07 Aug A Grand Affair: Saying Hello to the Young County Change Makers’ Community Library
Written by Meg Bearor, East Africa Politics & Perceptions trip leader.
Our East Africa Politics & Perceptions team had the unique privilege of attending the Young County Change Makers’ (YCCM) opening of their community library and public toilets last week! The day was full of smiling faces, cakes to be cut, speeches to be made and dreams fulfilled!
Over the summer two teams have been working with YCCM in Kisumu, Kenya to assist in carrying out their regular programming but also contributing to making their dream of a library/community centre a reality.
First off I should tell you a bit about what the amazing people at Young County Change Makers do, what they are passionate about and who they are. The YCCM mission is, “to mobilize a progressive community of young people that upholds human rights and is united in tackling slum youth poverty and the promotion of peace and reconciliation through sports, entrepreneurship training and gender equality education within Kisumu County.” This community-based organization aims to provide disadvantaged youth with a voice and with the completion of the new library, a space to do just that. YCCM’s core activities are focused on the youth within Kisumu County to create a community free from discrimination, idleness, and hatred. Their three main focus areas are peace & reconcilation, entreprenuership & education, and gender & human rights.
The amazing core members: Brian, Mike, Winnie, Steve, Zaq, and Electrine are some of the most passionate young people that our team has ever met. We never left a meeting or activity without one of our team members being in awe of somebody’s passion, sacrifices, or just general awesomeness. The members of YCCM are all youth who have decided to put their passions to good use and help positively develop the other young people in their community. Who better to make a change than the youth of the community? It has been an honor over the last few months to work alongside them in completing their community library and learning every step of the way.
On July 26th, YCCM opened the doors of their new library up to the public for the first time! It was a grand event. The event started with some of the musical talents of Nyalenda’s youth, followed with short speeches made by some of the members, trip leaders Meg and Jo, and a special guest: Abdul Omar, a prominent member of the Kisumu political scene. The speeches were followed by some commemorative tree planting, each tree representing someone who had a great impact on YCCM’s’ work. Then it was time for cake, juice, music, tours of the library and the real festivities!
It’s hard to put into words the wonderfulness of this day. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside YCCM with both the Gender & Human Rights and Politics & Perceptions teams and it has been inspiring to see these young people give so much of their time and energy to such amazing causes. I believe I speak for all the OGers who have passed through Kisumu over the last four months when I say that the work of YCCM has encouraged us all to take action and make more of an impact in our communities at home and abroad.
Congratulations YCCM on your successes so far! We can’t wait to work together again in the future!