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GAME CHANGERS-VOLUNTEERS

When you leave your home, the comfort zone, the place of familiarity to an unknown land and more so Africa, at times you do not know what to expect. But for most volunteers, it’s the passion that burns in them that pushes them to the unknown that they can take risk of trusting, believing and hoping that their sacrifice is for the best.

For the past month, we have had a bunch of Volunteers from Australia joining us here at Ruben Centre to assist with their expertise and knowledge in their areas of specialization and this is an experience most of them go through. “I actually thought I had a lot to offer and bring to Africa, but I honestly got more than what I thought and hoped I would give”, says Aidan one of the most recent volunteer and who sparkled our desire of having more volunteers to come and help

Aidan Jackson, a medical student from Melbourne –Australia volunteered in the Ruben medical clinic for seven weeks. In his brief visit to Africa, he was thrust into the midst of the outbreak of the highly contagious disease; cholera in the slums of Nairobi. His energy, commitment, flexibility and dedication to serving the Mukuru community was enormous. He managed to bring fresh ideas including having clinic staff badges to help identify them to the clients. Whenever he was called upon to assist in any area in the clinic, he did it without hesitating. 

Brian Brown, a deputy principal in Emmanuel College Warrnambool Australia  landed in Ruben Centre on 22nd May 2017. He had a big package of all types of balls and P.E kits which clearly declared for all his area of specialization; Physical Education. He heard about Ruben Centre from Br. Frank and decided to  use his long service time to come and be part of the incredible work happening in Ruben Centre. Brian has made massive contribution to the Sports team where he was helping out bringing new ideas on how to make both indoor and outdoor P.E lessons more fun for the children and how to manage big groups since our school population is big and thus the class sizes are big as well. Brian also helped a lot in the Ruben garden where he worked with Musa Juma.

The next one in the list is Liam Gallagher who brought some new energy into the music club with the students. Liam spent his time at Ruben taking music classes and teaching the students on playing musical instruments. The students were happy to learn new songs including the Edmund Rice song; ’Where to now Edmund?’ .The song was presented during Day of the African Child celebrations as well as the staff event on the same day. What an energetic man?  Thanks for coming Liam

Shahne Wilkinson who is a professional musician in Australia also did an amazing job with the music club with Liam as well as coaching our best candidates with their English lesson.

The O’Shea Family is one of its Kind when it comes to charity, community service and giving back to the community. Another O’Shea, Simone O’Conner  a niece to Br. Frank-Director Ruben Centre  and a specialist in physio therapy made use of her short impromptu visit to Ruben Centre to help in the occupational Therapy. She was on her way to South Africa for the Worlds Confederation of Physical Therapy conference in Cape Town. Simone also spent most of her time in the special unit helping the children with disability in various areas of need.

Holly from Canada was also here for a month. She had skills for working with children with special needs and joined our team there. Plenty of ideas were shared and new programs for the children devised.

This is just but a few recent volunteers who come to Ruben and make a big contribution to Ruben Centre and the Mukuru community through their services. Most volunteers visiting Ruben Centre attest to the liveliness and the energy that is alive in the staff, children and beneficiaries of the Centre. Being here puts so much into perspective since its giving hope to those who life seems  hopeless. We wish to have more volunteers from all over the world, both long term and short term who are game changers and specialists in the following areas to consider coming to Ruben Centre in the heart of Mukuru Slums for a lifetime experience.

Possible Future Volunteers

PROGRAM 

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

CLINIC - ALLIED HEALTH

PHYSIOTHERAPIST

 

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

 

SPEECH THERAPIST

CLINIC - SPECIALIST CLINICS

ASTHMA

 

DIABETES

 

HYPERTENSION

 

DENTAL (we had an Irish woman once for a week and it was great. At the moment we only open the dentist office 1 day/ week because of funds.

 

EAR; NOSE & THROAT

We had one of these doctors from Australia and he was flat out for the week looking into orifices. He found things

 

EYE

CLINIC - DEPARTMENT

LABORATORY

 

PHARMACY

CLINIC - MATERNITY

MID-WIFE

 

 

DISABILITY

SPECIALIST TEACHERS - CURRICULUM

 

DISABILITY TEACHER  support

 

THERAPISTS. ( the special needs unit has 40 children in it)

BABY UNIT

MID WIFE - TEACHER - SPECIFIC FOR THE NEW TRAINING COURSE

SCHOOL

IT SPECIALIST FOR TABLETS AND IT LEARNING

This is a new thing. Our school has been given 400 tablets and some of them are in a network and the laptop computer controls the tablets and the programs are there. However if only the teachers could be seen to explore the full potential of something like this.

Also any I T person would help us with our networks and computers and also train teachers whom half are in the 19th century. 

The PRIMARY school has 2,700 children in it.

 

MUSIC - LEARNING THROUGH MUSIC


We sent off 5 volunteers in the month of June all short term and they all did great work. 

1.     Music teacher…. We have a relationship with Ghetto orchestra and they train our kids twice a week, but lots more could be done.

2.     Physio… Who worked largely with the Special needs kids. And with our Occupational therapist….

3.     Student doctor, who just dived into everything in the clinic.  A million things he did. This is perfect for a young trainee doctor, on holidays. Not someone wanting supervision or accreditation e.t.c as we don’t have a doctor.

4.     Sport’s teacher stirred up the program no end.

5.     We had a therapist for autism and she worked for 1 month with our teachers in the Special Needs and opened their eyes to new things..  So these sorts of positions where there is a special skill, are wonderful to be engaged from day one.

Of course we would listen to any suggestions about the skills a potential volunteer might have and respond to them… All of these positions lend themselves to short term skill up skilling roles. Perfect for an Irish man/ lass on the on holidays etc.

Conditions  

We have an apartment in a safe area about 3 kms from slum. It would mean shared living with other volunteers present. It is suitable for 3=4 volunteers and at present there is one longtime volunteer there who can orientate a shorter visitor….

A volunteer is expected to pay their way in terms of upkeep. But the accommodation is free.

Welcome!

 

By Margaret Kariuki

PRO-Ruben Centre