Meet Ruhi. Our story started when she was just a child, spending summer holidays with her father’s family in Kenya. From a young age, Ruhi saw firsthand how little many children and families in Kenya had compared to her family and friends at home in England.
Almost half of the Kenyan population lives in some degree of poverty. For the poorest, running water, electricity and schooling are luxuries they can’t afford. And many have little or no chance to change their circumstances.
And it planted a seed. One that sat dormant until Ruhi reached a point in her life where she knew she had to act. Friends put her in touch with like-minded people in Kenya doing what they could to make life better for families surviving in slums.
And that’s when Ruhi visited Deep Sea slum in Nairobi.
Often called the ‘forgotten slum,’ Deep Sea is flanked by affluent residential and commercial districts. It’s home to around 12,000 children, young people and adults living in poverty beyond anything Ruhi had witnessed elsewhere in Kenya.
The children’s cheeky grins and playful nature reminded Ruhi of her nieces and nephews. Yet their lives were worlds apart. The desperate living conditions in Deep Sea were hard to ignore and impossible for Ruhi to forget.
So she spent time in Deep Sea to understand the needs of the families firsthand. Soon after, Ruhi and a very small team of dedicated volunteers began developing education-based programmes in the heart of the community, helping children and young people develop academic, practical and emotional skills that will sustain them for life. And help lift their families out of poverty.
And that’s when The Fursa Trust was born.
Meet Emily. Emily grew up in Deep Sea. She was one of few fortunate enough to be accepted on a charity-run placement programme and trained as a preschool teacher. Emily’s story is rare in Deep Sea. Largely inaccessible education means little chance for children to learn skills and leave the slum to support their families.
Knowing the challenges children face in Deep Sea such as drug abuse, child labour, risk of early pregnancy and lack of good parenting, Emily chose to return after her training and do what she could to change young lives. And when Emily was introduced to The Fursa Trust, she didn’t hesitate to help. She joined our small team to deliver our learning programmes and quickly began looking after our volunteer mentors too.
The next chapter
In a tiny brick-built room at the bottom of Deep Sea, ten children started coming to the club after school and during school holidays. It was a tight squeeze and soon we relocated to a bigger space built of corrugated iron. Shortly after, parts of Deep Sea were devastated by fires. Our learning space and everything in it was destroyed along with many homes.
It was a setback for our small team but it didn’t stop us. And neither did the 2020 pandemic that took hold at that time. With the help of generous donors and volunteers, we built a dedicated centre. The bigger, better-equipped space opened up new opportunities for us to work with families in Deep Sea. And with sustainable power, computer learning finally became a reality for the children, helping open more doors to a promising future.
In the space of three years, The Fursa Trust went from the germ of an idea to supporting ten children through their education. Today we’re developing life skills for over 60 children and young people and their parents.
The Fursa Trust story continues…