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Community Service is service/work that somebody may do for the benefit of his or her local community. In most cases this is work done near the area you live or rather the community near you.
This service is given to the less fortunate in the society. It may include children, old people sick people in hospitals and persons living with disabilities. Community service is voluntary and people rendering this service may not receive any compensation for their service.
Examples of community service include teaching school children in a school, taking care of old people in their homes, assisting in a children’s home to take care of the children, raising money to do an income generating project for the community among others.
Benefits of Community Service
Community service has several benefits both for the individual performing the service and to those receiving the service.
For an individual one may acquire new skills for example a person working with persons with disability, specifically the deaf, you learn the signs the use to communicate.
It also helps somebody to appreciate and be thankful of what the have. Community service helps you see that some people survive without basic needs and hence this changes your perspective towards life. Its helps you to be thankful of what you have.
Community service may help create careers for other. After volunteering in certain field someone may gain valuable skills that he or she may use as a career option.
It also helps a person acquire social skills. This happens a person interacts with other members of the society.
To the community it helps in several ways
It may help a community or a group of people to be self-sustainable through income generating projects that may be done by volunteers.
Community service may create jobs for the less fortunate in the society.
Community service projects help provide basic needs to the less fortunate in the society
It helps to create understanding and harmony between people in a society
Brief history of the St Ann’s
St. Anne’s Children’s home and rehabilitation center started in 2002. The main aim was to provide care and support to orphans, needy and vulnerable children by providing quality livelihood. Located in Dandora Phase II, Councilor Opondo road, Nairobi, Kenya, the center is run and managed by Anna Khasoa. The main objective is to provide quality livelihood and education to orphans and vulnerable children.
The project was done at St Ann’s Children’s home and the objectives of the project was as follows:
To provide St. Anne’s Children’s home with facilities that will enhance their livelihood and help them achieve their educational goal.
To help them integrate into the society by teaching the students how to relate with other in the society.
To cultivate self-confidence, self-respect & sense of self-worth by teaching values of life.
Develop their talents and skills in various fields of influence as well as impart them with new capacities.
Improve sanitation of the environment they live in and study to make learning more attractive.
The project involved raising funds to purchase items that were urgently needed by the children at St Ann’s. The children lack adequate books to enable learn hence textbooks were provided. They also urgently require bedding mattresses and blankets. The ones they had were too old and not even enough some children had to share. We also provided sanitary towels for the girls. We provided enough to last them for one year.
Impact of the project on society
The society specifically St Ann’s children’s home benefited from this project. From the items we donated the children can now sleep in comfortably. They also benefited from the blankets and bed sheets which will help them during the cold season. By spending time with the children and relating with them it brings a feeling of cohesion and togetherness it helps them feel not left out or forgotten. This gives them hope that they are not alone in their struggles. It also helps build relationships of friendship and trust between people of different backgrounds.
Interpersonal Learning Experience
From the time I spent interacting with the children I developed skills such as team work , analytical thinking, and problem solving. The children at St Ann’s do lot of teamwork. They did their duties which includes washing in groups. They also played in groups. Interacting with the children at St Ann’s helped to boost my confidence and greatly improve my public speaking skills. During the visits I was tasked with talking to the children and giving them guidance and advice. I was also able to learn a few football moves from them as we played with them during one my visits.
I was able to learn how important time management is especially when one need get desirable results. The children follow a strict time table to do their daily tasks and this helped me to learn that in such a setting time management is very important. It helps a person to become organized and disciplined.
Interacting with many children
I have never interacted with children, so this was a perfect opportunity to learn how to interact with children and how to relate with them. At first it was a bit of a challenge to interact with them but in the end, I managed. I was able to learn quite a lot from them like the songs and games they like. This was a good experience for me. Giving back to the community.
From my community service at St Ann’s I learnt the importance of helping those in need. It also changed my perspective on volunteering. It has given me a sense of social responsibility. I also learnt that community service should not just be about giving money but also your time. This helps you to relate with the person and learn from them. It gives you a better understanding of what they may be going through.
Like any other organization there are Strengths Weakness Opportunities and Threats. The following is the SWOT analysis of St Ann’s
1) Team work
This is the combined effort of the children as well as their care givers. The organization embraces team work. They do everything in groups. The elder children lead the other children in performing various chores that have been assigned to them. Some of these chores include cleaning the dormitories and classrooms. They also assist in cooking with supervision from their cook who is a volunteer
2) Existence of piece of land
They have around 5 acres on a different location that they may use to build more classrooms for the children or even start an income generating project to help sustain them
3) Dedicated staff and care givers
They have caring and dedicated staff. They are loyal and committed to help the children in whatever way they can. The consider the children as their own children This is a strength to the organization since most of them work there on a voluntary basis.
4) Sponsorship from other organizations and well wishers
On several occasions well-wishers pop in and contribute whatever they have to the organization. This goes a long way in assisting them with their daily need. Some organizations like churches also assist them.
1) Lack of income generating project
They heavily rely on the donors and well-wishers for their survival. This is a big weakness since if they had such a project they would be able to get money for food which is one of the major challenges they face.
2) Lack of Enough space
The home is over crowded and the children sometimes have to share beds and bedding some of them are forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor due to lack of beds. There is also no play ground for the children nearby. They are limited on the games they can play. They have to walk a distance for them to get a good play ground. The washrooms in the home are not in good condition and this is a health risk to the children. They may contract infections due to lack of hygiene.
3) Lack of enough resources
The home is forced to steal water through illegal pipe connection since they cannot afford the water bill which is very high.
1) Foreign donors
They have a website. This could help them get more donors especially foreign donors. They also have a campaign on M-Changa that they may use to get funding
2) Room for expansion
The owner has a piece of land that could be used to expand the home and build more rooms and facilities for the children
3) Talented Children
Most of the children have valuable talents that maybe used to improve their lives. These include singing, playing football, dancing and drawing. The children are also eager to learn new things especially when they meet new people.
When the children lack bedding they may feel cold during the night and they may become sick. They may also get infections since the washrooms are not clean most of the times. When the children are going to the play ground they cross a very busy road which is dangerous for them. They depend on donations from well-wishers. This is a serious threat since it is not a guarantee that they well get donations to last them a long time.
One of the major problems St. Anne’s Children’s home had is feeding the children every day. Food is becoming expensive everyday and the burden falls on their care givers to provide food for them. The solely depend on the little the director/founder may provide and sometimes donations. However, they have the potential of starting a small project that would help them generate income hence they will be able to get money for their daily food.
I also saw they have very talented children who can sing and play football. They care givers and the volunteer teachers should help these children nurture and grow their talents. This will help the children to be self-sustainable in future by making use of their talents.
St Ann’s Children’s Home is helping a lot of children in the community. They should however try and come up with projects of their own that could help them generate money. They should not solely depend on donors. I learnt a lot from my community service at St Ann’s Children’s Home. It was a good experience for me and it made me appreciate what I have. I saw the importance of interacting with less fortunate members of the society. I also learnt how to interact with children of different ages. This is something you may not learn in school and it is a very important skill.
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