In 2002 Rachel Sanders the founder of TABS International was fortunate to take advantage of an opportunity to travel to Kenya with a group of people from churches in East Devon. The purpose of the trip was to visit a number of projects supported by church members and meet the leaders of those projects. All the projects worked with children and families trying to alleviate the impact of poverty and deprivation by providing healthcare, feeding programmes and education.
Supporting families from poor backgrounds
Many of the families lived in slum areas and many children were orphans. It occurred to her that the work taking place in the projects there was very similar to her own work back in the UK with disadvantaged and homeless people. Like many young people in the UK Rachel’s two daughters had a GAP year before going to university. The impact on them was profound. It struck her that the homeless young people she worked with would never have that opportunity. Could we bring the two things together, working to alleviate the impact of extreme poverty and providing disadvantaged people with a life changing experience.
Intrepid explorers build a school canteen
And so, in January 2006 after much fundraising and with much support a small group intrepid explorers made up of five volunteers, four young people and Bob the builder travelled to a slum in Nairobi known as Kayole to build a school canteen in one of the projects we support. Since this trip we haven’t looked back and in 2007 TABS International was formally registered as a charity with the charity commission. We have visited Kenya many times since and 3 of these trips being with a group of volunteers made up of disadvantaged people all over the UK who have worked in the project we support in Kiandutu, digging foundations, building school buildings, painting, and anything that needs doing while we are there.
Achievements to date
What we have achieved to date has been amazing, we have focused much of our efforts in one particular slum called Kiandutu in Thika. We have developed a school that now has 400 children and growing year on year. Not only are children being educated for the first time but every child receives a free school lunch – crucial for families who are living on the bread line and whose children often go hungry.
Working at grass roots level developing partnerships with the creation of TABS Kenya
We have also worked with our Kenyan partners to register a sister charity to TABS International. TABS Kenya now has Kenyan trustees registered as a Kenyan charity. TABS Kenya lead on taking forward our vision for TABS in Kenya, expanding the work and developing new partnerships. We feel it’s vital to be working through people on the ground, living in the communities we are supporting. This ensures that whatever we develop is really meeting the needs of those communities.
Exciting future for TABS Kenya
We feel very excited about the future for TABS Kenya and the potential for expansion of our work. We need to continue raising funds in order to support our development programme and enable us to provide volunteer opportunities.
Sustainability approach and International plans to grow
Sustainability is fundamental to our approach, and we are extending the site in order to develop social enterprise that will not only bring money into the day to day running of the school, but provide the local community with employment opportunities. TABS International has plans to grow. Kiandutu is just the start. With your help, we can work together to improve healthcare and housing, and set up social enterprises to create employment.
Changing lives in Kenya and the UK
We know our efforts make a difference – not only in Africa where we have seen our support make life saving changes in children’s lives – but also here in the UK where we have seen people who have been able to make life changing differences to their lives through their involvement with TABS.
To find out more about our current project development plans visit our NEWS page