Kenneth Kamau

Founder – Art for Children Foundation (A4C)

Multiple factors contributed to the formation of the Art for Children Foundation, but the day the idea came to me remains particularly memorable.

It was a mid-morning in the second quarter of 2015 when I found myself on a matatu, heading home from campus. Long drives often sparked my creativity for songwriting, but on this day, something different occurred. Instead of creative thoughts, I was hit with an anxiety attack. For the first time since discovering my musical talent in 2008 and poetry in 2010, I began contemplating the uncertain future of my music. Questions like “What if I never become a superstar?” and “What if my music never brings financial stability?” flooded my mind. The fear of having nothing to show for my talent loomed over me.

In that moment, my talent felt like a finite resource, a well of fossil fuel or a reserve of raw material on the verge of depletion. I realized I needed to take immediate action. I reached out to a friend and shared my current situation, engaging in a chat where I brainstormed various ideas to salvage my predicament. Then, it struck me: What if I shifted my focus and redirected my talents towards children? This way, my talent would live on eternally.

But how would children benefit from these talents? I contemplated the ways in which I had benefited from my own talents. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, my mental health and academic performance suffered greatly. I lived with immense hatred and resentment towards school, education, society, and developed a fear of relationships with girls, even harboring suicidal thoughts. Consequently, I consistently ranked last in my class.

However, discovering and honing my talents acted as a form of personal therapy, reigniting my dwindling hope in life. My interest in education began to grow, and my grades started to improve. While some of my peers succumbed to alcohol and substance abuse, I immersed myself in writing poetry, creating music, and drawing. While others encountered run-ins with the law, resulting in fatal encounters due to involvement in crime and gun violence, I dedicated my time to practicing my talents and studying. While some explored their sexuality, I volunteered as a caregiver for a child with severe cerebral palsy (rest in peace).

Perhaps if some of my female relatives and friends had discovered and explored their talents, it could have saved them from early marriages, teenage pregnancies, abortions, and related tragedies. If some of my uncles and older relatives had known and embraced their talents, they might have avoided succumbing to alcohol and drug addiction.

In that pivotal moment, I realized I wanted to utilize my artistic abilities and creativity to rescue underprivileged children and alter their predetermined destinies. It was during this realization that I coined the name for the idea: the Art for Children Foundation.

However, procrastination delayed the actualization of the idea for over a year. Finally, on Saturday, July 2nd, 2016, I, along with several friends, made our inaugural visit to Naivasha Children Shelter.

Over time, with the assistance of the Advisory Board and the Board of Directors, the initial concept has evolved to encompass several areas, such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kenya’s National Values and Principles of Governance, and mentorship, among others.

The A4C has expanded its focus from solely nurturing talent to enabling children to grow into responsible citizen leaders. This transformation has been made possible through the support and contributions of volunteers, donors, funders, sponsors, partners, and well-wishers like yourself.

In March 2021, I participated in the Sustainability Leadership Programme by United People Global, where I gained inspiration to divide our efforts into three key projects. Through reflection, lessons learned, and the combined efforts of both boards, the

Art for Children Foundation launched its three key projects on Saturday, September 11th, 2021: the Nakuru Children Art and Mentorship Programme (NACAMP), the Ubunifu Centre, and Hii Sanaa (HISANA).

Through partnerships, funding, volunteering, and a dedicated team, these projects will empower the Nakuru community to achieve SDGs 4, 5, and 16.

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