Written by Rui Maio.
By many, education is regarded as the key with which to unlock the stores of knowledge of individual’s from a determined community. It is also seen as an extremely useful tool towards development and behavioural change by increasing individual’s awareness and perception in a very wide range of matters. Even though this particular project may not seem directly related to cultural heritage issues at first sight, in fact, if you think deeper, you will understand how important this educational project is at helping to create the very foundations of dignified living conditions in an extremely needy community, as well as on promoting and valuing both cultural and intangible heritage that is deeply rooted within this community. Moreover, I found this story truly inspirational for all of us as young people, as a great example of how education and volunteering can contribute to the preservation of underprivileged communities, by ensuring better living conditions for children and future generations.
By 2012 Marta was just a young girl about to graduate, like many of us. This is when she decided to leave the comfort of her home and daily life in Portugal to serve as volunteer in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa, for a 3-month period. The experience completely changed not only her life but also the lives of dozens of children and respective parents. Therefore, shortly after this inspirational experience, Marta felt that she could personally contribute a lot more to help improve the lives of these children, and that is how the FROM KIBERA WITH LOVE project was born, from the will of a one young individual. Marta has started her project by ensuring and supporting a complete school year of education for sixteen underprivileged children, and today, she is responsible for the education and food of about 75 children. Thanks to her project, children have access to quality education, decent school materials and uniform, free medical services and products, two meals a day, dance and computer classes and even three study visits per year. Moreover, toys, birthdays, clothing and candies, are also provided to these children, so that they too can finally realize their right to a normal childhood. FROM KIBERA WITH LOVE also aims to help improve the living conditions of dozens of families, fostering awareness on hygiene and human health care.
All of this was achieved and guaranteed by Marta and hundreds of donors that fully believe and support this project. In November 2014, Marta moved to Kenya. Until then, she had only travelled there for a couple of months occasionally. This come-and-go traveling allowed her to promote her project and raise funds as well as goods for her children. At this moment, Marta has already set up a structure staffed by a few volunteers who are working with her in this project, both in Portugal and in Kibera. In September Marta found a large venue to host several cultural and educational after-school learning activities where children are invited to do their homework, or take advantage of additional tutoring, meals, dance classes, library and medical services. These are overwhelming signs that the project FROM KIBERA WITH LOVE is growing little by little but already has a great impact on the lives of those children.
If you would like to know more about Marta and her project click the following link. Here you will also find information on how you can contribute to this project, as a volunteer or as a donor, for example.