In the heart of Mathare, one of Nairobi's largest informal settlements, a group of resilient young men embarked on a transformative journey. Back in 2016, they converted a barren piece of land into the thriving Mathare Green Park—a beacon of hope and a flourishing agricultural haven in the community. Their intent was to transcend their past hardships and shift away from a life of crime, aspiring to inspire others facing similar challenges within their community.
This incredible journey began when our Director, Sheena Shah, encountered these remarkable individuals earlier this year, thanks to Jaclynn Ashly, a committed journalist highlighting the profound challenges faced by these communities.
What unfolded before Sheena's eyes was nothing short of remarkable. These young men, without formal training, transformed a desolate piece of Mathare into a thriving green oasis—the Mathare Green Park, where vegetables are grown to sustain their community.
Our support for this project commenced in earnest, recognizing its profound impact. The goal was simple yet profound: equip these young men with skills, empower them to cultivate their own food, and, in turn, provide employment opportunities and foster community bonds.
The Mathare Green Park signifies more than just agriculture; it embodies hope and represents a paradigm shift. Our collaboration has yielded significant progress over the past year. With the generous support of friends, we facilitated an impactful week-long permaculture training session in August. This training equipped them with the essential knowledge and practical skills needed to revolutionize their land.
Ten out of sixteen men underwent this transformative training, positioning themselves as catalysts for change throughout Mathare and beyond. Held at the Ruiru Rehabilitation Centre, a demonstration site operated by Harvesting for Good East Africa, this training marked a pivotal moment in their lives. It was an unprecedented opportunity that sparked their interest and garnered remarkable support from the community. Their belief in this project is rooted in its transformative power. By nurturing the land and growing their own food, they aim to combat issues of unemployment and incarceration—predominant challenges that often lure young people into criminal activities. Working the land not only nurtures growth but also serves as a deterrent from criminal activities. This initiative presents tangible opportunities and solutions—reasons why this project is vital and why its delivery took so much time and dedication.
However, our journey has merely commenced. The subsequent phase encompassed additional training, ongoing support, and providing necessary materials to put their acquired knowledge into practice. Witnessing their remarkable transformation (as seen in the images above), they have now turned the land into a productive site, demonstrating the feasibility of their efforts. With the aid of tools, seedlings, and follow-ups from our team, they've begun implementing their meaningful work. Their excitement about the progress they've made in cultivating a diverse range of produce is truly exhilarating for us to witness.
Our goal is to empower these young men to become catalysts for change within their community. Your support is paramount. These pioneering individuals, charting a course away from crime, need assistance to magnify their influence. The initial permaculture training is merely the start; it will transform their farming methods and open doors for the entire community. Our commitment is to stand by them, offering continued expertise and guidance.
As Jaclynn Ashly aptly notes, 'Transformative pathways start with the people, and these young men have achieved a lot. Now, they need our support to build on their creation.'
We invite you to join hands with us and explore partnership opportunities to strengthen our ongoing work with this inspiring group. Your contribution can transform lives and communities. Let’s cultivate hope together.
Please reach out to us to explore how you can be part of this transformative journey. As the season of giving approaches, we invite you to be part of a life-changing journey in Nairobi's heart. Our fundraiser is now live seeks to support these remarkable group of young men in Mathare, who, against all odds, have transformed themselves from a life of crime to championing the regeneration of their community and environment. Please explore ways in contributing towards our cause this giving season. Link to Fundraiser can be found HERE.
HFG EA - Director