Since its foundation in 2009, Cara Project works to better the lives of Kenyan women and girls. The NGO was established by Paddy O’ Connor, and it also focuses on equal rights for women to provide a better standard of life for both children and mothers. Paddy has made large contributions in Kenya, such as building orphanages and schools.
Working through the CARA Girls Rescue Center, Cara Project strives to provide underprivileged mothers and children with the training and opportunity to secure a better quality of life.
Officially opening its doors in 2012, Cara Project also undertakes projects with an emphasis on reducing poverty as well as child abuse. The facilities house about 40 dependent girls, all dealing with issues ranging from abuse to neglect, among other disheartening circumstances.
According to UN Women, 39% of Kenyan women suffer physical or sexual abuse in their lifetimes, 23% of them get married when they are children, and 21% are subjected to the horrifying effects of genital mutilation.
Cara Project Girl’s Rescue Center: Providing a Welcoming Home for Young Girls
Cara Girls Rescue Center provides shelter for girls in need of assistance at the Kajaido County Children’s Office. After identifying the issue, efforts are made to improve the problematic circumstances. When a satisfactory solution can’t be found, the suffering party is usually sent to live with carefully vetted foster parents. Occasionally, girls are housed directly at the center as well.
Located in the Ngong Hills area, the Cara Girls Rescue Center features dormitories as well as facilities for relaxing and recreation. They also have vocational centers that provide on site training.
Cara Project also focuses on community initiatives to give a voice to women and to encourage them to pursue a life where they can adequately support themselves, through proper education and knowledge. To this end, the Cara Project members provide mentorships as well as workshops and opportunities to learn the necessary skills needed to succeed.
Their workshops are funded by a Dutch charity called Huruma Meva, which provides the necessary money to purchase equipment, materials, as well as to pay for the requisite members who provide support.
Funded in part by Kenya Help, a charity in Canada, the Cara Women’s Empowerment Center serves as a skills training facility that equips girls with the tools needed to provide for themselves. The facility includes a kindergarten, workshop, dormitory, and counseling facilities.
They focus on girls from local Maasai communities that are more prone to being exposed to abuse and poor hygiene among other issues. Lacking access to education, these girls are taught to be more aware of their rights as they tend to live in areas dominated by more traditional ways of thinking.
Some of their highlighted programs include:
- Securing accommodations and a 3-month employment opportunity at local Ngong businesses for girls who are prepared to live independently
- Being extra attentive to girls who could potentially be victims of the horrendous crime of genital mutilation
- Unique program aimed at older girls who have lived in care homes long term
- Helps prepare these girls transition into an unfamiliar life outside the Center
- Visit schools and colleges for opportunities to provide young girls with a lifestyle awareness class, or a 1-week educational program at the Cara Center for older students
Assisting with Community Development
Cara is committed to the undertaking of projects to achieve their objectives as well as those that benefit the community.
They have targeted strategies to effectively utilize land in their possession. Not only do they use the land for farming and providing sustenance, it is also where some of their skills training workshops take place.
Some of the farming projects that Cara undertakes:
- Tilapia fish farms: Provides fish for sustenance as well as a source of income as well as growing popular tropical fish for sale
- Pig pens: Breeding pigs for the market
- Farming grounds: Growing fruit and vegetables in an environmentally friendly manner
Interestingly, the pig and fish farms provided a fresh start to a woman referred to as “Mama Joan.”
Mama Joan was the mother of three children, Joanne, Michelle, and Beattie. Due to extenuating circumstances, Mama Joan was unable to provide for her three children so they were brought to the Cara Center.
The Cara Center provided them with love and attended to their basic needs. After attending school for some time, they were set to move into a children’s home permanently. Excited to see the trio again, staff members visited them but were saddened to see that the girls were not happy in their new environment.
Something had to be done. After a series of discussions, it was decided that the family should live together in a nearby facility. The Cara Center provided the mother with a job, training her to learn how to properly manage the fish and pig farms.
Now that the mother had a stable job to provide her children, education was of course the next step to address. The Center decided to pay tuition for the three children to attend the local school, and they couldn’t be happier.
The Cara Center is dedicated to providing children and mothers in need with the tools they need to succeed and live happy lives together.
V is for Volunteering
Cara Project itself was developed mainly through the amazing efforts of volunteers willing to donate their time and skills to provide facilities and services for many young girls in need.
Cara Center contributes to the community in many ways:
- Kibiko Primary School: Resolving electrical issues in the school hall, providing sorely needed new seats, providing cleaning and decorating services so kids have a beautiful learning environment to study in
- Osupuko School Library: Volunteers provided assistance with building bookshelves and organizing reading materials
- A local children’s office: Building a new recreational area for kids to play in
2-week volunteer programs that are run by Irish volunteers produce the primary source of revenue for the Center and these vital funds provide the girls with necessities like food, water, shelter, and education.
The word Cara is Gaelic for friend.
As a friend to these underprivileged children, your contributions will ensure that the Cara Center can provide desperately needed provisions and shelter for young children in difficult situations.