Friday, 6 July 2012

Background to forming Free Spirit

In June 2011 I came to work in Kenya with a company called ACTS as part of my placement year for my degree in Tourism Management, where I am still working to date. My job role has been focused in the Voluntourism sector, by which my work has been very focused within the community working with a number of community projects including a Baby Centre for Abandoned Children, an Orphange, a Pre-School, a support group of ladies with HIV and a School for the Deaf. Through working with these projects God has not only grown my heart, passion, and love for the needy and the poor, especially in my love for children which has become so deep rooted within me, but I have learnt so much about development, the right approach and methods to help the needy and the community through responsible approaches that empower the community in the long term. The book 'Helping Hurts' has been great material that expanded and grew my knowledge before coming to Kenya. Through practical work within the community I have really seen these principles applied, and the cultural problems, and damage that can be caused if it isn't applied. (And so much more!)

Alongside this I have been continuing my work in Mombasa with the boys I have been working with. After my visit to Mombasa in 2010 I took part in setting up a charity called 'Living Hope Africa',  (LHA) with two friends of whom I made the visit with. The charity was set up to support young adults that have come from a children's home, to relieve them from the current situations they are in providing relief and support, with the long term vision of empowering them to be in position where they can support themselves through jobs, or offering further educational opportunities to them which they once lacked.

Morris, Joseph, Myself, Emmanuel at Fort Jesus, Mombasa. (3 of the boys supported by LHA)
During this visit I spent time at a children's home, (of which the boys we came to support through LHA grew up) the short time I spent at the home something powerful happened, I felt so connected to them and I never knew why, I had this strong love for them after just some days and after returning to England that love never went, but the love and passion I had for them and to pray for them daily grew deeper, I know God had done something big and special within me. From this trip God did many powerful things within me, opening my eyes, putting passions and a love in my heart that I once never had but could only be from him, and within time they have continued to grow! Before this trip I hated children! And know children are my passion who would of ever thought it!

At the Children's Home in August 2011.
During my time in Kenya (2011-present) I have been able to build deep and solid relationships with the boys, where I have been able to really have an impact in their lives, helping them with situations, giving them guidance and support in life issues, and within their daily lives, encouraging and helping to grow them in the relationships with God. I have really learnt a lot from my time with the boys, it has been amazing to see them grow, but at the same time there has been a lot of difficult circumstances and situations that have risen, and a lot of drama to say the least, but it has grown me in so many ways throughout it all.

The work within LHA (charity) has been very challenging! A lot of challenges and circumstances came up, and it was when using the right principles to help people in the Kenyan community came to play. From my job working with projects, and really applying principles for development and empowering projects and people, giving a ''hand up'' not a 'hand out', really opened up the vision to the problems that occurred with the work we were doing. I have learnt so much through this, really educating me on the right way to help people, to run projects, and the principles I should apply and how to impact many with the work you do, helping a bigger cause and the bigger problem, rather than just helping a few!
Sometimes we can do things but we don't necessary know the right way, well we can think we do at the time, but we soon learn along the line when things happen maybe it wasn't the right way, and this is really what happened. However I wouldn't change anything as this has been a really valued experience teaching me and setting me up for the work I will be doing in the future. God always has a plan.

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