Kingston resident Nancy Stevens celebrates decade long journey with ‘Kenya Help’
It’s been 10 years since Nancy Stevens has been making a difference in Southern Kenya.
Raised in Kingston, Stevens’ journey with her charity, Kenya Help began when she first met 8-year-old John. Stevens was moved by what this young child said to her on her first trip to the country.
“You mungoos always say you’re going to come back and you never do,” Stevens says John told her.
Taking those words to heart, she promised the young boy she would return to Ngong, a small community in Kenya, with help.
While Stevens was in Kenya she noticed children attending school sitting outside, missing basic items like pencils, paper and even desks.
At that moment, she decided to make a difference, launching her charity, Kenya Help, on her return to Canada.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to let people down, am I going to be able to raise money every year, how do I even begin?” Stevens said.
The journey wasn’t easy but Stevens managed to raise the money needed to build several new classrooms. She believes in helping the less fortunate by involving them in the process and taking in their input.
“I never wanted to show up, build something and tell them what they should do,” Stevens says.
Since 2008, Stevens’ biggest accomplishment has been the establishment of the Women’s Empowerment Centre that launched last year.
The centre offers programs to women who are victims of sexual assault. Helping them to regain their self-esteem, educate and heal.
“Some of them are escaping and they have no education so they go and learn trades and they get to stay there and they are absolutely safe,” Stevens says.
This year marks the 10th year anniversary for Kenya Help. For Stevens it still feels like the first time, every time she makes a difference.
“It’s a beautiful experience. I cry every single year. I’ve been crying for 10 years, I’m probably going to cry for 10 more.”
This is not just a charitable project, this is a part of who she now is, ever since she first met John.
“He is 18 now and everytime I reunite with him he always says I can’t believe you came back.”
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