"My mother started this work. There were many children left without parents due to the post-election violence at the end of 2007. We had to care for children; there was no-one or no home for them to go to."
Beatrice and her mother founded Fruitful Talent Centre in Kibera, home to a million people who lack water, sewerage and power. Fruitful is a happy place, even though things are tough. Seventeen children, the youngest three years old, live at Fruitful and 100 + children attend the informal school for kindergarten and pre-primary.
Manasprings “Tell us more about Fruitful Talent Centre?”
Beatrice “The Centre, which started in 2007, is dedicated to care for orphaned and vulnerable children, child headed families, and child mothers. We provide shelter for disadvantaged children in Kibera, early childhood development for young girls and boys, a feeding program for poor children, and education for primary and secondary school students, as well as promoting the talents of youth through drama, poetry, acrobats and other activities for poverty alleviation. We are all involved in making unique handicraft and jewellery using recycled paper, with the proceeds helping to pay for school fees.”
Manasprings “What keeps you motivated to continue to help children?”
Beatrice “When I see the attitudes of children changing, and the smiles that reflect their lives, this builds hope in me.”
Manasprings “What are the challenges at Fruitful and in your community?”
Beatrice “The rooms for the boys and girls’ dormitories, and the area for the early childhood education are all made of mud, with timber poles and iron sheeting for roofing. This can be a challenge, as they are congested with so many children who live, eat, sleep, learn and also play here. We’d love to have better buildings and a bigger area for children to play.
Other challenges we face within Fruitful and the community is the lack of specialised care and education for children with special needs, adequate funding for teachers and other workers within the Centre, and the inability, due to lack of finances, to send students to university or vocational training.”
Manasprings “What are the solutions to some of these challenges?”
Beatrice “Definitely partnering with others who are concerned for children in Kibera, and also undertaking different activities to generate more income for Fruitful. Whatever the challenges, I will continue with Fruitful Talent Centre, as I am not a photocopy; I am an original! I believe that I can make it.”
Manasprings “What do you most love about Fruitful?”
Beatrice “I believe that Fruitful has changed many children in good ways. It has joined broken families, added hope and given value to life. We have created jobs for families living within the neighbourhood. This is what I love and it has kept us all busy.”
Manasprings “How has Manasprings helped you and your organisation?”
Beatrice “Manasprings has helped me to understand who I am in the community, and that I can stand strong as an ethical leader. I’ve learnt not to give up in my decisions or work, and to be courageous! At one of the Manasprings Events, I learnt that I should hear the rhythm of my own music and dance to my own tune. Manasprings has showed me how to keep good records and how to use money wisely, and the importance of being faithful and kind to others and myself.”
Manasprings “What do you hope for?”
Beatrice “I hope and I am proud to improve the lives of orphans and child headed families. I hope that special needs children will have a modern building to be cared for and educated. I also hope to continue to nurture the talents of children and youth, and to have a big space to create employment for youth. Above all, I thank Manasprings for training me and giving support to Fruitful. I am blessed. At the end of the day I am content, knowing that even if I can’t help many, I make a difference in someone’s life, putting a smile of hope upon their face.”