The Star Kids – Inteco partnership is further proof of our commitment to empower and transform the lives of young boys and girls in Kenya. Inteco is an innovative engine that is spearing change and striving to preserve girls’ dignity one pad at a time, and this is driven by the realisation that much still needs to be done to improve access to sanitary towels in low-income neighbourhoods.
Inteco thus sought to bridge this gap by introducing pad dispensers which allow girls to access pads anywhere, anytime, without restrictions on quantity. The installation and maintenance of these machines are done at no cost to the hosting institution, further boosting their attractiveness with the low-income demographic, where the need is greatest but funds remain a limiting factor.
Our first partnership session was held in September 2017 at Mukuru Primary School. We decided to focus the term on the issue of reproductive health, given its strong relevance and the fact that it’s one of Inteco’s core areas of competency.Understandably, we had more questions than we had time to answer and this prompted us to break-up the class of 100 girls into smaller groups in subsequent sessions, so that interactions could be more effective and personalised. The need for such targeted mentorship couldn’t have been more obvious as was revealed during our time with these young ladies. It was clear that many of the issues that we readily assume are addressed by parents or teachers are actually the ones given least airtime and, consequently, ones that our children grapple with most.
Going forward, we aim to adopt a dual gender approach so that young boys are just as empowered as their female counterparts. Our hope is that by intentionally creating open dialogue around the concerns facing our youth, we can begin to break the mental attitudes and beliefs that keep us retrogressive.
HelpLive is a Thailand-based Christian organization that is mainly involved in rescuing children from at-risk environs and providing them with an alternative safe environment, as well as health care, housing and an education. Most of these are children fleeing dire circumstances in their own countries due to geo- and sociopolitical events; the role that HelpLive plays in saving their lives and giving them new opportunities is thus of the greatest import.
Late in 2016, HelpLive held a mission in India with the aim of drumming up support and launching its activities in India. This mission was held in the state of Nagaland, which is one of two areas in India heavily comprised of Christians and with one of the greatest deviations from mainstream India in terms of life and culture. It is a land riddled with poverty, constant infighting (due to presence of armed militia trying to achieve independence from the state), large income disparities and a child demographic mainly comprised of orphans, child laborers and homeless children. These factors play a devastating role in robbing Nagaland population of requisite social amenities like health care and education, as well as predisposing the children to a future of juvenile delinquency.
Star Kids Initiative took part in this mission, which, other than serving to strengthen relationships between the two organizations, more importantly, achieved the following:
(i) Provided an important platform for ministering to state leaders in Nagaland on issues of corruption, one of the factors which severely undermine the region’s growth potential.
(ii) Forged a greater understanding of the plight of at-risk children and their families
(iii) Enabled HelpLive to evaluate sustainability projects that could be implemented in Nagaland so as to address some of the issues listed above.