Caroline Wairimu Kamau is the founder of Entito Sidai, a Community Based Organization (CBO) that is based in Kajiado County. She recently won the Under 30 Social Founder of the Year Award (FOYA). FOYA was founded to recognize and appreciate young founders developing Africa by creating jobs through entrepreneurship.
The young founder is bubbly and her persona oozes tons of optimism and confidence. We caught up with her and she shared her journey as a humanitarian and the future of her brainchild, Entito Sidai.
KV: Congratulations on winning the FOYA Under 30 Social founder Award. How did that feel?
Caroline: (Smiles broadly) I was speechless, surprised, humbled and also very happy.
KV: Tell us about Entito Sidai, what’s your vision, mission?
Caroline: Entito Sidai is a Community Based Organization (CBO) that supports and collaborates with other organizations to rescue children from retrogressive cultural practises such as FGM, Early Marriages and other challenges such as Extreme Poverty and Dysfunctional Homes. Grace Nanana Rescue Centre is one of the organizations that we work with. It is a rescue centre for girls who’ve run away from the FGM and early marriages. Entito Sidai mentors, educates, and advocates on zero tolerance to FGM in the society in Kajiado County, Kenya. We also previously worked with other schools such as Stara Education Centre for children from dysfunctional homes among others.
KV: What motivated you to start the organization?
Caroline: When in high school, my mother got posted to work in Isinya, Kajiado County. One day I saw a bunch of pregnant kids in school uniform at a shopping Mall in Kitengela. I was curious so I went to question the lady who had accompanied these kids. I was utterly surprised when she told me that they were children as young as 10-year-olds in her rescue centre who were running away from early marriages. I went online to research about rescue centres in Kenya and officially registered Entito Sidai as a community-based organization in 2018 in preparation of life after campus.
KV: How is Entito Sidai funded?
Caroline: I started out by financing the projects from own pocket and from donations from family members and friends. At the moment Entito Sidai gets funding from well-wishers, especially those who offer donations to be taken to the children.
KV: What are some of the achievements that you have made so far with regards to the organization?
Caroline: We have been able to offer support to over 130 children at the Grace Nanana Rescue centre over the last two years currently we have 82 girls. We also have good relations with the children’s office and the community chiefs to facilitate our operations. Entito Sidai has been able to roll out a successful feeding program at Kumpa holy mothers primary school in Kajiado where we feed lower primary and ECDE class children with a daily cup of porridge this is aimed at eradicating short term hunger and encourage them to come to school. The organization is also getting more well-wishers and collaborators on board. We are also to proud to have improved the confidence and the talents of the children at the rescue centre through our mentorship programs and of course (pauses and smiles) getting the FOYA Award recognition.
KV: How do you measure the organization’s success?
Caroline: By having systems that run even when the founder is not physically present. Improving the confidence levels, academic performance and talents of the mentees and also from the visits from interested well-wishers and collaborators and online publicity.
KV; What struggles are you grappling with?
Caroline: I would say, inadequate finances, little manpower, nomadic lifestyle of the children we rescue that interferes with school program, parents who come to cause chaos demanding to have their children back, sometimes the teenage mothers struggle to balance motherhood and education and at times the children struggle to transition to other environments such as boarding high schools.
KV: How are you mitigating them?
Caroline: We work closely with children’s office and local leaders to ensure that due process is followed when rescuing the children. When both parties are ready, we organize for reconciliation between the children and their parents. We also have matrons who support the young mothers and continuously publicize our mandate so to attract more well-wishers and collaborators.
KV: What are your future plans for Entito Sidai?
Caroline: I want Entito Sidai to upgrade to an NGO so as to have a wider reach. I also hope to empower these children more so that they can also get skills that will enable them to sustain a livelihood as they transition to adulthood. I hope to be able to offer full scholarships in the near future and stabilize the feeding programs that we have.
KV: Parting shot:
Caroline: If not me then who? If not now then when?
Follow Entito Sidai online
Images courtesy of Entito Sidai