Amos Kimani was born and raised by a single mother in Kinangop, Nyandarua County. He suffered a lifetime of hardships in his childhood but retained an incredible energy in pursuing his dream.
In 2003, Amos, his mother and siblings moved to Nairobi to live with his uncle. This did not last long. The cost of living was so high and after a while, his uncle was unable to care for them. The family moved out to a single room house in Waithaka, Nairobi.
With only two sufurias (cooking pans) and a mattress in the room, Amos was uncomfortable living with his mother and siblings. The food available was also not enough for all of them.
“There was nothing for us to eat. We could see how our mother was struggling to find food for us. If we were lucky, we could get one meal. Life was very hard so I kept thinking of ways in which I could help my mum,” recalls Amos.
He and his brother went to the streets to look for odd jobs to help their mother out.
“I was young and vulnerable. I started selling sugarcane and collecting scrap metal for sale to help my mother and siblings. I was labelled ‘chokora,’ a street word for street children,” he says.
In 2004, in the streets of Waithaka, Amos met a staff member from the Amref Child Protection and Development Centre who advised him to join the centre. He agreed.
At the centre, Amos discovered his love for cooking. He enrolled in cooking classes at the centre and after a while, he served as a Chef, allowing him to make some money to complete his studies.
His friends at the centre also helped him to hone his passion for playing football. He was a star player at a football tournament dubbed ‘Tamani Amani Mtaani,’ a peace initiative launched after Kenya’s 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Amos later formed a girls’ team – Soccer Queens, to engage young girls in football during their leisure time. The group has facilitated many girls to get sponsorships through their excellent skills in football.
In 2016, Amos received a Confederation of Coaching from North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCAF) license from Brazil. Last year he attained a Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) license in Portugal and his first basic UEFA license in Spain. Now a certified FIFA coach and Dagoretti Child Protection Centre Champion, Amos appreciates the support of the Italian government that supported the Centre in ensuring that his dreams and those of other vulnerable children come true.
“We were exposed to harsh lifestyles in the streets. Some of my friends were killed, some died from diseases. But here I am, alive. I survived and it is all because of the Amref Dagoretti Child Protection Centre. Dagoretti is a place that continues to give me joy, contentment and fulfilment. It is a place I call home,” he says.
His defining quality is his unwavering desire to give back to his community and help other children.
“The Centre gave me an opportunity to dance, eat and be happy with other children, which is why I give back to my community,” he says.
Since its inception, the Amref Dagoretti Child Protection and Development Centre has supported 2,000 children with access to education, 850 adolescents and young people facilitated to attain vocational training over and 46,000 children and community members informed about child protection and health care during medical camps in the community and edu-sports tournaments targeting children with street connections.
The programme has also trained 17,000 parents on child protection, parenting skills, family planning and gender-based violence.