Launch of the Livelihood Project for Kibera Older People by the Ethel Foundation

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On the bright morning of August 28, 2023, a significant and heartwarming event took place at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Adams Arcade in Nairobi, Kenya. The event marked the official launch of a Livelihood Project for Kibera Older People, an initiative that aims to empower the elderly population by imparting valuable skills in weaving, carving, beading, and embroidery. This project, which has been brought to life through a joint effort by the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) and Ethel Foundation for the Aged (EFA), promises to bring about positive transformation in the lives of Kibera slums senior citizens.

The Livelihood Project for Older People aims to provide opportunities for senior citizens to enhance their skills, foster a sense of productive engagement, and ultimately uplift their quality of life. By teaching skills such as weaving, carving, beading, and embroidery, the project seeks to enable these individuals to generate income, gain a renewed sense of purpose, overcome mental stress, and contribute to their community in a meaningful way.

The launch event was a jubilant occasion, attended by representatives from different development partners, local community leaders, older people, and enthusiastic members of the Kibera community. The event commenced with a Eucharist celebration led by Rev. Fr. Titus Wambua, C.Ss.R, – the Redemptorists Kenya Mission a Superior. Concelebrating the Mass were Rev. Fr. Noel, Sottima, C.Ss.R, -the Redemptorist coordinator for Africa and Madagascar, Rev. Fr. Cornel Omondi, C.Ss.R, -the director of Ethel Foundation for the Aged, Rev. Fr. Lewis Mutiso, C.Ss.R, Rev. Fr. Augustine, C.Ss.R. and Rev. Fr. Boniface from Murang’a diocese in Kenya.

In his opening remarks Rev. Fr. Cornel Omondi, C.Ss.R. expressed his gratitude for the partnership between KCDF and EFA that made this initiative possible. He highlighted the significance of empowering the older generation and ensuring that their wisdom and talents continue to enrich the community.

The event featured demonstrations of the various skills that the project participants would be learning. Local artisans showcased their expertise in weaving, carving, beading, and embroidery, captivating the audience with their intricate creations. This served as a glimpse into the possibilities that lay ahead for the older people of Kibera.

The launch event also emphasized the importance of community engagement. Different partners stressed the need for collective support to ensure the success of the project and the realization of the rights of older people. Local residents expressed their enthusiasm for the initiative, pledging to provide encouragement and assistance to the elderly participants throughout their learning journey.

The launch of the EFA Livelihood Project for Kibera Older People marked a pivotal moment in the community’s efforts towards inclusivity, empowerment, and sustainable development for older people. By focusing on skill-building and economic empowerment, the project promises to create a positive ripple effect that will extend beyond the individual participants to benefit the entire Kibera community. As the project commences its journey, the participants embark on a path of growth and renewed purpose. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to witnessing the transformative impact that this initiative will undoubtedly bring to the lives of Kibera’s older people and the community as a whole.

Fr. Noel Sottima, CSsR.