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BEHIND THE SILENCE;GOOD THINGS HAPPENING

Even October 2016 is fast becoming history and as it glides by I am reminded how remote I have become from this column, but hopefully not remote at all from the great things happening all around me here at Ruben.

Recently we completed ‘NEW STREET’ named after the street where Edmund Rice started his first school in Waterford Ireland. 

'The first step Edmund Rice took was to open a trial school in a disused livery stable in New Street, Waterford. In doing this he risked his reputation for good sense and practical business dealings. He risked losing the acceptance and respect of his peers – the successful businessmen whose very success depended on the presence of law and order and normalcy.

He risked his credibility as a sane man. He stirred the animosity of the wealthier citizens of New Street who saw their street and houses devalued by the daily influx of the dirty and the dreadful from out beyond the adjacent city walls. All this he did for a vision, a powerful vision of justice and charity for ALL.( extract John Carroll and now on the wall beside the New street name)'

So the influx of the dirty and dreadful may not be in full swing here in 2016, the occupants of this New Street are definitely honouring the history of the famous street.The Wangu Kanja team are there in two of the offices and this team is bringing an SMS platform to the survivors of gender based violence and giving them a way to cry out for help. Just SMS HELP on 21094 and a team is ready to support any victims. Then besides them there is the Ruben Centre FM radio head office.  This new initiative will also be a powerful voice for the people of Mukuru and hopefully assist the Centre achieve its many objectives.Monitoring and Evaluation office is also present along the New Street. Then exiting from New street to the left, any person can visit the Special Needs Unit and interact with the 28 boys and girls enjoying their program. The numbers of these special children continue to grow and so a second room is being prepared.  This will give greater flexibility to the learning area and help the teachers find a quiet space to work with small groups and individuals. It will be ready by 2017.

Leaving physical developments I want to mention how thrilled we all were to welcome back our Head teacher from India.  Ms. Opiyo had travelled to India to attend the Edmund Rice Education beyond borders gathering and last Friday she shared with leaders of programs her spell binding reflection on her time there.With passion, insight and questions she shared how the whole encounter had rocked her comfort zone. ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time,?” she asked us all while challenging all leaders of programs to be imaginative and courageous to break open the new in the search for a better  response to the needs of our Mukuru  people.

The past few weeks cannot be summarized without reference to our participation in the recently completed Nairobi County agricultural show.  This nine day show draws huge interest within the community and Ruben Centre was given a house to exhibit its programs especially the vocational training and agri-business activities. The huge commitment needed to pull this task off, leads me to praise the Herculaneum efforts made by the Vocational Training team, headed by Bev Watkinson our PALMS volunteer. Great networking and promotion of  our Centre was achieved and as it wound up, I stated,’ Who knows what will emerge from this work?” and today an example of this  was  the  National Minister for Agriculture phoning us and requesting a visit to the Centre to see the garden and our agriculture  project. The government is very interested in expanding urban agri business in an effort to create increased food security and to attract the youth to invest energy and resources in this sector.

Last Saturday I welcomed staff of Barclays bank to Ruben Centre. About thirty staff came and engaged the youth who are nearing completion of their Secondary education.  The corporate world mingling with youth and encouraging them to work hard and achieve their ambitions was yet another way Ruben Centre was achieving its vision of working for a ‘Just and Empowered Mukuru community.”

And so life goes on and let me finish with a tribute to the latest ‘Gone Fishing Group” that has been visiting us.  This brain child of Edmund Rice Foundation Australia’s CEO Mr. Anthony Ryan , Gone Fishing  visits have brought over ninety visitors from Australia to Kenya and with that, creating  the opportunity of a conversation between the haves and have nots of this world. This experience  offers both parties benefits as the local have nots here are thrilled to share their stories and show off  their treasures  of great human values, while the haves experience  stuff that can forever  lead them to a commitment to alter the injustices of  this world.  Thanks Anthony.

      Director

      Frank O'shea