Click the picture to see Lewis’ story.

The 30-minute-long documentary displays touching stories about the lives of former Kibera street boys constructed from the boys own stories, photographs and video material. Here Lewis 10 years old tells about his life in the street.

The videos were created during two weeks of digital storytelling workshops for former street boys in November 2011 known as DigiTales Workshops. Sixteen former street boys aged 10-16 from Ndugu Mdogo Rescue Center, a street children rehabilitation center at the heart of Kibera took part in the initiative. The boys were trained to handle video and still cameras as well as written and oral storytelling.

The purpose of the project was to give a voice to children in the community and Kenyan society as a whole and thus promote children’s rights in Africa and to develop the former street children’s self-esteem and understanding of the world in a creative way.

Length: 30 minutes     Language: English     Production: Icebreaker Productions & Koinonia Community     Producer: Marita Rainbird

For the video and DVDs kindly contact

Koinonia Community: Eric Sande, e-mail: communications@koinoniakenya.org

Icebreaker Productions: Marita Rainbird, e-mail: maritarainbird@hotmail.com

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Reflections

Posted: December 21, 2011 in DigiTales

Story by Eric Sande

Photos by Marita Rainbird, Roger Miller and Aija Salovaara

When Padre Kizito called me to his office mid this year for a brief of the coming DigiTales video training workshop and asked for suggestion of whom to invite for the training in November, it quickly occurred to me that it was an excellent idea that will immediately ignite simmer breadbasket to the trainees who will receive the news with great anxiety.

The day came calling and on October 15  Marita Rainbird landed in Nairobi. It was her first visit in Kenya. I believe she has a lot to say about the country, more  so – the ‘haraka haraka ‘ Nairobi.  Marita being the DigiTales project head and workshop leader, she had already set her focus on bringing an early Christmas gift to the children of  Ndugu Mdogo – by giving them a voice.

She took a bit of time to rest at Shalom House before engaging full board on an orientation process. I vividly remember her first step was at Koinonia Media Centre (KMC).  Knowing each other with Marita was a great honor. My team consisting of Rodgermila and Rickon were more than ready to receive her in the office.

I remember setting up a desk and a computer at KMC that she would comfortably use during her stay and work in Kenya.

On the same day we had to have a planning meeting of how to realize the idea that Marita had come to share with our little brothers. All stakeholders including the trainees were invited to the board room to share ideas of how to conduct the whole two months program, including logistics and opportunities.


Two weeks later her friend and colleague Aija Salovaara arrived early morning before we immediately embarked on the mission to empower the children at Ndugu Mdogo.

Day one and the project dubbed “Story yangu ya kibera” started taking shape. Ndugu Mdogo boys, quite anxious to tell their stories through the lens and print sat ready to quench their thirst for knowledge. Marita and Aija carefully execute it by teaching children how to tell their stories through pictures and videos.


The two counterparts in the process of training realized the beauty of working with Ndugu Mdogo boys who had a talent in music. This reality drew their attention. With great philanthropy, then sponsored recording one of their songs that left them in awe:”Bolingo ya zambe” a Congolese gospel music. The boys did not disappoint as the final product on CD proved beyond no doubt that the little angels have a vocal might and are turning professionals.

In the course of their training with the children, and as their took the air in Kibera the two came to learn about Jack Matika The Ndugu Mdogo Project Manager who had just landed back home after  his tour in Italy.  Jack holds the honors of rescuing many young street boys from the perils of the streets. He serves as their mentor, peer educator and guardian.

It was interesting having him on board as we journeyed together through the training process. He gave us leads of how to handle the children doing the process of training. He was also instrumental during the Kibera tours.

I gave a hand to coordinate logistics and ensure the initiative runs as scheduled. I had another task to spearhead the public relations.

The workshops ended successfully and the material was ready for the post production.

In summary the entire production was wonderful. I recall the fact that I stepped on grounds that I have never been before inside Kibera slums during this workshop. Quite fascinating! It was a moment to understanding my own country and city in a penetrative way.

Came the Red Carpet Event on December 10, everything was set. Entertainers were ready to get on stage and the business of the day sailed smoothly. In keeping with the adage, there is no hurry in Africa, and Kenya for that matter, the little delays were overshadowed by the marvelous experiences our friends from Finland.


Story by Marita Rainbird

Photos by Aija Salovaara

On Friday 9 December we were busy preparing the Red Carpet Event. There were many things to be taken care of: PA system, projector, lights, photo exhibition, tent for 100 people, tables, chairs, red carpet, decoration, press releases, signs, stands, gift bags, cocktails, drinks, rehearsals, security, parking etc.

In between I was having a cup of tea in the sun in the field watching people rushing around the Nairobi “haraka haraka” style. I could hardly believe that my dream was coming true and everybody was working passionately for our common goal: visibility and rights of the former street children.

The documentary “Stori Yangy ya Kibera” made during the workshops, DVDs, photo exhibition, music sound track and children’s performances were ready to be shared with our guests from Kenya, Finland, the UK, Italy, Zambia, Congo, Sudan… I felt that we had mobilized the whole Nairobi for the Event preparations.

On Saturday morning  everybody was ready to receive the guests. The sun was shining from a cloudless sky and the air was full of excitement.

The master of ceremonies, George Ndikwe, gave last-minute instructions to the Ndugu Mdogo Choir.

