Stories of AVID Volunteers in Kenya
The Australian Volunteers for International Development program provides the Australian community with opportunities to share skills and foster linkages with people and organisations in developing countries. Below are selected stories from AVID volunteers in Kenya, who share their experiences of working in a developing country.
A day at the office: Australian Volunteers in Kenya
For Australian volunteers in Kenya, a day's work could be teaching children with autism to succeed at school, helping survivors of violence to find justice, or even using a cricket match to promote social inclusion.
Floyd goes to bat for Kenyan kids
Back in 2012, Floyd Doyle was travelling through Kenya and stayed in a nice hotel just across the road from a slum area. He went over to talk to the people there and heard about their poverty, lack of job opportunities and dire plight because they couldn’t afford the fees to finish school.
Mr Doyle promised to return to offer some kind of support and so began his journey to help those less fortunate on the other side of the world, just as he had been doing for the past 20 years in the Northern Territory.
As he was about to return to Australia he saw an advertisement for a cricket coach in Kenya, as part of the Red Cross’ Australian Volunteers for International Development program.
He is now back in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on a 12-month assignment working with the Obuya Cricket Academy, teaching youth from the slums the finer points of cricket, promoting their involvement in the sport and raising funds for their school fees.
A self-confessed cricket tragic, Mr Doyle had been a successful grade cricketer in Windsor, NSW, and had taken a team of clients with alcohol and drug issues to the lmparja Cup.
He is now putting his cricket skills to good use, helping Kenya’s vulnerable and marginalised youth many of whom have learning challenges with coaching sessions in informal settlements.
Mr Doyle says the experience has taught him that Kenyans are very similar to Indigenous Australian tribes. "They, too, believe and identify strongly with their tribes," he said.
"Some of their rituals are very similar to those of the Central Australian tribes and they too have suffered from past injustices from colonisation." Mr Doyle says the most rewarding thing about working with the young Kenyans has been patience, perseverance, sharing knowledge and ideas’,"plus trying to learn the language and getting it wrong sometimes," he said.
A personal highlight was being reunited with his future wife and spending time with their newborn son, Darcy. Mr Doyle’s Warlpiri daughter, Danielle, has also accompanied him on the African journey.
Mr Doyle strongly encourages his fellow Indigenous brothers and sisters to step out of their comfort zones, experience another culture, get immersed with the people and teach them about Indigenous Australia.
"I am not sure whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians understand that everyone in foreign countries do not know that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people exist," he said.
"All they see and hear from Australia is that it is a white, wealthy country with kangaroos. Once I explained and discussed our Indigenous issues, many people were shocked and alarmed to know that Australia’s first inhabitants still experience discrimination and disadvantage in their own lands." The Australian Volunteers for International Development program also hopes more Indigenous Australians will volunteer their skills overseas.
New assignments in Asia and Africa have just been listed on the website www.australianaidvolunteers. gov.au. Volunteers receive airfares, living allowances and other support.