The Become a Friend project links children with other children, continents apart.
BAF is an offspring project, taking its inspiration from a larger healthcare programme based in Northern Kenya – the Nabakisho Healthcare Programme, initiated in 2007 as result of Kate Jarvey’s first visit to this region. Based at the lodge at Ol Lentille Kate spent time learning firsthand what the needs of this resilient pastoralist community were. At the time of this visit the community was very poorly served by any healthcare services. Thanks to the lodge directors, John and Gill Elias, a small dispensary that had been closed for ten years was reopened. They had also engaged the services of a nurse Stephen Njorge, who explained to me the difficulties of delivering coherent healthcare to the community he was endeavoring to serve. The dispensary was under-resourced and could provide no trained personnel assistance. As a response to these difficulties the Nabaksiho Healthcare Project was created.
NHP is a community care programme funded by a private non-profit American foundation. NHP is delivering healthcare services into homes and remote villages, as well as developing the former dispensary into a new healthcare center of excellence for this region. To find out more about the success of NHP please click here
As health awareness began to grow in the community there was a unified recognition that health awareness must begin in the schools. It was at this point in time that the Become A Friend project was initiated.
BAF is funded by the Hestia Foundation a registered UK charitable trust (registration number 1095957). BAF provided a fun and creative outlet for children to connect with other children from different worlds. This connection is sensitively mentored with a view to sharing messages about healthcare and education. The Kenyan schools enjoy regular visits from the NHP trained community health workers and a s result of these visits general health and hygiene standards are greatly improved in the schools, and practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) are being curtailed.
Become A Friend now has eight Kenyan schools participating in the project, which are twinned with English and Irish schools. The success of BAF is now the story of all the participating schools and the teachers and children who have found unique sharing opportunities. BAF is flourishing because of children who are literally worlds apart. They are enjoying a friendship they could not previously have imagined.
Children open doors, in our hearts, in our minds and, as BAF proves, in our world!
Kate Jarvey, Trustee