Courtesy Brian Ash
Courtesy Brian Ash
For more information about Arrive, visit http://arriveinkenya.org/.
University of Colorado graduate Brian Ash was on vacation when he became inspired to help kids living on the streets in Kenya.
“I went last year for a summer trip and climbed Mount Kilam and visited South Africa,” Ash said. “I ended the trip with a volunteer program in Kenya and it made the other stuff irrelevant.”
After meeting kids on the streets who were addicted to sniffing glue in order to escape their harsh, hopeless situation, Ash wanted to give them a second chance. He decided he wanted them to have a home and thus established the nonprofit Arrive.
Street kids normally steal to keep living, making at most a dollar a day, he said, adding that street children are a forgotten population in the country.
These children end up where they are for many reasons: Violence, HIV and AIDS can leave them on the street when their parents die. Children born from prostitutes are left behind.
“Once in the street, the Kenyan government has no plan to help these children,” Ash said. “These kids have slipped through the cracks of every organization and orphanage.”
Ash went back to Africa with volunteers in June and expanded a building in Keubmu, Kenya, on a two-acre plot of land to make it into a proper orphanage and school. No orphanage wants to take these kids in, he said.
Ryan Haight, a sophomore at CU, went to Kenya with Ash. Haight said the lack of resources there was a major challenge.
“The frustration comes with the feeling that you’re not doing much while you’re out there,” said Haight. “Things work slowly there, and you can’t help everybody.”
His six-week stay at Kenya exposed him to thousands of street kids, Haight said, all with a grip on a bottle of glue, which adds to the high death rate among young children there. It was jarring, he said.
“The culture shock hits you when you come back to States,” Haight said. “We have all these little conveniences, and we are fortunate to have the little things. I absolutely hope to go again.”
To get Arrive’s school going, Ash enlisted the help of locals Pastor Robert Nyamwange, who looks after the children, and Terevinah Nyamwange, who teaches them. Right now, the organization is housing 30 children, but many more are begging to be taken in, Ash said.
Now that he’s established the home and school, he wants to build a stable brick house for the children, and continue his work to bring more kids into the school and give them a future.
Contact Mirav Levy at email@example.com.