I can’t believe it is 7 years ago that Play Kenya was born – how can it only be seven years – it feels like a lifetime – but also I have so much more to do!
Seven years ago, my co-founder and fab friend, Debbie Pearce, and I made a choice that has changed my life forever. We decided that it wasn’t enough to see the pain in children’s eyes and not get involved – we decided that donating money to the wrong places was worse than doing nothing at all – and we decided that there were enough kind, emotionally connected, passionate and crazy folk out there to help us on our quest to create a better life for traumatised children in Kenya. Play Kenya was born – over a cup of coffee of course!
It has been the best seven years of my life – but oh my goodness – it has been a journey!
There are so many people to thank – and I know I would miss people if I tried to name them all but they are all very dear and precious to me – some have stepped back a little and some are in the moment – all of your love and support means the world – it really does. There are two people I have to thank by name – one is well known to you as she is crazy busy helping keep our therapeutic girls house up and running – Sarah Rosborg is just an Angel and I have no idea where we would be without her. She understands our passion and the plight of our girls as if she was with us on every visit – just wonderful.
The other is my reluctant (at the beginning) hero – John Tipper. What must he have thought when I first took myself off to Africa and came back with the crazy notion that I was setting up a therapeutic service for orphanages, schools and children’s institutes – oh and could you please fund it, support me, let me be away from home for 3 months of the year – and come and visit! He has stepped up to the mark big time – and it is he driving our move to live in Kenya as he sees just how much we are needed there. Thank you so much for sharing my dream John.
But the biggest thanks goes to our staff and children who have given us their trust as we embarked on teaching therapeutic parenting and attachment play – totally against their own cultures and experiences – thank you for embracing our approach – I know it is tough for you at times.
The children – the children who are the best teachers in the world! I have learnt so much from them – they are incredible. Our first little one at Rafiki Mwema (our home for sexually abused little girls) who pushed me to the limits of what I knew and trusted and is a credit to the parenting we show her.
It seems like we have achieved everything and nothing in the past 7 years. I have had to admit that I cannot change the whole world (well maybe not yet) and we have concentrated on areas we can make a difference. Some of our biggest achievements have been
- Rafiki Mwema our wonderful therapeutic home for young girls who have been sexually abused. We are still evolving this service and hope one day we will look back and say – we did the best we could have done. These girls are our family forever. Even when they go home we will continue to offer support and love to help them with the horrors of what has happened
- Rafiki Familia is our new house for great young boys who have survived on the streets. Everyone tells us not to be involved in boys over 10 years old as they cannot be helped – I am determined to prove them wrong! Come on boys – we can do this together – you are fab!
- Court video link – what a difference this will make! Our girls and other survivors of abuse and witness who are at risk will be able to give evidence AWAY from the accused – whoop whoop!!! I can’t tell you the difference this is going to make to our girls! The equipment is being bought as we speak and will be up and running very very soon
- Introducing a therapeutic degree course which supports attachment theory, working non-directly with children through play and an approach used with traumatised children to repair so much! It is being written by myself and Janet Cassidy at the moment – we will change so much thinking to child-centered while allowing the wonderful parts of Kenyan culture to flourish!
Thank you lovely people!
Just couldn’t be doing all this without your support – even that you are reading this means so much.
Thank you for everything you do – here’s to the next seven years!