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Heroes, Hustlers and Dreamers



Hi there,


My name is Rasha, and I'm a documentary photographer and associate at Photographers Without Borders (PWB). In August 2021, I supported a local grassroots civil society organization called Youth Fountain, based in Githurai45, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, with visual storytelling to raise funds for it's programs. 


Now, I need your help to raise funds and support the individuals featured in this story.


Established as a collection of estates and townships, Githurai 45, also known as Githurai Kimbo, is constantly expanding with new comers from around Kenya, and neighboring countries, arriving in the urban slum in pursuit of new opportunities close to capital city.


The heroes at Youth Fountain are many. Every team member approaches their daily tasks with extreme focus, passion and dedication. 

Mercy (37 years), wakes up everyday at 5:00 am to get her three sons ready for school. Due to COVID19, Mercy’s husband lost his full-time job as a chef at an international hotel in Nairobi in March 2020. Since then, Mercy has been working for Youth Fountain to support the family, while her husband continues to look out for new opportunities. “Before he lost his job, I was a full-time housewife and he used to do everything. I loved my time as a housewife as I had time to volunteer at the local church”. With their reduced household income, Mercy had to move her children from private to public school to continue their education. Nowadays, her husband attempts to secure one-off catering jobs for special occasions, while Mercy continues to juggle between her professional and family role on a daily basis. Despite all the challenges, Mercy approaches her job at at Youth Fountain with full zeal. Her warm demeanor renders establishing rapport and trust building with community members effortless.


One of those hardworking individuals is 39 year old David Juma’a Otoro, an owner of a small bakery in Githurai. Juma’a’s passion for cooking and baking is apparent as he wakes up at 4:00 am on a daily basis to prepare the dough and have everyone’s favorite morning snack, mandazis, ready at 5:00 am for the morning rush hour. Originally from Busiya, western Kenya, Juma’a left a wife and six children back home, nine years ago, to work in Githurai and support his family. Using his own capital, Juma’a started his bakery business one year after arriving in Githuria and joined Youth Fountain in 2018. While his savings with the organization supported with school fees for his children, Juma’a’s first loan in 2020 aided his business to remain open through the lock-down. Juma’a inspired his brother, Ben, to join him in Githurai and start his own respective business in making chapatis and selling gas cylinders with the help from Youth Fountain’s micro-finance project. 

Juma’a’s ambitions to expand into baking cakes and procure a proper cooker with a chimney to reduce the health effects of burning firewood with no proper ventilation, will hopefully be realized through a second loan of Ksh 40,000, which he just withdrew from Youth Fountain. Juma’a’s distinct skill in making mandazis and attention to detail make it hard to imagine that he won’t be able to fulfill those aspirations.


During the afternoon rush hour, Mercy walks over to a street vendor who sells egg and beef sausage snacks, locally known as smokies, from a small cart. This is Emmanuel Mpunginuhe, a 28 year old migrant from Rwanda and one of the most recent clients of Youth Fountain’s micro-finance project. After loosing both parents at a young age, Emmanuel decided to move to Kenya in 2019 in search for a better livelihood opportunity. It was by mere coincidence that Emmanuel learnt about Youth Fountain’s micro-finance scheme: while roaming the busy streets to sell the popular smokies to community members, Emmanuel bumped into Mercy while she was on one of her fund collection rounds. Earlier this year, Emmanuel took a small loan of Ksh 7,000 to replenish his street food cart business. Since then, Emmanuel has settled his loan and is currently a savings client with Youth Fountain. The yummy snacks that Emmanuel sells off of his cart are popular. Children and adults alike pause for a few seconds to grab a snack before moving on with their day. However, Emmanuel’s hustle doesn’t stop here. Certified in boxing and kung fu, Emmanuel shares this passion with privately recruited clients who wish to enhance their fitness and self defense skills. Despite COVID19 reducing his client base from 12 to two only, Emmanuel continues to teach kung fu, two to three times a week, to elevate while practicing what he loves most: kung fu.


