Our Volunteers: Claire McAdie volunteering in Kenya

School of Hope, Kenya

A classroom on Kokwa Island
The Republic of Kenya is located in East Africa, sharing borders with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. The capital, Nairobi, is home to 2.5 million of the total population of over 35 million.

“Kibera is one of the biggest slums in the world, home to over one million, sixty percent of whom are children. Every person in Kibera lives in absolute poverty; being born in Kibera has been compared to being born in a prison, with no way out and no end to the sentence. No roads, no running water, no sanitation, no electricity, and not a lot of hope.”

The School of Hope is a primary school, located in Kibera, with classes from “nursery” to grade 5. There are currently about 80 students enrolled and though conditions may seem basic when compared to an Australian school, the students are happy for the opportunity to attend school.

Claire McAdie


Claire began her placement teaching conversational English to students of Talent Academy.

There has since been identified a greater need at the School of Hope in Kibera. Claire will soon begin working with students and staff in Kibera to assist develop programs in extra-curricular activities, guidance and counselling and extra tuition for academically challenged students.

Claire has previously worked for Daylesford Primary School and has been trained by Centacare, Ballarat, as a grief counselling facilitator, Palms Australia, School of Hope and Vision Africa believe Claire is very well equipped for the task.


June 23, 2009

Participants at Palms' Re-entry Weekend
During Palms’ Re-entry Weekend, 22nd — 24th May at The Hermitage Mittagong, one of the highlights is the opportunity for returned volunteers to share their stories with people with similar experiences.

One story this year especially highlighted the importance of a Community Development approach — that is, one which is driven by local initiative as much as possible.

“I’d been in placement for just under a year when I was asked to take some visiting Australians up to see a gravity fed water supply system that was not functioning.”

“They identified what they thought were the problems (some holes in the pipes), and promised to return in six months to patch the holes.”

“I found out later that they were totally inexperienced in working with gravity fed systems and didn’t understand the concepts, and that it was going to cost about $13,000 to send them up. I felt I had to challenge this approach.”

“I was able to convince the Australian partner organisation that a local Timorese company, with the appropriate expertise, could be employed without spending so much on flights.”

“We also employed a Timorese NGO (non-government organisation) to manage community expectations and understanding of the project and to provide education about the appropriate use of the system.”

“Doing it this way reduced the cost significantly. The skills of the local experts were respected and used. The project demonstrated the local capacity to solve local problems. Overall, the project this way has a good chance of being sustainable. My opinion is that sending Australian plumbers up to fix the system, at best, would have achieved nothing.”

Thank you to all the returnees for sharing their stories and to Sr Marlene Hixon, who once again facilitated the process.

Claire McAdie’s CommUNITY News no. 4

June 11, 2007

We have been waiting for this Luo night for ages as we keep missing them when they do come. All the Luos in the Nairobi area will surely be there. It is Luo music, drinks and food – should be interesting. Luo music is absolutely beautiful. They say the Luo language is the most romantic to hear of any African language.

Click here to read the full article

Claire McAdie’s CommUNITY News no. 3

February 11, 2007

It was a great Christmas experience. Everything was so simple. There was no fuss about what to buy for whom as we don’t really give presents here. We needn’t worry about an extravagant Christmas dinner. All that mattered was the company that you were with and I spent it with some wonderful people.

Click here to read the full article

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Population: 46,851,200

Area: 582,650 sq. km.

Median Age: 18.7

Literacy: 85.1 %

Languages: English, Kiswahili, numerous indigenous languages

With an estimated population of between 45 and 47 million, an exceptionally high unemployment rate, over 42% of the population under the age of fifteen and HIV, malaria, typhoid and other diseases common, few children in Nairobi have not experienced loss. Education is one of the key strategies for dealing with extreme poverty, often providing the […]

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The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, the imagination and the resources of its people. - Ernesto Sirolli