Turning a dream in to reality

Genevieve Radnan from Gennarosity Abroad addressed the March Plenum

I’m Genevieve Radnan, 23, born and raised in Sydney Australia. I graduated from the Emanuel School in 2009 and after completing the HSC I went to volunteer in Karunga, a small village 2.5 hours north west of Nairobi.

I began volunteering on a teaching and building program which introduced me to a small kindergarten made of cardboard and wood. As I have always had a passion for working with children, I couldn’t help but notice how the primary school on the same campus was being built with bricks but the Kindy was left untouched. When I first asked who owned it, I was told a local Church did. I didn’t want to interfere with any religious activities. However, after my first trip consisting of 6 weeks, I went back to Kenya for a further 6 months. As I am a curious person, I persisted with the Kindy and found out that it had been built 30 years ago and no one was responsible for it.

I asked the builders to please give me a quote as to how much it would cost which they replied $2,500. I sent an email back home in Australia asking for people to help donate money to build a new Kindy. Not only were we able to build a new one, we were able to build one 2.5 times larger than the original, attached a teachers office and water tank, provided new tables, desks and chairs, built in glass windows and most importantly a swing set for the children to play on.

Once accomplishing Karunga’s Emanuel Kindergarten in 2010 at the age of 19, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I want to help design project in developing countries to help provide better opportunities for their communities.

Throughout my time in Karunga in 2010, I met a young boy called Sammy who was malnourished compared to the other students who went to Karunga’s Primary School. Again, I’m a curious person and asked to meet his family. He is one of 8 children. His mother, Zipporah is illiterate and uneducated never attending school in her life. His father worked casually earning less than $1 if he worked and was an alcoholic who died in September 2011. Since meeting this family, I now sponsor them sending all the children old enough to go to school and provide them with food weekly.

Zipporah inspired me. I wanted to help not only her, but other women in similar circumstances. This is when I designed Grandma Jenny’s Training Centre. 40 women and girls above the age of 12 are selected annually and are taught the skills of sewing and tailoring along with English and Swahili, Kenya’s national languages, maths, financial literacy, business studies and health education.

Grandma Jenny’s Training Centre opened in 2013 and we have had 2 graduation days since. When visiting Kenya over the most recent December holidays, I was able to meet some of the 2013 graduates and visit the businesses they opened.

What was a dream back in 2010 has become a reality. I’ve been able to help some of the most vulnerable women in the community and empower them through education and skills to better their lives. I couldn’t have done this without the support of the Emanuel Community and especially the Emanuel School.