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Noel is a shy young, single mother of six children from Eldoret, Kenya, living in an area called Kapsoya. Her husband died five years ago as a result of a road accident, leaving her as the sole caregiver and provider for her children.

At only 32 she is already a grandmother to one granddaughter from her first born daughter, Lynette*. Noel and all her children, including her granddaughter, live in a one-bedroom house in the sprawling peri-urban settlement around Eldoret. 

Due to her circumstances, Noel and her children were enrolled in the SOS Family Strengthening Program (FSP) – a program aimed at supporting vulnerable families, like Noel’s, so that the family will remain together and be able to face hardships that life may bring.

The FSP typically offers assistance to families in the form of healthcare, education and capacity building. Along with this support, Noel received a “Little Sun” sun cell lamp from Xellia. Before the lamp came their way, life after sunset was very difficult. Noel says she would rush to complete all her activities before dark then made due with a locally improvised light known as a “koroboi”. This is a paraffin lit tin container with a wick in the middle that, once lit, offered dim light for a short period of time.

The smell of the paraffin in a small room that is not properly ventilated, like Noel’s home, can be overwhelming. According to Noel her life has changed after receiving the sun cell lamp. She recalls that neighbours would laugh at her for always being in the dark and not being able to do more after dark. Now, all she needs to do is to put the lamp out in the sun during the day to be fully charged and when it is dark she can use the lamp to light up her entire home all the way up to her family’s bedtime.

The lamp, she says, has highly reduced her children’s getting colds, which was common when she was using the “koroboi” as a result of the paraffin smell and its usage. It would affect the children’s chests. Noel is also happy that her daughter, Miranda* can comfortably do her homework after dark, and after playing out longer with her friends. As her daughter does her homework, Noel is also able to continue with her household chores without any hurry.

SOS Children’s Villages will ensure that families like Noel continue to get bigger and more efficient lamps than the ones families have now, to enable the family to have even better lighting and enhance their quality of life.

*Names changed to protect the privacy of the children.

On the 10th December 2016, SOS Children’s Villages Kenya partnered with global online transport company Uber for their 2016 giveback promotion #UberGiving. 

According to Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Head of EMEA at Uber, the act of giving is often highly personal with people having all sorts of reasons to give time, money or goods. And yet, there’s been too many occasions where I’ve heard people not donate or volunteer because they don’t know how or due to uncertainty of impact, a lack of accessibility or the lack of knowledge on where to start.

UberGIVING campaign aimed at making it easier for people to donate items in need, and support the work of SOS Children’s Villages in Nairobi & Mombasa. The campaign, which Uber Kenya and SOS Children’s Villages Kenya aimed to make annual, focuses on providing people with the opportunity to give back by offering locally tailored donation and volunteering opportunities at a time where many would like to do good, yet may not know where to start.

Receiving the donations at the home was SOS Children's Village Director, Fredrick Ochieng, who thanked Uber for the timely gesture urging more companies to follow suit and offer similar support to such institutions.

"On behalf of the SOS Children's Villages in Nairobi & Dar es Salaam, I'd like to thank Uber for choosing SOS as your partners on this noble initiative. Through such support you inspire the caregivers and children to work harder in order to achieve more," said Ochieng.

Loic Amado, Uber's new General Manager for East Africa who was present at the SOS Village in Buruburu Nairobi said, "We are proud to support the SOS Children's Villages Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam and Watoto Childcare Ministries in Kampala enabling them to continue the good work that that they are doing and even achieve more." Amado who was accompanied by Uber Staff and Uber driver-partners also gave SOS Village in Buruburu a corporate donation of toiletries, food and personal care products.

Amado further thanked all the riders who through a simple tap on the Uber App participated in UberGIVING. "A special thanks to our driver-partners who made this initiative possible by picking up all the donations and delivering them to the homes. We all came together to make a difference," concluded Amado.

We at SOS Children’s Villages Kenya thank Uber Kenya for this great partnership we look forward to continue partnering as we support the children of Kenya. .

For more than a decade, Xellia has been supporting SOS Children’s Villages. SOS Children’s Villages has grown, promoting the rights of children around the world, sending emergency teams to over 133 countries and territories and helping more than 2 million children and their families by providing them with a safe place to live, learn and grow up.

Xellia has selected SOS Children’s Villages as its nominated charity due to its status as a nonpolitical, non-religious and not-for-profit organization.

As stated by Xellia’s CEO, Carl-Åke Carlsson “It is in our corporate DNA to help people in need, as we strive to contribute with the development of medicines to fight life-threatening diseases and ultimately save lives. The partnership with SOS Children’s Villages is felt by us a natural fit for our company”.

From January 2015 to January 2018, Xellia has entered a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages to sponsor the SOS Medical Center Eldoret in Kenya. Through the partnership, Xellia commits to bringing healthcare to patients who are located in an underdeveloped area and in desperate need of care.

Working with SOS Children’s Villages, Xellia is able to have a direct impact on helping struggling families care for their children as the Center not only aims to treat illnesses, but also works to increase education within the community and prevent life-threatening diseases.

At the SOS Medical Center Eldoret, there are currently 10 full-time employees, and an average of 6000 patients visiting the clinic each year. At the Eldoret Medical Center, which has been in operation since 2011, the most common aliments of patients who visit the clinic are; respiratory tract infections, malaria, diabetes and hypertension, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and waterborne diseases.

The SOS Medical Center not only treats the illnesses that patients arrive with, but also provides patients with the possiblity for cancer screening, HIV testing and other diagnostic and monitoring tests for pregnant women in the community. As the Center also faces the local communities’ health concerns through door-to-door campaigns to educate and address illness awareness and prevention, the value of the SOS Medical Center Eldoret is truly incalculable. As explained by, Paula Guillet de Monthoux, Managing Director at SOS Children’s Villages Denmark “Creating sustainable financial and social progress in developing countries is only possible with the help of long-term committed partners such as Xellia.”

Theme: Conflict & Crisis in Africa: Protecting all children’s rights

“No matter where children are – whether in the countries torn apart by conflict, poverty and despair; in the countries they are passing through; or in the nations striving to provide them a new home – SOS Children’s Villages is on the ground, aiming to collaborate with state authorities, non-governmental organisations and international agencies, such as the United Nations.

With the support of our donors, we are responding to ever-evolving needs. We help families stay together. We provide counselling and emotional support to children and young people to enable them to cope with trauma. We ensure their essential needs for nutrition, shelter and care are met. We allow children to be children.

We constantly call on authorities and all partners to redouble efforts to find long-term solutions to ensure that families can stay together and children in conflict are not deprived of their childhood.

SOS Children’s Villages Kenya provides a safe place for children to shelter in its family based care programme where children abandoned or orphaned are provided with their basic needs. In addition through advocacy, SOS Chidlren's Villages Kenya builds the capacity of communities to ensure their participation in decision making processes. This also includes mobilising children to make them aware of their rights through various channels of engagement.

Further, in collaboration with the SOS Children's Villages Regional office in Addis Ababa, high level lobbying takes place with the African Union together with other child focussed organizations by bringing to the attention of the member Heads of State the consequences of conflict to children as well as their needed actions. SOS Chidren's Villages Kenya further participates in policy and legal reform to highlight the desired changes in Policy and Legislations that will ensure the upholding of the rights of children in conflict both at the national and regional level. This is also envisaged in partnership with the African Child Policy Forum.

SOS Children's Villages Kenya - 2016