The Christmas season is a time for giving and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Kenya has embodied that spirit with a generous gift to the Dagoretti Child Protection and Development Centre, a project of Amref Health Africa in Kenya. A team from GSK visited the centre, which seeks to rescue and rehabilitate street children and other vulnerable children and reintegrate them into their families and communities.
The children who could not contain their joy as they were treated to a wide variety of delicacies and a dun time od games including football, table tennis and badminton. To cap it all, the GSK team joined the children in giving the centre a facelift with new coat of paint, and artistic depiction by the children of suffering and hope.
Joan Wakori, the GSK Commercial Excellence Lead for Kenya and East Africa, described the experience as refreshing. “The fact that the children were all in good spirits and joyful, was such a fulfilment moment for me. The environment in which the rescue centre is situated is safe and conducive for the children,” she said.
GSK team and the children cleaning the path ways
The centre was started by Amref Health Africa in 2000 with the objective of rescuing children living in vulnerable situations and run high risks of ending up in the streets. The facility has provided a safe space where children in street situations can get food, health care, counselling, remedial education and talent development.
Ann (not her real name) is one such beneficiary. She joined the centre in 2005 at the age of ten after going through a painful experience of sexual abuse. Ann was successfully enrolled in primary school under the support of Amref Health Africa. She is currently finishing her secondary school education and is hopeful of emerging fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to make a lasting impact in the society.
GSK team playing table tennis with the children from Amref Child Protection and Development Centre Dagoretti
Patricia Kwamboka the Project Manager for Centre, said the initiative has succeeded in championing the rights of children. “Children living in the streets are exposed to a very harsh life that is void of parental care and supervision. Their rights are violated and they are easily exposed to violence from members of the public. It takes a lot in terms of time, effort and money, but it is a worthwhile investment,” she said.
She thanked GSK for the generous gifts to the children and contribution to the Centre.