Kenya (Mount Kenya University) Forensics of Charity at the heart of the Mountain: Meru Campus creates impacts that last

Forensics of Charity at the heart of the Mountain: Meru Campus creates impacts that last

By. Makau Mutua, MKU Meru Campus

Forensic science teaches investigators to analyze persistent patterns of furrows and loops on finger prints to identify people. Analyzing fingerprints and foot prints left at the scene of a crime is critical part of forensic analysis. Fingerprint and foot prints analysis typically helps to connect the crime to a person who may have been present at the scene but can also be used to track a person’s previous records; arrests, parole, and other details. The analogy is equally true when we are looking for evidence of those who leave good prints of hope in our world.

Mount Kenya University is best known for leaving permanent prints of excellence and Philanthropy across the Kenya and east Africa in its participation in CSR activities. In Meru county Kenya alone, MKU has left its permanent prints by participating in the Mountain run marathon in a bid to support Meru county to build a cancer Centre twice and being among the main sponsors of the event, donation of an arsenal of items worth millions of shillings to help in the fight against Covid 19 and in numerous CSR activities in the region. The last event was held in the month of October at Tunyai children’s home. The students and staff of MKU Meru campus visited the children with goodies in terms of clothes, food stuffs and most important of all physical presence to talk, smile, play and spend time with this vulnerable group of children.

Tunyai Children Center is a community Based Organization (CBO), working with Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), their guardians and members of their surrounding communities within the Arid Tharaka Constituency in Tharaka – Nithi County, Eastern Kenya. The CBO is duly registered with Kenya Government, Department of Social Development at Marimanti Sub County Headquarters and has registration number THA/DSS/SH/0053. Currently, Tunyai Childrens Center is working with and supporting 236 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs ) who includes 50 in high schools, colleges and universities, 16 in the local Primary Schools and the youngest 170 who are living and learning at the Centre where they take all their meals, learn, play and sleep. It is managed on a day today basis by 13 Members of Management Committee that comprises of a Chairman, Secretary/ Director and Treasurer

The center fully relies on getting food donations from the surrounding Tunyai and Tharaka Communities as well as from the surrounding Churches but due to the fact that the entire Tharaka Constituency did not get enough rains during the last two rainy seasons and people didn’t have good harvests, the churches and the surrounding communities have exhausted what they have had and they have nothing more to give to us. It has no foreign support and its management depends on donations from corporate bodies, well-wishers people of good will and friends for food stuffs and school fees donations that is used to feed and pay school fees for the Centre supported children.

By spending the day with the children, the team of students and staff proved that humane acts of kindness leave enduring footprints wherever man walks, and indelible finger prints in all hearts that one touches. In a smile of  single child, we could all see the great mountain of he who shines with greatness(Mount Kenya ) smiling back to us with gratitude.  Truly, it is benevolence that proves to the world that we are alive, because such acts of munificence breathe life in the nostrils of the very earth we live on. Mount Kenya university top management understands this truth and is committed to bettering the world through corporate social responsibility. Mount Kenya University a leader in offering world class education and research believes that, it is in an inclusive society that seeds of prosperity will germinate.

Why children? One may ask. Research shows that each day more than 30,000 children succumb to death due to poverty related causes,that translates to one child in every three seconds. Let me attempt to define a poor child, this is a very young boy or girl who lacks basic needs to survive. In economic terms poverty can be looked at from two perspectives: absolute poverty and relative Absolute terms an individual lacks revenues to support physical needs. Relative poverty, a person revenue is inferior to those of other members of his community. In the safe spaces called children’s home children have experienced these two types of poverty.

On interviewing the Associate Dean of Students Ms. Laureen Muthoni for this article, I posed the question; ’ When drought is at its peak in the country and everyone is trying to keep away from philanthropy, what is motivating you to organize a CSR?

After careful thought she stated that,’ The children and youth growing up in in children’s home typically lack proper health care and nutrition. This is because most children’s homes are experiencing low economic support due to the ongoing drought situation. Most of these children are orphans, who have been exposed to the stress of domestic violence, gangs and drugs. All of this can impair brain development, negatively impacting long-term physical and mental well-being of the children. As such, there is a need to touch these children’s lives by sharing with them the little we have. When we cook for them, give them clothes, play with them and show them love, that is enough for us and we are sure, these simple acts will live permanent memories of love and hope in the children.’

On her part the Campus Director M/s Karen Mungania quipped that, “In an age where technology is sovereign and materialism runs high, people easily overlook philanthropy.” She revealed the secret of giving by stating that, ‘Your gifts guarantee a child receives benefits and support that dramatically change his or her life.  In giving, one experiences even greater joy than in receiving. Sounds simple! Yet most people don’t realize the benefits of philanthropy, specifically in the power of giving, until they experience it when happiness and gratitude radiates in the face of a child who has nothing to give you back in return but a smile of hope.” The campus director also noted the mentorship aspect of CSR to the lives of students who a majority are millennials and must be taught how to cultivate star-seeds of kindness that will illuminate dark corners of our continent.

These great lessons from the two leaders taught me two invaluable insights that I should share with you below:

  1. On the poverty trap: In many impoverished children’s home communities, children don’t have resources like books or uniforms, causing them to fall behind without the support to catch up. By sharing what we have, we can help to break this trap and offer children and the world a better, brighter future full of hope. To truly end generational poverty in Africa, children must have hope for the future and see possibilities for themselves beyond their circumstances. How best to teach this, if not though showing them practical examples in kindness.
  2. Touching children’s lives is not a physical act: we can visit them and touch them with our smile, words, courage, food, clothing, a pencil or a book. We can touch lives of children in children’s homes in Million different ways. You too can support them and create change that lasts by sharing your time and material gifts with them. The world needs lots of kindness. Kindness and philanthropy are the magical hands that restore hope by touching hearts directly.
  3. Corporates need to craft and implement moral obligation strategies that will help improve society by giving back to their communities because of the benefits of the same. Which include building loyalty and camaraderie among employees and well as building a strong customer base. Strategic CSR activities influence the choice of where customers want to spend their money.

Lastly, the campus thanks the top management of MKU for its continued leadership, support and commitment to CSR activities. In deed Mount Kenya University has proved itself in Kenya and to the world to be a beacon of philanthropy, whose kindness creates impacts that last. In sowing love to the children, MKU Meru campus forced the Mountain to Smile back to the country with hope and joy beyond any description of words.