Helping Children at the Camp David Centre, by Sara Zelek

ZelekS 1- with caption.JPGDuring the lunch hour the children at Camp David Centre exit their classrooms, while more come in through the gates to eagerly wait in line for a well-prepared meal. Laughter and playful banter echo, and the childish excitement that permeates makes it difficult to believe that many of these children are living in conditions of extreme poverty. This meal is only part of the school sponsorship that Camp David Centre provides to the needy children of the community. In addition to this nutritious lunch, the centre also provides sponsored children with free health care at its clinic, funds for school fees, uniforms and books, and access to education.

Camp David Centre is an NGO based in Changamwe, Kenya just outside of the city of Mombasa that currently helps sponsor almost 500 students throughout the community. Sponsorship is the main program that the centre runs, but it also hosts a range of other programs such as its own primary school, dispensary, computer training classes, sewing classes, community support group and, hopefully soon, a small library. And yet, with all the people that the centre is helping, it still tries to do more.

ZelekS 2- with caption.JPGI have been working at the centre for four weeks now, and have gotten involved with the development of a new feeding project. As the social workers of Camp David Centre have conducted surveys throughout regions of Mombasa, we have identified four slum areas greatly in need of help. In these areas many vulnerable children have limited, if any, access to proper nutrition and education. Through the construction and organization of a feeding center in each of these areas, we hope to provide a proper meal for school-aged children. Nutrition is the foundation for adequate development, and eventually we hope to have the centre grow into much needed nursery school. Moroto is the area where we hope to pilot the program, and currently we are trying to raise funds for the renovation of a building to host the feeding centre. This center will be a strong foundation that will enable the program to develop to address other needs of the community and sustain itself.

ZelekS 3- with caption.JPGI have been lucky to be involved with a program as it truly begins. Watching the research, surveys, involvement of the community and passion of those working to implement the project has shown me that change here is possible. I’ve been learning about how an NGO in a developing country functions on a day-to-day basis. Although very frustrating and slow at times waiting for donors to come through, the internet to load and the power to return, it seems as though change here is possible. Just being here in Mombasa has really given me an idea of some of the problems a developing country faces and has forced me to think about and find possible solutions.