“When you’re a dad, there’s no one above you. If I don’t do something that has to be done, who is going to do it?”
— Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am
I am blessed. I’m able to take care of my son, but it pained me to see how other children couldn’t have that. On the next session I carried juice and snacks for everyone-most played on an empty stomach. The next Sunday more children joined. By the end of the month, numbers had risen to 70-80 participants. The rest as they say is history.
In 2010, SRF started out as a very small and informal program for children from Kibera (Africa’s largest slum) only. There were two volunteer coaches running training sessions for 10-15 boys at RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi. Over the last 10years, SRF has developed into the largest grassroots rugby development program in Kenya with 5 clinics in Nairobi and Kiambu county reaching over 2,000 children and youths on a weekly basis.
More than this, SRF has evolved into an organization that uses rugby as a mean to develop children and youth from slums areas both on and off the rugby pitch.
Until 2015, we only used to focus on rugby and on developing good rugby players. With time, we realized that rugby alone wasn’t enough to have a real impact on the players’ lives. We decided to expand our mission and to focus on the holistic development of the players on and off the rugby pitch.
SRF beneficiaries live in communities whose dynamics require more than just rugby skills. They experience many challenges each day that need tailored interventions. There was, therefore, the need to come up with programs that would empower our players and the communities at large to be able to overcome these challenges and lead them to live more sustainable and fulfilling lives.
Today, our programs extend over 4 pillars: 1) Grassroots Rugby Development; 2) Education and Professional Development; 3) Character Building and Resilience; 4) Community Welfare.
This approach has allowed us to have a much bigger impact on the players’ lives and the communities they come from.
Our greatest achievement so far has been the ability to provide our players with a stable platform in which they can become all-rounded people with resilience and integrity, such that they can dare to dream of a better future.
Our success has been possible mainly thanks to the people that work for the organization from office to field staff. Everyone is committed to helping the organization achieve its mission and fulfill its vision. The culture that has been built has helped make this success possible. The organization has the potential to become stronger and more impactful in the future. However, the main challenges the organization is facing are related to the funding of our projects.
Currently, our growth is slow due to our limited capacity to raise funds in Kenya, mainly, and abroad. In order for the organization to keep on growing and get closer to achieving its vision, we are currently working on: 1) Diversifying fundraising sources; and 2) Developing different profit-generating activities that would help the organization become more sustainable.
Looking back at the last 10 years, I can say that we have come quite far. The organization has been growing organically throughout the years, focusing on the sustainability of its funding and the quality of the programs delivered. If we will manage to keep our standards high, we will be able to keep expanding our reach beyond Nairobi and Kiambu, impacting children in all regions of Kenya”.