HOVIC is a project funded by Comic Relief which supports some of Kisumu's 20,000 working or sleeping rough on the streets. It has a very special in David Walliams heart after he met Phillip, a boy who was living rough and sleeping on a central reservation under a tarpaulin in 2012. This weekend David visited Phillip to see how HOVIC's support has helped him in the last three years. I'm pleased to report that Phillip, who turns 16 this year, is now a prefect at the school which he attends.
HOVIC not only offers kids like Phillip a shower, food and a safe place to sleep but also helps kids longer term prospects by helping them get back into education and become independent. This comprehensive service really does mean that a lasting positive change to these children's lives is possible thanks to money donated to Red Nose Day.
In the past three years, HOVIC have helped 661 children access education, facilitated access to justice for 49 children, reunified 146 with either their families or foster homes, provided health care services for over 2000 children and given shelter for 288 children.
In this tailoring class room, we spoke to Nancy, who, having been supported by HOVIC, has learnt a skill, gained confidence and found employment as a tailors assistant. She told us that she plans to save her wages until she has enough money to start her own business. Nancy also returns to HOVIC to help train younger girls and boys. She is very grateful to HOVIC for the support they have given her, turning her life around and, like the majority of people using a project she wants to give back and help others.
That's something that we don't often think about, the bigger picture. It's rarely a case of helping just one person, that person then goes on to share knowledge with family, friends and other people using projects services afterwards. A ripple effect if you like.
Spot the broadcasting equipment !
In the courtyard, David reports live to radio, whilst in another room we find some boys threading beads.
We also spoke to Joseph and Daniel, who you can see below, both telling us their backgrounds and how HOVIC has changed their lives.
Joseph's parents died when he was young and because he was born out of 'the family' (which I presume to mean wedlock), he was shunned from the extended family, no one would take care of him. So, for a while, he stayed in the family home alone, he even tried to go to school but the school would not register him without a guardian present. Upset that he had no family and no school to go to he left home and walked 400 km to Kisumu. As a younger boy on the streets he soon found other homeless boys who looked after him, 'the bigger boys protected me from the bullies'. Joseph began to use drugs and sniffing glue. And then he heard about HOVIC.
Once he had visited and been accepted into the programme, he was helped with his drug problems and his determination to receive access to education finally rewarded. Now, he's finished at the project and is a self-employed motorbike mechanic.
HOVIC shows us that when children are given the chance to learn they can build themselves a better future. It's wonderful that there is this resource for children who have no one, no home and no hope, that can turn a broken child into a strong, confident, self-reliant child who in turn will help others.
When you donate to Comic Relief, it really is a gift that literally keeps on giving.
Did you know?
£10 could help a child who used to live on the streets of Kenya get an education by buying them a uniform to attend school
£190 could help a young person who used to live on the streets of Kenya build a better future for themselves by paying for them to go on a vocational training course.
This years Red Nose Day is Friday 13th March. Since the last Red Nose Day your money has helped over 12 million people living in unimaginably tough lives in the poorest communities all over the world.