On the other end of the youth scholarship project’s spectrum sits 18 year old Daniel Mwangi, who completed high school with flying colours. Through Daniel’s excellent drawing skills, he was introduced to Youth Fountain since primary school, when he took part in an art project supported by the organisation. Since then, Daniel was sponsored by multiple contributors from the USA and Australia to complete his school education in March this year. A bubbly, well mannered and intriguing young man, Daniel is easy going and lovable by many community members in Githurai. He persevered through high school, in spite of continued bullying from some classmates, and has already applied to several colleges in Kenya to pursue his dream of studying medicine. 

“Youth Fountain gave me hope” Daniel iterates while he proudly goes through an endless pile of certificates of merit and recognition. The older of four, Daniel wishes to set a good example for his younger siblings, all of whom are enrolled at school. Since Daniel’s mother, Judishia (40 years), lost her job as a full time beauty salon practitioner, he intends to seek government support to continue his college education. Living in a small two room apartment with his mother and two brothers, Daniel is a true inspiration for any young man or woman, to pursue their dreams despite any challenges one may face during those early vulnerable years of life.
Please contribute to support these inspiring individuals. 

Daniel is joining university in September to start a new chapter in his life and pursue his dream to study graphic design. He needs a laptop for that. Juma’a can benefit from some financial help to raise funds for an eye surgery that he needs to treat an infection that affected his sight in his right eye. With additional support, Kennedy can continue to finance his daughter’s high school education and Emmanuel can get additional sports equipment to expand his king fu training in Githurai45. 


Feel free to visit my homepage: Rasha's Photography. Thank you for your support! 


(We are a community of storytellers uniting to support our community partners on volunteer assignments through the PWB Program, and inspire new generations of storytellers through PWB School and our other initiatives and resources. Our mission is to make storytelling more accessible for communities around the world who are contributing to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goalsand UNDRIP. PWB is registered as a charity in the United States with 501(c)(3) status and is registered as a not-for-profit organization in Canada. All donations are calculated in US Dollars and are tax-deductible for Americans and Canadians with US income.PWB is not responsible for any donations made outside of these pages).

 


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All donations are calculated in US Dollars and are tax-deductible for Americans and Canadians with US income.

Anonymous
Elvira Ganter
Hi Rasha! wish you all the best and much success with your project. Hope to meet you one day in Kenya! Please let me know if you received the donation. Love Elvira
$50.00
Marco $90.00
Anonymous $60.00
Samer
God blessed you , stay safe
Zulianello M.Regina $200.00
Doug
All the best on moving forward with this project! I know that your photos will tell amazing stories like they have in the past!
$75.00
Ali
Rashroush, you rock. Ethics and Storytelling: I can't think of someone better to do both. Best of luck.
$100.00
Magdalena
Good luck, Rasha. I can't see more of your work!
$100.00
Anonymous
All the best!
$60.00
Hussam
All the best rashroosh
$133.00
Michael Balz
Anonymous $500.00
Julz
Proud of your Rashroush!
$30.00
Anonymous
Bon chance and keep us posted :) Betim
$30.00
Alex
challenge accepted :-)
$101.00
Marya A. Rahman
Keep inspiring... keep growing :)
$100.00
Alexander Volz
here u go
$6.00

June 11, 2021 2:52 AM

Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for your messages and ongoing support! So far, I've reached 33% of my fundraising target thanks to you!


I started meeting with the local NGO partner that I will be supporting with this assignment. The organization is called "Youth Fountain Initiative" and is located in the outskirts of Nairobi. Its eight years old, has three fully fledged programs and 10 projects. Also, three years ago, Youth Fountain was voted the best Community Based Organization (CBO) in the country!


Check out their website to learn more about them:

https://fountainyouth.org/

Cheers

Rasha

May 4, 2021 5:56 AM

Hi Everyone! 

Thank to the ongoing generous donations, I reached 33% of my fundraising goal! 

If you are still thinking about it, please visit my fundraiser page for more information. Please donate if you can! Any amount helps cover the cost of this photographic journey with a local Kenyan NGO.

Much love,

Rasha

April 20, 2021 5:43 AM

Thank you so much for your donations in the first few days of launching the fundraiser! I'm already 25% covered .. 75% to go! 

Will keep you posted with the campaign's progress and thereafter the result of this assignment when it materializes!

Much love

Rasha

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