Kenneth K. Kamau
Founder – Art for Children Foundation (A4C)
Several factors led to the idea of the Art for Children Foundation, but it is the day that the idea came to me that always stand out for me.
It was in the mid-morning, during the early days of the second quarter of year 2015. I was in a matatu (public transport vehicle) on my way home from campus. Usually, it is during such long drives that my creativity in song writing kicks in. However, this day was different. Somewhere along the way, instead of creativity, it was an anxiety attack that kicked in.
For the first time, since the discovery of my music talent in 2008 and poetry in 2010, i found myself thinking about the uncertain future of my music. What if i never become a superstar? what if my music never pays? what if at the end of it all, i never have anything to show of my talent? and so many other what ifs.
At that moment, my talent felt like a well of fossil fuel, or reserve of raw mineral material that was about to exhaust. I needed to act urgently. I texted a friend, and confined in him my then current situation. Through the chats, i brainstormed to him all the possible ideas on how to best save the situation….then it (the idea) hit: What if i shifted my focus and transferred my talents to the children? that way, my talent would live forever.
What then would the children benefit from these talents? i reflected more on how i have benefited from my talents. Having been a victim of sexual abuse in my childhood, my mental health and studies were affected. I lived the best part of my life with lots of hate and resentment on school, education, society, afraid of girls, and with suicidal thoughts. This aw me always the last one in class.
Discovering and practicing my talents acted as personal therapy to my already faded hopes on life. My interest to education began to grow, and my grades began to improve. While some of my peers were getting lost in alcohol and substance abuse, i was busy writing poetry and short stories, recording music, or drawing. While others were at loggerheads with the police and getting gunned down due to their involvement in crime and gun violence, i was busy practicing my talents or studying. While some were exploring their sex life, i was busy volunteering as a care-giver to a child (rest in peace) with severe cerebral-palsy.
Maybe if some of my female relatives and friends would have identified and explored their talents, somehow maybe their talents would have saved them from; early marriages, teengerhood pregnancies, abortions and related deaths. If some of my uncles and elders would have known and practiced their talents, maybe they wouldn’t have succumbed to alcohol and drugs.
At that moment, I knew that I wanted to use my artistic abilities and creativity to save the less privileged children and turn around their pre-determined fate. It is here that i coined to the idea, the name Art for Children Foundation.
It (procrastination) however took over one year for the idea to be actualised, and on Saturday 2nd July 2016, I and several friends made our very first visit to Naivasha Children Shelter.
Overtime, and with the help of the Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors, the idea has since evolved to incorporate several areas such as: United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), Kenya’s National Values and Principles of Governance, mentorship, among others.
The A4C has also evolved from just raising talents to enabling children to grow into responsible citizen leadership. This has been made possible by you as a volunteer, donor, funder, sponsor, partner, and a well-wisher.
On march 2021, I joined the Sustainability Leadership Programme by the United People Global, where i got the idea to breakdown our functions into 3 key projects. Through reflection, lessons learnt, and combined efforts of the two boards, the Art for Children Foundation on Saturday 11th, September 2021 launched its 3 key projects. This projects are: Nakuru Children Art and Mentorship Programme (NACAMP), Ubunifu Centre, and Hii Sanaa (HISANA).
Through partnerships, funding, volunteering, and a dedicated team, this projects will enable the Nakuru community achieve SDGs 4,5, and 16.