Hi, my name is Lea Sophie Kabitzsch and I am 25 years old. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I was tired of just sitting at my desk or in the office and doing tasks that were not fulfilling for me and were of little importance to the environment. I wanted to get out, clear the ocean of plastic, teach children to read in the slums and take people with me on my journey. My target: The Lion King`s magical film set AFRICA. I traveled with a friend and took friends and acquaintances with me to the slums of Nairobi, the vastness of the Serengeti, the picturesque Okavango Delta and many other fascinating places through the vivid reproduction of my experiences on social media.
On my way we collected plastic from the beaches, talked to the residents and got closer to the different countries culturally. The months that I lived and worked in the slums of Nairobi were the most significant of my life. Living in barracks with no running water, no daylight and still being surrounded by the happiest and most hopeful people turned my world upside down. I worked in an organization called the Soweto Youth Initiative and was surrounded by around 150 children every day, around 100 of whom went to school and didn’t join us until the afternoon. In the morning I tried to teach arithmetic, writing and English to the 50 remaining children. I quickly reached my limits, because who would have thought, I’m not a trained teacher and the children only speak Kiswahili. Nonetheless, the children were busy in the safe organization during the day and happily played the educational games.
The organization can rarely afford lunch for the children and so it happens that most of the days the children go to bed hungry in the evenings. I spent a lot of time with the kids and quickly became a family member of the organization. Spurred on by the still hopeful faces around me, I started my first fundraising campaign and raised around € 2,000. With the money it was now possible for me to offer the children in the organization a daily warm lunch and to ensure that this regularity is maintained even in my absence. A warm lunch is a good first step, but was it really the solution? Or was it more the solution to an episode? Shouldn’t the children go to school like everyone else, be taught by a real teacher and get something to eat in the school canteen for lunch?
I asked the organization about the annual school fees and was amazed. It would cost me € 50.00 a year to send a child to school for a full year (without school uniform, material and so on)
WOW. € 50.00. For me, this is roughly equivalent to ordering a book from Amazon, shopping at ASOS or two grocery purchases in a one-person household, and I’ve usually already spent more on all of that. I talked to the children, found out about their dreams of becoming a pilot, police officer, or monster truck driver, and wrote down my conversations. First of all, I developed the profiles of around 20 children. It wouldn’t be that hard to find sponsors for her, would it? An hour and 20 phone calls later, I had more sponsors than profiles. I worked through the nights, chatting with children and families, writing down their stories and dreams, and looking for suitable sponsors.
Just a few days later, I was allowed to bring the first child (Moses, 6 years old, sponsored by me) to school. I was overwhelmed, to be honest, with pee in my eyes all the time. Moses, actually a very shy child, was thrilled and could barely sit still in the school office. Allowing him to chase after his dreams were and is the most beautiful moment in my life so far.
I want to share this feeling with you. Since the beginning of my project in January, the number of children has risen and the number is increasing.
Because sending a secondary child to school is way more expensive, we calculated that we need 108,00 € per year for each child, to guarantee the education from beginning to end.