Children and Youth Empowerment Centre
 
Nyeri, Kenya  
 

The CYEC (Children and Youth Empowerment Centre) is designed to assist former street children and children of families in poverty. Many children living at the center were orphans, or have spent months, or even years homeless on the street, resorting to begging and stealing to survive. Many of them have developed an addiction to industrial glues, alcohol or any other drugs they find. The term 'street girl' is synonymic with 'prostitute'. The CYEC attempts to help the street children re-integrate into the society by providing food, shelter, counseling, primary education, as well as some skills courses including tailoring, welding and carpentry. The center ran on donations in the past, and with the help from volunteers and several American Universities (specifically Penn State U and Kansas State U), the center is making its way to becoming self-sustainable. See more at www.cyec.net.
 
My name is John, a university graduate from Canada. I had the opportunity to volunteer at the CYEC in Kenya for 3 months before starting to work full time. After only a few weeks, I fell in love with these kids and I am completely at awe with their strength to live in the most simple conditions. My life in Africa was quite a change from the college lifestyle, with frequent blackouts, lack of food, as well as dealing with poverty, corruption and racism almost on a daily basis. I was fortunate to have several other volunteers who immediately became my family, and we made the best of it. The kids  were always there for us with so much love, which gave us incredible strength. The 3 months was a life-changing experience for me, and I was part of many projects that will make a positive impact on the children's lives. Aside from contributing my own effort and support for the center, I had many great friends and colleagues helped the center tremendously through donations. I want to take this opportunity to show them our most sincerely appreciation, as well as the result of support.
 
I have posted some photos of the center online - please see the album by clicking here.