In 2018 Regenerate celebrated turning 18 years old as a charity. Thank you for being part of our story. When we set out all those years ago, we wanted to make a difference in the community where we live. Now, the young people that we set out to help are the ones that are changing the lives of others and making a massive difference. This is exciting!Yusuf, grew up on the Ashburton estate and has managed to overcome many challenges. Here are a few of his own words … “Many youths where I live are stuck in a cycle of drugs, violence, knife crime and prison. I realised that for me to get out, I would need my head screwed on and for me to take opportunities when they were given to me. Coming through the charity Regenerate, it has opened my eyes to realise that young people, especially those growing up in deprived areas sometimes need a push in the right direction”. In 2018 Yusuf helped organise our sponsored bike ride from the Roehampton estate all the way to Africa! He rode over 1200 miles, through forests, conquered mountains, endured thunder and hail storms – but he pushed on through. He made it to the shores of Morocco overcoming challenges similar to those in life. Yusuf has a mentor through Regenerate and now works for Chelsea as a coach and scout. He is also starting his own business that is creating work opportunities for other young people. He is inspiring his generation and the next. To find out more go to: http://www.connexu.biz In 2019 we want to continue to journey with young people like Yusuf and grow our “Get focus program” Check out this new video of our ‘Get Focused’ mentoring program to see how you can get involved.
Let me introduce you to Jenny James.
Jennydid her mentoring training for Regenerate’s Get Focused programme two years ago and is currently mentoring two young people from the local secondary school. We asked her a few questions about her experience. How would you describe your mentoring experience with Regenerate?
This is our final blog profiling our time spent in Kenya. We want to give a massive THANK YOU to the Standard Chartered graduates who fundraised for the majority of the trip, making it possible for us to go. It was fantastic spending time with this amazing group of people – so many special and life changing memories were made and will be treasured.
Here are some thoughts from Dan and Daine about their Kenya experience …
In the week spent at various projects in Nakuru and Nairobi, the amazing young men and women I was fortunate enough to meet taught me more about the world and the people who inhabit it than I ever could have imagined. The contrast between the environments these youngsters called home and their endless exuberance was staggering. They were selfless: children who were unfed were quick to offer to share their meal with a guest. They were caring: children who were weak carried their siblings who could not walk. They were resiliant: children who were growing up in extreme poverty were optimistic and joyful. More than anything though, they were kids. They wanted to laugh and be silly. They wanted to wrestle and play. They wanted to sing and dance. They wanted to listen and to be heard.
Dan, Standard Chartered volunteer 2017
Whilst at Sure24 in Nakuru I was overcome by the spirit of Ubuntu, for my non African friends the meaning of Ubuntu is succinctly summed up by the words of the Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours”. I felt it instantly in the way the Kenyan people both young and old make you feel welcome and at home. I was constantly reminded of it through their warm, hospitable nature. I was humbled by how easy it was for the kids at Sure24 to spark a connection with you. Its as if being friendly, caring and curious are traits that are hardcoded into their DNA.
Throughout the time we spent in Kenya 3 of the many takeaways that will stick with me are gratitude along with a positive attitude and an inspiring belief in a better future that each person has. Regardless of their circumstances gratitude was a ritual which was expressed daily. As easy as it would be to lament over the lack of resources at their disposal they chose to focus on their daily blessings, how far they have risen and their faith in the new exciting opportunities which the future holds for them. I believe we can all take a page out of our Kenyan friends book.
Daine, Standard Chartered volunteer 2017
© Photo – Nahwand Jaff
One of my memorable highlights was leading the arts & crafts activities with the children at Sure 24 children’s home in Nakuru. This day stood out for me the most as I believe arts and crafts should be explored and be accessible especially in counties like Kenya and in children’s homes like this one. At Sure 24 Sammy and Millie have made a sacrifice to dedicate their lives to ensure that vulnerable children are given a home and a chance to gain an education.
The day was filled with many activities to choose from. We made loom bands, did colouring in, made murals and created a thankful tree. Each activity was set up so every child could take part. As the children came in with their teachers, my heart warmed with happiness and joy as I saw the excitement on their faces as they stood lined up waiting for their teachers to instruct them about what was about to happen.
As a mother my self I really enjoyed stepping back watching the children enjoying what was in front of them. No matter how simple the activities were they still got involved, exchanged smiles laughter, and jokes with their friends, teachers and peers. The love and care they had for one another was moving to see. Sharing what they had made with each other gave me goose pimples not only were the children selfless with their actions but most importantly they were grateful. Each child expressed their dreams hopes and aspirations and what they were grateful for through the activities.
Being a mother, a leader and role model in my community and amongst the young people I work with, my Kenya experience was one of the most phenomenal memories I have thus far. It reminding me of the emotional intelligence and empathy I align myself with, and it allowed me to use those skills. Not only do I think our presence left an impact on the children we met, the experience also left a lasting impact on me too.
Chanel, Get Leading Team 2017
© Photo – Nahwand Jaff
I don’t think I’ll ever meet such an accepting, caring and optimistic group of people. I have learned an immeasurable amount from each of these boys, who have taught me so much about gratitude and hope. Their stories of hardship are never told with sorrow but instead are shared with pride and appreciation for all they now have and achieved. These boys have not, and will not, let anything prevent them from living out their dreams. At Sure 24 future musicians, pilots, engineers, teachers and whatever these kids desire to be, can get an education in a safe and loving home. I will forever be in debt to these amazing individuals for showing me the importance of having faith and being thankful.
As soon as we arrived at the dumpsite we were welcomed with huge smiles and immense hugs from everyone, but as soon as I hugged these two they wouldn’t let go (and I didn’t want to either). For the rest of my stay, we three were inseparable. I don’t remember for how long we stayed at the dumpsite for because I was just so caught up in the positive energy; with all the singing and dancing. It was certainty my highlight of the trip. I’m glad to have shared this unforgettable moment with such amazing people from Regenerate and Standard Chartered Bank.
Fran, Get Leading Team 2017
© Photo – Nahwand Jaff
Looking at this picture I remember this kid with his mature but amused face, trying to teach me how to count to 10 in their language. I remember how much laughter he had while doing that just because of my funny accent and bad pronunciation.
Even though the only numbers I know in Swahili at the moment are: oja (1) , mbilly (2) , tisa (8); what I learned from both projects in Kenya, is to be more grateful. The way they show their gratitude for everything and everyone and the way they are expressing their faith in God and their love for their community (which to me seems more like a big family ) really inspires me.
The experience I had not only taught me to be more grateful but it blessed me with relationships with people who helped me build up my confidence.
Brenda, Get Leading Team 2017
© Photo – Nahwand Jaff