Griffin Storm’s spent his SOL summer in Nanyuki, Kenya with the Simama Project. a community-based organization focused on supporting some of the most vulnerable children and youth in Kenya. The Simama Project believes that simply paying for a child’s school fees is not enough, and thus embody a “full-child” model of care, which includes: sponsorship for school tuition and board, housing for neglected or abused children in partnership with the county government, professional counseling, tutoring & mentorship, and outreach sessions at schools in the region covering topics like sex-education, self-esteem, and peer pressure. They have helped over 400 students graduate from high school since 2013. Their staff works in conjunction with the county child protection office and district courts, is highly trusted by the community, and their office provides a safe space for hundreds of people in Nanyuki.
As the first intern since 2019, and given the small size of the organization, Griffin was able to directly engage with the management team and director on a daily basis. Much of his time was spent with the “transition cohort”, a group of Simama graduates in a new gap-year program transitioning to university. Griffin built friendships with the 14 transitioners, beginning a symbiotic relationship of teaching and learning from one another. Griffin writes, “they gave me as much as I ever gave them, and I will miss the transitioners dearly.”
In his time with the cohort, Griffin developed and delivered three replicable trainings for their “life skills” portion of the program, on ChatGPT, professional networking, and WaSH systems in Kenya. He organized tours of the Nanyuki’s water & sanitation treatment plants, and in response, the transitioners developed a handwashing activity for children in the area. He also filmed and released Simama’s first interview with one of their recent graduates, which quickly became their most-viewed video ever.