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As the 2021 United Nations climate change conference known as COP26, (Conference of the Parties) comes to an end in Glasgow UK, we wish to acknowledge small steps that contribute towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climatic action. In 2018, Fondation Assistance International (FAI) from Switzerland funded St. Martin CSA and L’Arche Kenya’s project “Path Towards Autonomy”. The project was implemented over 3 years from April 2018 to June 2021 with the aim of enhancing the institutional, programmatic and financial sustainability of the two organizations. One of the six objectives of the project was to strengthen the technical and human capacity to use and manage information and communication technologies.

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Before the introduction of Free Primary Education in Kenya in 2003, millions of children were locked out of their basic right to education. According to the Society for International Development (2004), the Free Primary Education Policy increased the gross primary school enrollment from 5.9 million to 7.6 million, an increase of over 29%. Anthony was a beneficiary of this policy being among the over 1.7 million children out of school. Despite this creditable and promising policy, Anthony could not progress to secondary school as he was not able to pay the school fees.

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We celebrated the St. Martin Day on 6th November 2021 in a ceremony attended by our friends, associates and partners. We profited from this celebration to remember the inspiration of Saint Martin of Tours whose encounter with a poor beggar greatly transformed him. As St Martin CSA, L’Arche Kenya and Talitha Kum, we wish to welcome the vulnerable, the weak and the little ones in the society so that we too may be transformed in our efforts to uplift their lives. 

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St. Martin has developed a Community-based Health Care Model project running from April 2020 through to March 2023; this project aims to their mentally afflicted. For the third time, we are organising a fundraising luncheon in support of this project.

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St Martin annual report Page 01The annual report 2020-2021 is now available. It talks about the activities of the organisation and their achievements in a particularly challenging period. It acknowledges all the solidarity within the communities that supported people in need and gives but a few examples. We wish to express our gratitude for all the small and big contributions that were made in the spirit of St. Martin CSA.

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The current drought pushes pastoralists into farmlands. This brings tensions with the farming community which frequently erupt into violence. St. Martin CSA supported the efforts for de-escalating the situation and finding solutions.

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symp cmdChurches, religious and faith-based organizations play traditionally an important part in caring for the needy members of our society. However, some studies suggest that this engagement for solidarity and love is decreasing. On June 17, St. Martin CSA organised a symposium to discuss this development and possible solutions. 

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In preparation for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th June, the Community Programme for Addiction and Mental Health organised a symposium to take stock of the addiction issues in its target area. The event will gather a number of local institutions and personalities who will discuss emerging issues and trends on alcohol and drug abuse, challenges, and possible remedies and or interventions. 

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intrinsic valuesRecruiting and retaining volunteers is a challenge for any Non-Profit-Organisation. A recent study, done by St. Martin staff Paul Mathubi, shows that intrinsic rewards, like a sense of meaningfulness and progress, prove to be very important for volunteers.

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child participationInvolving children in matters that concern them is important for their development but also for our society. In St. Martin CSA, we believe and advocate for child participation at home, at school and in the community. We thank Kindernothilfe E.V. for partnering with us in ensuring our children thrive in a safe environment where their voice counts.

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In 2019, St. Martin CSA started a 3-year fundraising campaign for its community-based mental health care project. Despite the pandemic in 2020, the campaign was continued and surpassed the results of the previous year: KES 3.1 million could be raised to help support people with mental illnesses. We thank the communities in and around Nyahururu for their willingness and commitment in caring for the needy persons in their midst. 

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Opinion

 In 2018, St. Martin CSA rolled out a pilot community-based mental health project “Making the Invisible Visible.”  The project brought out that dignity and sanctity of life can be found in people with mental illness as in every other person. But the sacredness in people with mental illness is often hidden by their illness and cause them much suffering. Over 90% of the people we encountered were subjected to unhygienic and inhuman living conditions, neglect and degrading treatment practices at home and in the community. This article is by no means a response to mental illness but presents some perspectives from the field on mental health. I hope it will trigger a more sincere and frank dialogue on the different voices in the field of mental illness.