**Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Flying Kites Global, Flying Kites Oasis or its Directors. Nothing posted within this blog should be considered official or sanctioned by my employer or any other organization I’m affiliated with.**
My name is Hannah Wesley; my journey with Flying Kites began in November of 2009 when I first arrived in Njabini, Kenya as a volunteer at Flying Kites Leadership Academy. I spent 6 months with some of the most amazing children I have ever met, spending my time helping to keep the house running, working on community outreach initiatives and assisting in numerous other capacities.
About 4 months into my stay, I was given the opportunity to begin working on the Oasis Program, which at that point was no more than an idea for an outreach program in the minds of the Flying Kites Executive Directors. I spent the next few months conducting needs assessment surveys at children’s homes in and around Nairobi. By May 2010, I had visited over 50 children’s homes, determining where their strengths and weaknesses lie and where we might best be able to help them achieve success. I returned to the states that month and was replaced by Frannie Noble, the Oasis Program Manager who has been based in Nairobi since May 2010.
In its present state as an outreach program of Flying Kites Global, the Oasis Program engages local and global communities to significantly improve the quality of care offered to orphaned and vulnerable children by uniting, supporting and building the capacity of existing orphanages in Nairobi, Kenya. The program connects orphanages and caregivers in Nairobi with the tools, resources and education necessary to improve childcare, achieve financial independence and gain long-term sustainability. We work with 16 children’s homes in and around Nairobi which care for over 5,200 orphaned and vulnerable children.
In my current role as Oasis Program Director, I am based full-time out of the Flying Kites headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. While there are plenty of other tasks that fall to me on a daily basis, I am primarily focused on fundraising for our annual operating budget and volunteer recruitment. Additionally, I spent a couple of months each year back in Nairobi, monitoring the program, maintaining my personal relationships with the directors of the children’s homes we work with and forging new partnerships in Kenya alongside Frannie.