The “buy a brick, build a house” campaign for IDP’s


It’s three o’clock in the morning and its raining heavily. It should be a time of dreaming and rest. A time to get refreshed and make people ready for the next day. Sadly in the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP’s) camps this is not the case. The IDP’s are housed in tattered, torn tents which leak every time it rains. The people inside are not even asleep. They are standing as the tents flood. All over the country in IDP camps this is the situation.

After the post election violence in 2007 many people fled their homes in fear of their lives. The government and NGO’S established temporary camps in which these IDP’s were to stay. This was supposed to be a temporary situation but three years later many IDP’s are still in camps.

The tents that the IDP’s live in were supposed to be used for a maximum of 6 months but the tents have been used for close to 3 years so they are torn and tattered. Sadly because the government is trying to encourage the IDP’s to leave the camps, and go resettle back in their original homes or in other areas it is not giving replacement tents.

The internally displaced people (IDP’s) in Kenya face challenges in living in the IDP camps. There is not enough food, security, health facilities or housing. The IDP’s have beeen waiting for the government to provide them with money to relocate from the camps. Some of the IDP’s have been given some money to relocate but the money is not enough to build a house when they move to the land.

Most families were given between Ksh 10,000 and Ksh 35,000 as a resettlement allowance by the government. This is not a lot of money in which to rebuild shattered lives. Some IDP’s who go by the philosophy of if life gives you lemons make lemonade decided to make the best of a bad situation. They came together to pull their money together and they bought land in Maai Mahiu. Because of the money involved in putting up permanent structures on the land they have been forced to continue living in the IDP camps while they look for money to build houses.

Habitat for humanity has been building houses for IDP’s in Mai Mahiu. The rotaract clubs of Kenya got interested in the project and decided to form a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Kenya to help in the effort to provide the IDP’s with shelter.. Each house costs approximately 200, 000 to build.

In late July 2010, Habitat for Humanity Kenya partnered with Rotaract Clubs of Kenya to help build houses for the remaining 160 internally displaced families in Maai Mahiu IDP camp. The partnership seeks to build awareness among Kenyans about the plight of Maai Mahiu IDP’s who have been living in tattered tents for the last two years and who are in dire need of decent shelter.

As a sign of Rotaract commitment towards supporting the IDP’s of Maai Mahiu, the clubs lead by the president of Rotaract Nairobi Central Mr. Michael Waiyaki from Rotaract Nairobi Central, pledged to mobilize funds from their members and well wishers, while at the same time raise awareness about the housing project.

Rotaract has started a project called “buy a brick, build a house” to raise funds for the project. By end of October 2010, the Rotaract clubs of Kenya have raised Ksh. 50, 000 in 4 months. The Rotaract clubs are raising awareness on the campaign and hope to interest the club members to volunteer for this project. The Rotaract clubs are not just raising money. They have been going to Maai Mahiu to help build the fountains for the houses that they are sponsoring.

The Rotaract clubs have taken up this project because they are a service based organization that empowers the youth to build and serve communities. Rotaract Kenya believes that the youth should help rebuild the nation as the youth are the hope of the future and they need to help rebuild the nation. Also because the youth were used to cause chaos in the 2007 elections.

Rotaract is a service club, its business is mankind, and its product is service. Rotaractors provide community service to both local and international communities. This is perhaps the best reason for becoming a Rotaractor: the chance to do something for somebody else and to sense the self-fulfilment that comes in the process and return of that satisfaction to one’s own life. It is richly rewarding.

Rotaract is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, international volunteer service organization of students and young professionals. There are more than 7,000 Rotaract clubs worldwide with some 300,000 members.

Goals of rotaract

To develop professional and leadership skills.
To emphasize respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual.
To recognize the dignity and value of all useful occupations as opportunites to serve.
To recognize, practice and promote ethical standards as leadership qualities and vocational responsibilities.
To develop knowledge and understanding of the needs, problems and opportunities in the community and worldwide.
To develop opportunities for personal and group activities to serve the community and promote international understanding and goodwill towards all people.

Donations to the IDP “buy a brick, build a house” can be made to M-PESA Business No. 506600, ZAP Business No. 0731 107717 or Account No. 0736125919 Barclays Westland’s Branch. For more details on how you can help go to or call 0734669857.

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