Sr. Felistas combs the slums of Nairobi, Kenya in search of poor, orphaned boys in need of a home.
In the early morning hours, the last place you’d expect to find Sr. Felistas is in the slum areas of Nairobi Kenya. But that’s exactly where you’ll find her. She frequents the slums weekly, forming relationships with homeless boys as young as eight years old, who already are trapped in a cycle of poverty and drug addiction. She knows she can help, but first has to convince both the boy and his community leader that she can be trusted.
Sr. Felistas believes that children from these slums should stay children a little longer. She’s making this a reality through substance abuse treatment and educational opportunities at the Kenya children's home, Kwetu Home of Peace Rehabilitation Centre for Street Children.
As Financial Administrator of Kwetu Home, Sr. Felistas seeks out local companies for donations and manages Kwetu’s accounts and finances.An alumna of ASEC's Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) and Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) programs, Sr. Felistas learned resource mobilization and financial planning skills which enable Kwetu Home to make a bigger impact.
“We take them to school. We change their lives. They become good people and good citizens of the country.”
All of the current 246 students at Kwetu Home received medical assistance and completed a three-month rehab program to guarantee their sobriety and improve their health before beginning their educations.
Three times a year, new students, ages 8 to 15, are admitted to the Kwetu Home. The balance of schoolwork and recreational activities keeps the boys happy and eager to learn. So while they learn subjects like English, they can still participate in some of their favorite activities, including gymnastics and singing.
After two years at Kwetu Home, the boys "graduate" and are once again immersed in their home environments where, unfortunately, 65% of them will revert back to previous habits.
Sr. Felistas, however, uses the knowledge she acquired through ASEC to combat this problem by helping to implement and maintain income generating projects that will provide more opportunities to the boys following graduation.
These projects include operating a health dispensary that serves more than 500 residents in the community each month. Kwetu also maintains a farm, greenhouse and fish pond which promote sustainability and agribusiness.
Additionally, Sr. Felistas emphasizes local mobilization efforts, something she learned from her SLDI training, to engage more people in the community because a supportive and engaged community will help discourage the boys from returning to past consumption habits.
ASEC’s mission to provide an education to African religious sisters is only possible with the help from grants and donations from people like you.
“The most valuable aspect of SLDI was the fact I got to learn how to communicate and how to use the computer to do accounting. For HESA it has given me confidence….and it has bettered my services.”