The Kangemi market in Kenya is always a beehive of activity, with sellers chanting continuously to attract customers to buy their wares.
On this particular day, youth from CFCA had come to the market, this time not to buy anything but to clean it up, as the market is dirty and unkempt.
With brooms, rakes, trash bins and dust masks to cover their faces, young people from CFCA’s Maendeleo youth group got busy sweeping and collecting trash.
The dust and hot sun did not stand in their way.
“My mother sells in this market, and each time I come to assist her I feel uncomfortable,” said Sonny, a sponsored youth and member of the group. “There are banana peels, polythene bags and all sorts of dirt around.
“At some point, I got scared for my mother’s health because of the environment she is working in.”
The determination of the youth to make the market a better place to work and shop inspired others. Sellers joined in to help with the cleanup.
A spirit of solidarity filled the air, as everybody got busy cleaning the market pathways and trenches.
The youth program, which began in 2010 in CFCA’s Nairobi project, has seen youth come together to share ideas and experiences. The young people also encourage each other.
CFCA, besides providing financial assistance, helps the youth with emotional and social challenges that they face.
“Since I joined the Maendeleo youth group, I have made new friends and I have been encouraged in my life,” said Purity, a sponsored youth who is pursuing a diploma in business management at a local college. “The youth group has also made me busy, and I am able to keep away from bad company.”
Youth are prey to many vices in society, and one way to deter destructive behavior is to involve them in wholesome activities.
“We are young and energetic, and can make a positive change in the society we live in,” said Victor, a sponsored youth and the group’s organizing secretary. “We came up with the cleanup idea, and thought it was good.
“We are always thinking of ways to give back to the society, and cleaning the market was a good start.”
Seeing the youth committed to making the environment better was quite inspiring.
By cleaning up the market, they helped sellers like Sonny’s mother have a dignified place to work.
The youth group members are living up to their slogan, which is “More hope. More dignity.”