When God chose her to serve the vulnerable, a close friend who was a volunteer with St. Martin introduced her to volunteerism. "She showed me the importance of caring for the children with disabilities", Jane says. Out of this encounter and several visits to children with disabilities and her friend, her heart started filling with compassion. She found herself deeply rooted in serving as a volunteer with St. Martin under the Community Programme for People with Disabilities (CPPD now with L'Arche Kenya). At this time, Jane was still serving children under her friend. They could always visit the children together. Under the mentorship and motivation of her friend, she was introduced to other volunteers from Jane's neighbourhood and started joining in their meetings.
Her door was fully opened when a group of staff visited her church in 2007 and created awareness about St. Martin CSA concept of volunteerism. People were invited to volunteer under the Programme for People with Disabilities. Jane could not wait for the mass to end. She was the first to register her interest to be recruited and get a formal platform to serve. Later, the newly recruited were invited for an orientation workshop where they were inducted and got to know more about St. Martin and the programme. Then they were trained and received various knowledge and skills regarding disability. ".. today, I can handle children with disabilities, and I can assess their needs and refer them to where they could get help. Through gained interpersonal skills today, I can mix with people, something that I was not used to when I was a prison warden."
Jane appreciates and attributes her success to the support she received from the community and her church. She attests that she feels happy when she sees the children she started with. She claims that one of her first children to serve is now a teacher, and two others have completed form four regardless of their disabilities. "I am proud of my community: They no longer hide children with disabilities. We created a lot of awareness in churches in our neighbourhood and reduced the shame associated with disability..."
Today, Jane cannot serve with the same capacity as she started in 2007. She is retired and sickly. She is full of gratitude that this chance she got changed her completely. Though she cannot move around her community, people still regard her as an icon of love for children with disabilities. They always involve and consult her on issues of disabilities affecting children in the community.
Every year around the International Volunteer’s Day (5th December 2021), St. Martin celebrates its currently 600 volunteers. A series of events took place during the month of November in the different communities to acknowledge the work of the volunteers, showcase examples of their efforts, and recruit new volunteers. Additionally this year, each community chose a current case and mobilized for support in the community. They collected for school fees, for foodstuffs, or for medication for different beneficiaries and according to their needs.
St. Martin CSA is immensely grateful for the goodwill and effort of its volunteers. Without them, the mission of St. Martin could not be achieved. Thank you one and all!