Discover Kutana Wema: Transforming Lives with Compassion

By: Barbara Brown, RP, BSc Hon, MTS

Redbird Therapy is thrilled to be co-leading the annual Kutana Wema program, in collaboration with the Wema Centre in Mombasa, Kenya. The Wema Centre rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates street connected children. As a grassroots Non-Government Organization (NGO) they have been providing holistic care since 1993, focusing on empowering children and local communities. Wema’s impactful outreach extends to places like the Mwakirunge dumpsite, where essential supplies and vital knowledge are shared.

Kutana Wema – a week long intensive knowledge share program – offers engagement opportunities with Wema’s staff and beneficiaries. We participate in training, outreach, play, art, games, soccer, and cooking, being a part of nurturing young souls with care and compassion.

No matter what your skill set is, you can travel with a purpose and let Kutana Wema make a difference in you.

Registration is currently open for 2025! Limited spots are available.

Join us as we hear from North American participants whose lives have been transformed by Kutana Wema’s profound impact:

To my Dear Friends, Family and New Supporters of Wema!

After 7 airports, over nearly 50 hours of travel, some eye opening, heart pumping experiences and some life altering connections. I am back! Here is a little reflection.

Traveling to Mombasa, Kenya, to visit the Wema Centre was a profound experience that deeply touched my heart and broadened my perspective. As I stepped into the community surrounding the Wema Centre, I was confronted with the stark realities of poverty and devastation that many people endure on a daily basis. The living conditions were challenging, with makeshift shelters and limited access to basic necessities. However, amidst these hardships, what struck me the most was the resilience, hope, and unwavering spirit of the people I met.

Part of the Kutana Wema experience was interacting with the staff at the Wema Centre, and it was enlightening and humbling. Meeting the Founder Lucy, and hearing the story of how meeting a 6 year old girl on the streets turned into a 30 year journey of helping 100+ kids annually get off the street, receive an education and experience actual true love, for some, the first time in their lives. The teams dedication to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families was palpable, and their passion for creating positive change was truly inspiring. Despite facing immense challenges, the team approach their work with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with the staff at the Wema Centre was a privilege. We exchanged ideas, strategies, and insights, exploring ways to enhance their programs and maximize their impact within the community. It was a collaborative effort fueled by a shared desire to empower individuals and foster sustainable development.

What left the most profound impression on me was the abundant joy, love, and sense of community that permeated the Wema Centre children. Despite their circumstances and extremely traumatic life altering events, the children radiated with laughter and enthusiasm, reminding me of the transformative power of resilience and hope. Their unwavering spirit was a testament to the human capacity for strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. Spending time with the kids, from all ages (1.5yrs to 18) was the most enriching experience I have ever had. My soul and outlook on life will be forever changed by the children of Wema.

Leaving Mombasa, I carry with me a renewed sense of gratitude, humility, and purpose. My experience at the Wema Centre served as a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and solidarity in creating a more just and equitable world. It reinforced my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity and the transformative potential of collective action.

My relationship with the Wema Team/Family is far from over. There is much more to be done.

I would like to share my gratitude to everyone who donated to this cause with me. We raised over $3,000 (plus my personal contributions prior to the trip and additional funds once on the ground 😀 – for soccer funds) for the Centre and I could not have done it without you! Together we created a little bit more hope and joy for those who deserve it most…the children.
With Love and Gratitude,
Jamie & the Children of Wema xo

Kutana Wema 2024

Jambo All!

My name is Rachel and I was fortunate enough to join Kutana Wema 2023; the inaugural year for the program. At the time of the program, I was in my final year at Wilfrid Laurier University for my bachelor degree in psychology.

My journey began in the spring of 2022 when my boss at the golf course called me. We had a group of ladies staying for a golf clinic. They were called the ‘Smashing Ladies’. My boss told me that I needed to speak to Fareen, the group director, concerning an amazing opportunity he thought would be perfect for me. That day, I went to work early to sit with Fareen and she told me about this amazing program she and Redbird Therapy are co-founders of, in partnership with Wema Centre – Kutana Wema.

For Kutana Wema we would travel to Mombasa, Kenya to visit a child protection centre to participate in a knowledge exchange program. Far shared that we would have the opportunity to learn about typical Kenyan practices and we would share our Canadian practices. We would get a chance to spend time with the children who live at the centre and participate in street outreach. Immediately, I knew that I had to do whatever I need to in order to be able to join this program. With the help of family, friends, and the community at the golf course, I was able to join Fareen and Barbara, Clinical Director at Redbird Therapy, in Mombasa at the Wema Centre.

The second we pulled into the driveway, you could hear the sounds of children talking and laughing. As we walked around the campus of Wema, we kept being greeted by the joyful children who lived there. They were so excited to show us around; they showed us where they slept, where they ate, and where they played. They told us their full name, first and last, then ten minutes later ask you if you remembered it. The first day we were at the Centre was the day before the kids went back to school from Christmas break, so the energy and excitement was through the roof! As we continued to walk the campus, we come across a large group of the kids playing a game of dodgeball. So, of course we had to join them! We played with the kids for the rest of the first day, before we head back to the hotel for the night.

The remainder of the week at Wema included street outreach, art therapy, group therapy, more playing, singing, dancing, and a community round table.

The community round table was the point of the program when the staff at Wema explained to us a typical day at the centre, practices for street outreach and psychosocial practices used at the centre. We were so fortunate to have members of the community who worked at other children protection organizations join us for this meeting. They shared with us what their organizations did and what their typical practices were like. As this is an exchange program, we also had the chance to share knowledge concerning what Canadian homelessness looks like, common practices in that child protection and psychosocial interventions. This day truly made the whole program step up another level. We were learning from each other by having an open conversation and by being vulnerable with each other, the room truly felt safe and nurturing. As we broke down personal walls and laid who we were at our feet, we built relationships between the two groups and were able to strengthen our foundations. The learning, however, did not stop there. The entire week was filled new insights, new people, and new experiences. I could feel myself actively changing and growing throughout our time there.

Though the week with Wema was mostly filled with joy, some situations were very testing and hard. Street outreach provided me a whole new perspective on my life and the lives of those who are experiencing homelessness. You get to learn about the dangers and situation that street children may have to face. However, you also get to see how resilient these children are and how their joy prevails. You get to see how smart and innovative they are. You get to see how kind and passionate they are.

Kutana Wema is, and will remain, one of the best experiences of my life. I do not have any other words than that to describe it. If anybody is considering attending Kutana in 2025 or 2026, I highly encourage them to attend. The experience is so unique and so special. The emotions and feelings it will evoke, the people you will meet, and the smiles you will see will make everything you go through to get there worth it.

With love and kindness,

Rachel King


On Key

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