? Find a project that can make use of some of the items you throw away like plastic boxes, toilet tissue holders, bottles etc. Some schools or projects can use these for art or even music lessons!
If you’re inspired by this post and decide to put your resources to good use, please tag @SDGKenya on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tell us how it goes.
Posts are by our staff team and guests. Please check the bottom of each post for details of the author.