Stahili is registered in the Netherlands, Kenya, the United States, and Canada. Our child protection and development programmes are run in Kenya while our advocacy campaigns address children’s rights globally.
Stahili is fueled mostly by volunteers, meaning that we can ensure that all donations directly impact the lives of vulnerable children. In 2015, more than 98% of donations directly supported children’s education and community development. See our most recent annual report.
Our protection and development programme are funded by generous individuals, non-profit organisations, and civil society organisations, including clubs and schools. Our human rights and global education programmes are currently volunteer-driven and fueled by experts in the field of children’s rights and education as well as students.
Stahili advocates for the universal realisation of children’s rights. Our efforts are focused on vulnerable children, with particular attention to education rights, the right to family and de-institutionalisation, child trafficking, and the impact of armed conflict on children. We also report on the use of child soldiers in a number of countries including Colombia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya, Somalia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.
We also care a lot about how young people around the globe donate their time and money and we work with students to learn about responsible engagement, sustainable development, and the harms of ‘voluntourism’.
We are often asked this question since we work with vulnerable children, some of whom may have lost one or both parents. The answer is NO! Stahili empowers families and communities to remove children from orphanages and establishes kinship and other foster care arrangements in line with the rights of the child.
Learn more about why you should say NO to orphanages.
Did you know that more than 80% of children living in orphanages have families? Orphanages are a place of last resort and have been shown to be bad for children’s development when used in the long-term. Every child has a right to remain with his or her family as far as possible. Where it is not in the best interest of the child to be with his or her family, or where he or she has no one, children’s rights law and best practices provide that alternative family-based care must be established. We need to give orphans what they need – a family!
Children are selected on the basis of their vulnerabilities and need. For children in orphanages, we consider the duration living in an orphanage or at-risk situation, and the conditions at a particular orphanage, among other factors.
For Stahili’s other programmes, including a sanitary napkin programme, beneficiaries have been selected by the local community and the village chief with Stahili on the basis of need.
We empower families and communities to remove children from orphanages or establish foster care solutions in situations where a child has no one to care for them. We also work with orphanages to help children return home and advocate for the deinstitutionalisation of children in favour of family-based solutions. Stahili is not the legal guardian of the children we support. We, however, monitor child welfare and progress on a regular basis.
All of the children we currently support have either been reunified with grandparents, aunts, uncles, or adult siblings or placed in family structures by establishing community and kinship-based foster care. Families are empowered to care for their children through support based on individual family needs, training, and medical and other support.
How does Stahili empower families and communities?
We believe that the correct and most effective response to separation from families, poverty and child exploitation lies in sustainable projects which empower children, families and communities. Stahili is community-driven. In 2015, a local community board was formed to work alongside Stahili to drive the process of sustainable change. In 2016, Stahili and the community partnered with local Chief Esther Wangechi Muchemi to end orphanages in one area of rural Kenya and to strengthen community-based solutions to poverty and institutionalisation.
Stahili supports students from primary school to post-secondary level, including university, college, and skills or vocational training. School is of little value without the tools children need to thrive, so we provide all materials and equipment needed by students to attend school such as uniforms, books, pens and pencils. We also meet personal living needs in food, accommodation, transportation, and hygiene.
Since its inception, Stahili has enjoyed 100% education retention rates, has kept all children in its programme free from institutional care, and three students have advanced to post-secondary school — a feat possible due to the integration and nurturing of children in family and community settings, combined with access to quality full-time education. We continue to build on sustainable models for development and growth.
Stahili uses a children’s rights approach in all of its programming. This means that children are key actors and agents of change. After all, children have the right to be heard when decisions are made regarding their well-being. Stahili provides training for children about their human rights and takes into account the views of children and youth when developing its programmes and monitoring and evaluating them.
Stahili also encourages students to give back to community through service. High school and post-secondary school students in the programme participate in “Project Leadership” which provides students with pocket money for school in exchange for 40 hours of community service per term.
The children we serve are vulnerable and most have lived in orphanages. We believe that children need specialised local support. Unskilled and unqualified volunteers, though acting with the best of intentions, can do more harm than good when it comes to a children’s well-being and development. For this reason we do not organise volunteer placements in Kenya. However, there are many other ways to get involved in our work from your home location to make sustainable change which has an impact.