2008-2010 The formative years of PROTECT
In 2008, Janet Corbin Hinchion had the privilege of spending time with a Kenyan friend in the district of Kitui and during that time she became acquainted with some of the hardships of life faced by the poor and deprived people of the area. The devastation caused by the HIV and AIDS epidemic was evident everywhere and the stigma endured by children whose parents succumbed to the virus was incredible. She wondered how herself and others could in some small way support the deprived children and their families and so came about the first fundraisers, The Good Friday Walk of 2009 and the 5K Run organised by Mayo Athletics and the Claremorris Athletic Club and subsequently the foundation of PROTECT the Children of Kenya in 2013.
Our initial work up to 2010 focused on the prevention of children becoming engaged in child labour and an awareness of its consequences. Below are listed some examples of the aide provided by Protect between 2008 -2020
2009-2012: Tulia Youth Polytechnic Support
Some of the children attending the Youth Polytechnic in Tulia were in danger of leaving school and becoming involved in child labour because of the inability of their parents to pay examination fees and so they became the beneficiaries of PROTECT.
By providing gutters and water tanks, roofing an existing building and planting trees, PROTECT addressed ongoing issues, the living environment became more pleasant and the enthusiasm for training and obtaining qualifications by the children increased.
2010-2016: Destitute Family Support
PROTECT undertook supporting a destitute orphaned family of eight. The children had sold everything in their household so that they could survive, including the iron sheet roofing on the bedroom. They lived and slept in one room with tree branches as their mattresses. With the generosity of our supporters it was possible to provide these children with a comfortable home, food to eat and send them to school.
2010-2020: Orphan Boy Support
A young, orphaned boy being cared for by his elderly grandmother was saved from engaging in child labour when PROTECT came to his rescue and were able to provide residential educational support for him and food assistance for his grandmother. The educational support for this orphan boy is continuing.
2011-present Ongoing Education for the prevention of child labour
Vocational Skills Training
PROTECT began providing vocational skills training support for children aged 15 years upwards who had been withdrawn from child labour by their parents/guardians and the local administration. Twelve children have been given certification by the Kenyan Industrial Training Authority for competencies in skills development in the areas of mechanics, building, hospitality, hairdressing, beauty therapy, dressmaking, welding, and electronics. All the youths are now self-sufficient and living a life of dignity, some now have young families of their own.
Six children are now in the final year of their studies and will undertake examinations with the Kenyan Industrial Training Authority in April 2021. Afterwards PROTECT will provide mentoring, food, and accommodation support for them for a period of six months by which time they should be self-sufficient.
Life Skills Training Skills
122 children have been provided with life skills training since 2011.
We have educated more than 60 key members of community groups on the concept and consequences of child labour. The focus of Protect has now moved from direct prevention of child labour, to education of children in the prevention of child labour.
Parental Training Support
Since 2016 parents and guardians of the children supported by PROTECT have been engaged in parental trainings which focus on parental responsibilities, consequences of child labour, family harmony, conflict resolution, good farming practices, alternative sources of income , saving and financial management.
2013-2020: Secondary School Fee Assistance
Between 2013 and 2020 five girls from poverty-stricken families were assisted with school fees for their secondary school education. Three girls completed secondary school and were then provided with certified computer courses. Of these three girls, two are attending University and the other girl is employed as a secretary. The final two children of the group are still attending school.