Posts are by our staff team and guests. Please check the bottom of each post for details of the author.
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Inspired by Safaricom’s #NdotoZetu campaign, we’ve decided that for the next few weeks we’re going to be sharing lots of stories of people impacting communities and ways for YOU to do the same.
We’ve all heard that expression “Sharing is caring”. Last week, we got to see an amazing example of that in action.
Our parent organisation, Tin Roof Foundation, is working with a corporate client to help them with their CSR. This involves finding ways to impact the local communities in which they work. For the past week, they have been hosting training sessions in interior parts of Nakuru to train teachers on understanding children with special needs and a few activities which can be used for teaching them. The facilitators are two retired headteachers from Special Needs Schools in the UK who have over 50 years of experience between them and want to share this with other teachers in order to improve the lives of children with special needs in Kenya.
The training has been a great success as the teachers have learned so much during the sessions…..but there’s more than that.
The second set of workshops were held in a school in Eburru. The Administrator of the school SHARED with a local high school teacher that there were two experts in Special Educational Needs working in the community for a couple of days. The high school teacher has two students who have special needs but no-one at the school is trained to support them.
It was explained that one of the students has cerebral palsy which has paralysed one side of his body. The facilitators asked some questions then made suggestions about how to make the boy more comfortable in class and around the school. This included encouraging him to put his paralysed hand in his trouser pocket to help him balance as he walked. The teacher was shocked and said she is forever telling him off for pocketing and asking if he has money in there. Within minutes she had called the school’s Director and SHARED what she had learnt so that the other teachers in the school know how to make life a little more comfortable for the boy while he is at school.
A life has been changed and a community will become a little bit more understanding of children with special needs due to a chain of people sharing information.
That is why we want to SHARE with you. Let’s work together to help get information to the people who need it. Let’s be inspired to share our skills, time and energy to help others. Let’s help make connections between those who have and those who are in need. Let’s find ways to show the people in our community that we are also #NaweKilaWakati.
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We came across this awesome post by Winnie from Nairobi Chapel Embakasi.......
"So, yesterday was #GivingTuesday. We visited #EmbakasiPoliceStation. At first when I was told about it, I was very excited, I think visiting people is another of my hobbies...hehe! Then, it later hit home that it's a police station we are actually visiting. I got really nervous, because of the misconception I've had about the police, the not so good encounters I had with them in the past ( don't over think...lol! ) and now, here I am, intending to visit people I am not so sure I see them as God wants me to... That Tuesday morning I told myself, I am going to do this and do it joyfully. I really petitioned heaven to change my heart, mind and any negativity I've carried through the years about these #GreatMenAndWomenWhoServeOurNation! Cause deep down I know if it's not done out of love, it's sin...You know...God heard my prayer and He answered it in a very amazing way...
To make the long story a little short.
From the visit...I learnt
1.The police are as human as you and I. They have families, go through challenges like you and I and they also feel stuff as deeply as we do.
2.The police are friendly, let down your guards...Yeah! You heard me right!
3.There are great men of integrity who fear God and serve in the police force. This gave me so much hope and confidence. I pray for more like these in our government. *smiles* To you who was like me...hey! Let all that negative perspective go! It's not always what it looks like... #NB: Spend time with people to discover who they really are, stories will just remain to be stories...blah blah blah! Lol!#SeePeopleThroughGod's #Eyes!
#ICelebrate every man and woman of God who stands for nothing less but #truth and #integrity in their service to this great nation. #ICelebrateEmbakasiPolice and their great leadership. #LongLive! May God continue to keep you and guard you in all your ways as He makes your cup to run over!
#KenyaNiKwetu! #ProudlyKenyan! #PoliceAreHumans! #FearlessInfluencers!#SoHappy! #GirlsWithSwords! #WithoutRival! #ThisIsGlory! *smiles* cc @ncembakasi @sdgkenya @givingtuesday.ke"
If you are inspired by Winnie's story, JOIN US on our next police station visit.
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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.
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“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.
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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!
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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