February 15, 2013

One Horizon: Giving something back

Kwangware Children’s Centre is located in the Kwangware slum in Nairobi

broadening your horizon,
brightening theirs
In 2000, the Sydney Olympics proved one significant thing. That given the chance people would seize the opportunity to ‘give back’ to the community. Since that time, volunteers have been a cornerstone of every Olympic event since 2000. And it was in 2000 that One Horizon was established. A humanitarian organisation headquartered in Sydney which aligns people’s desire to give ‘something back’ with experiences in Kenya. It provides experiences which are described regularly by its volunteers as ‘life changing’. It lives by its motto – to broaden your horizon and to brighten theirs.

One Horizon appeals to a broad demographic. It has no religious or political affiliations. You don’t have to put your life on hold for people attend on average, for between 1-5 days and you won’t be asked for donations. And there’s no requirement to have a trade skill and you won’t be asked to ‘build’ things. It’s common to see entire family groups sharing a One HORIZON experience together. And because One Horizon’s centres are in the largest slums in East Africa (it owns, manages or supports centres such as crèches, primary schools and women’s refuges). You get first hand experiences of these communities.

Volunteers can find themselves helping to cook and feed babies and toddlers, to outfit children in new sets of clothes and shoes and to help run sessions on health and hygiene. Or people can find themselves talking to women whose lives have been who have been devastated by HIV and who are being re-trained by One Horizon as seamstresses so that they can earn a living. And in a few days you can experience a variety of centres all under the supervision of One Horizon staff. Each day you receive a briefings about you can involve yourself as much as you want. And upon returning to your hotel you can also take part in One Horizon’s team dinners – experiencing the night life of Nairobi.

One Horizon was established by two Australians because they knew they could make a difference. And it’s sobering to remember that in Kenya, 50 per cent of people live below the poverty line, 40 per cent of people are unemployed (60 per cent of youth are unemployed) and the average annual wage is $750. When you add the fact that infant mortality is appalling high at 57 deaths/1000 then you can understand why ‘feeding programs’ are at the heart of what One Horizon does.

Like those that flocked to become volunteers at the Sydney Olympics, One Horizon is an organisation that appeals to a broad demographic.

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