The Angaza Project issues a 2022 Presidential Volunteer Award to Kevin Wachira of Viatu Foundation!
A couple years ago, our Founder Jennifer Wiley met the Founder of Viatu Foundation, Kevin Wachira, in a Facebook Nonprofit Growth pilot program hosted by Facebook. As the world was navigating a pandemic, the Founders engaged the pilot program to see what everyone was doing and share ideas. As everyone was posting a brief introduction of their nonprofit in the pilot course, Kevin connected with Jennifer after seeing a familiar Swahili word- Angaza. After a chat, it turns out that Kevin is originally from Thika just outside of Nairobi, now living in Kansas City, MO, working as a Registered Nurse at the St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City. In Kevin's summary of Viatu Foundation, he shared that it was formed to serve children across Kenya who were in need of shoes. Growing up in Kenya, he remembers how hard it was for children to obtain shoes (specifically school shoes) and without shoes, the kids risk a well known problem of jiggers. Jiggers are small sand fleas that are often found in sand, dirt and inside structures made of mud with earthen floors. These bugs will get into the skin and cause small swollen lesions, with a black dot at the centre, which can grow to the size of a pea. Severe pathology following an infestation is caused by bacteria entering the skin when the jigger penetrates. These infections can lead to abscess formation, tissue necrosis and gangrene. Tungiasis has also been associated with tetanus, possible due to the entry of the soil pathogen. The bottom line is that it is quite painful and very unhealthy! Being a Registered Nurse, Kevin wanted to make sure that youth across Kenya did not go without shoes so it can help ensure healthy feet. Something else very special about Viatu Foundation is that like Angaza, it has an economic empowerment component! Viatu supports local skilled shoe makers by purchasing the shoes from local shoe makers rather than "big box" stores in larger cities somewhere in Kenya, ultimately economically empowering local makers and communities.
After hearing more about The Angaza Project, Kevin had the idea of the two nonprofits working together and decided Viatu Foundation could help the girls at The Angaza Project. Last month, the girls in Angaza's Shining Scholars program and the girls in the Girls Empowerment in Kibera, Kenya became recipients of Viatu Foundation's shoe program. Kevin worked with his team here in the United States and back in Kenya to raise funds that would provide shoes for EVERY girl in our program which was AMAZING! The girls in our program were incredibly excited to receive new shoes which not only gave them confidence in going to school with shoes that well fit their feet, but it ensures our girls will maintain healthy feet at the same time. Angaza operates and serves girls in Kibera, Kenya where much of the community is mud and metal structures with earthen floors.
Despite his busy schedule working full time as a RN at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, he has been giving all of his free time to the mission of Viatu Foundation over the last few years since healthy feet are incredibly important to him. Just this year alone he has reached more than 100 hours already in 2022! After connecting with Angaza and also giving some of his time to us in fundraising and planning, he gained even more hours of volunteer service, well surpassing the 100 he already had. As some may already know, The Angaza Project is a certifying organization for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award powered by Points of Light and AmeriCorp. With the verified service hours he has already completed with Viatu, coupled with the additional hours with The Angaza Project, Kevin was nominated for a 2022 Presidential Volunteer Service Award with Points of Light and Americorp.
Kevin, we are proud of you for all of your hard work making sure youth across Kenya have healthy feet
and we find it to be amazing that you do this while also working full time as a RN in the United States.
We truly see how much you care about the health of others, making sure to extend your care to your communities in Kenya. There is one other thing we know....your community in Kansas City, MO is very lucky to have you there as part of their local health team at St. Luke's Hospital! We thank you for caring about the girls at The Angaza Project in Kibera, Kenya and selflessly giving your time to our organization as well! We look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come! Congratulations on your 2022 Presidential Volunteer Service Award powered by Points of Light and AmeriCorp! We hope you will be able to proudly wear the award lapel pin on your RN coat! Our Founder wishes we could have met in person and personally pinned your RN coat with this special award from Points of Light and Americorp!