Last week, I had the chance to visit the CARA Girls Rescue Centre in Kibiko, Nairobi, Kenya. This nonprofit organization devotes its mission to offering women of all ages the resources and support they need to lead healthy lives.
All of the young women who come under CARA’s care have been referred by the Kenyan Government’s Children’s Office which seeks to place survivors of neglect, abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM), incest or childhood marriages. Many have been abandoned and may also have mental and developmental disabilities.
While on site at this vital community resource, I was able to speak with Edwina Kwallah, Director for this organization’s efforts in the greater Nairobi area. She was an extremely warm and compassionate person whose dedication to the young lives in her care was quite evident from the first moments we were together.
As clinical director, Edwina is responsible for meeting the residential, educational, nutritional, mental health and other varied needs for her young clients. While her organization is able to survive due to contributions from individual donations, she often forced to make tough choices.
Edwina defined the CARA Girls Rescue Centre’s operations as:
- The Rescue Centre which offers crisis stabilization, housing and rehoming support for children who are very likely to have experienced neglect, abandonment, abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM), incest or early marriage in addition to mental and developmental disabilities.
- Counseling services which are offered away from the residential treatment unit of CARA conducted by Masters or higher level mental health practitioners.
- Community outreach and advocacy services which seek to work with local tribal communities to raise awareness around salient topics related to female health needs such as proper sanitation and the detrimental health outcomes associated with FGM.
- Women’s empowerment and mentorship programs which seek to provide local adult females with skills such as tailoring, jewelry making, and weaving which they can use to create economic independence.
- Preschool services for children at the center and the local community which only receive limited funding from parents to cover basic food needs.
In Their Own Words
“A house is built from bricks & beams, a home is built from love and dreams…..”
Our values and objectives are to work to provide medium term care, assistance, protection, and education young vulnerable girls and women in the Ngong Region.
- To build their self esteem and trust to become confident, able and assured in all that they do.
- Provide education, encompassing life and skill training to empower self sufficiency in adult life.
- To reach out and help the wider local community and individuals, to promote and mentor our values and ethos.
CARA Projects is fully committed to the principles of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
CARA Projects is the brainchild of Irish man Paddy O’Connor. Over the past number of years, Paddy has worked on a number of projects in Kenya, ranging from the building of orphanages and schools to the provision of a mini-bus for a remote orphanage outside Nairobi.
The team that we have built in CARA Projects have all worked in various ways to assist the poor and neglected in Kenya.
It is while helping and assisting that we have seen the clear need for positive change, which we feel can be achieved through altering the circumstances and the situation of both girls and women.
Yes we look to assist the most vulnerable and abused, but we also look to create the environment and circumstances where they can positively challenge and break the cycle of abuse and dependency.
With this in mind we decided to focus our attention on the CARA Girl’s Rescue Centre (CGRC) and its local community. We have looked at what is needed and have adopted these values and objectives.
- Irish Registered Charity – (CHY18652) totally funded and supported by volunteers.
- No income is paid to the Irish Board of Management.
- All board members have travelled and worked on projects in CGRC.
- Registered Kenyan NGO.
- Cara Projects has no political or religious affiliations.
Exponential, Inc. is Proud to Support CARA Girl’s Rescue Centre
Exponential, Inc. (XPO2) was founded by Chief Executive Officer Dom Einhorn to provide valuable community organizations like the CARA Girl’s Rescue Centre with the funds they need to fulfill their missions.
While onsite with Dom, I was deeply inspired to learn more about this project and to create the conditions for our continued work with this organization.
The world is a better place when people come together to address shared goals. I am proud to be a part of efforts to support women in Kenya.