The Kibera Community
To know St. Vincent’s, it is critical to understand the context in which it operates. Kibera is one of Africa's most infamous informal settlements. People here live without electricity, running water, latrines and garbage collection. HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis rates are high and there is an extreme lack of food, all exacerbated by an abundance of alcoholism and violence. High rates of gender based violence, the disproportionate effect of HIV/AIDS on women and soaring unemployment make women in Kibera, and, by default, their children, particularly vulnerable.
With little access to resources, children are often withdrawn from school to care for sick parents and to support the family financially. Orphaned children often experience abuse and neglect in overextended families, as the burden of caring for additional children strains already limited resources.
Particularly vulnerable are children in early childhood, ages 0-6 years who have not yet developed strong resiliency factors. This places them at greater risk from unstable relationships, illness/death of caregivers, unsafe environments, and lack of learning opportunities. St. Vincent’s provides a nurturing environment that helps children build strong resiliency, which in turn, protects them from the worst effects of a harsh environment.
St. Vincent’s actively identifies the most vulnerable children in Kibera. Families who enroll an orphan in their care, can also enroll other children in the household. The position of the orphan is elevated and a protective safety net is put in place for the most vulnerable of children.