The audience of 100 guests was seated in the hall and ready for the Show.

The programme started with a short presentation of a coming documentary film “Single Mothers” directed by Gianpaolo Rampini from Italy. It was followed by the performance of  Zambia Happy Face Team and the Catwalk of G2G. Ndugu Mdogo Boys singing “Like the Rain”.

“Stori Yangu ya Kibera ” (My Story from Kibera) documentary touched the hearts of the viewers.

Children’s interview after the documentary screening.

Time for speeches. Father Kizito was greeted with warm applause.

DC Dagoretti (District Commissioner), Mr Wamalwa, Trustee of Koinonia Community

and Former Ambassador, Mr Dennis Afande, Trustee of Koinonia Community addressed the audience with important message concerning street children and children’s rights in Kenya. Officer Commanding Station (OCS) Riruta, Mr David Waweru and Mr Boniface Okada from Koinonia Community also honoured the event with their presence.

Ambassador of  Finland, Mrs Sofie From-Emmesberger “was happy to see the guidelines of Finnish Foreign policy concerning children’s rights put into action in Nairobi and hoped that the project would get visibility outside Kenya”.

I also gave a small speech in (very) broken Swahili:

“Nawasalimu watoto na wenzangu, imekuwa ni siku njema kufanya kazi na nyinyi, nabado tutaendelea kufanya, na nitarudi Nairobi hivi karibuni. Mungu awabariki nyote.”

“ Dear children and colleagues, it has been a great pleasure working with you all. I sincerely hope to continue our co-operation and come back to Nairobi in the near future. May God bless you all.”

Ndugu Mdogo Choir: The Lord’s Prayer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkKKULzehE8

Everybody was standing up, holding hands and singing together. Some tears were shed in the dim light of the hall and I felt that we had succeeded in delivering our message.

Ready for Cocktail and snacks.

Ndugu Mdogo Boy’s Photo Exhibition inspired the guests to create their own stories of what they saw.

Kivuli team: drumming, African dancing and acrobats in the field.

On Sunday 11 December there was a news clip of our Event in KBC´s (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation) news at 1 pm and news flashes at 7 pm and 9 pm. The news flash was  re-run on Monday morning. A perfect ending to the DigiTales project and a great beginning to our new project in development.

But the best reward of all was the happy, smiling faces of our Red Carpet Stars: former street boys from Kibera!

Thank you little brothers!

Photo Exhibition

Posted: December 10, 2011 in DigiTales

The Red Carpet Event in Shalom House on 10 December 2011

Photo: David, 7

Photo: David, 7

Photo: Lewis, 10

Photo: Lewis, 10

Photo: Mohammed, 10

Photo: Mohammed, 10

Photo: Nicholas, 13

Photo: Nicholas, 13

Photo: Peter, 12

Peter: 12

Photo: Brian, 14

Photo: Brian, 14

Photo: Cyrus, 13

Photo: Cyrus, 13

Photo: Michael, 13

Photo: Michael, 13

Photo: Twaha, 12

Photo: Twaha, 12

Photo: Abdalla, 11

Photo: Abdalla, 11

Photo: Joseph, 14

Photo: Joseph, 14

Photo: Paul, 13

Photo: Paul, 13

Photo: Samuel, 12

Photo: Samuel, 12

Photo: Kevin, 12

Photo: Kevin, 12

Photo: Mothami, 12

Photo: Mothami, 12

Photo: Steven, 14

Photo: Steven, 14

Story by George Ndikwe

Music Programme For Street Children

I have a passion for music. But then a passion towards something is meaningless until it is put into proper use and seen and felt to have a positive impact somehow.

Over a period of time, stretching to several years in the past, I have yearned to realize the dream of passing on my simple knowledge in music  to willing learners.

I can now confidently state that it has finally borne fruit and come to be.
It’s now barely two months since I first met the kids at Ndugu Mdogo rescue centre and already we’ve managed to record two songs. It’s been quite an inspiration to witness the minute to minute musical skills  development of the kids through the training and rehearsal sessions.

Looking back six months ago, these kids knew no other life than what the  streets could offer. You can bet, musical skills were and are not in the list of priorities out there, but now that’s a reality in their lives. They can now offer to the world what they rightfully possess – their God given talents, and be appreciated by the society. This has gone further to build their individual and team esteem and instilled a sense of belonging.

But why music, one would ask! My straight answer is: music and in particular singing, compared to all other performing arts, entails the use of an individual’s inborn abilities without necessarily engaging any other external tools i.e. one’s voice is the only requirement. The human voice is the cheapest, most accessible and when put into its proper use, the sweetest musical instrument the world over.

No wonder music is universal, cutting across geographical, racial and even social borders.  All it takes is good training and commitment. The main objective of this programme is to build confidence and self-esteem to the kids and make them realize that they rightfully belong and that they need not search far to be heard and appreciated. They have always and will always possess what it takes to be of essence in the society.

Through music they can entertain, voice their concerns, educate and even inspire  the society. Eventually, opportunities will arise that will create platforms for the kids to showcase their  unique skills through live performances enabling them to achieve visibility and therefore open many other diverse windows of opportunities that would enable them view and contribute to their livelihoods in a positive way.

I look forward to that day that the world will be listening to a performance by kids still living in the streets – the forgotten ones amongst us in the society.  And that should be  very soon.

A boy´s dream

Posted: November 28, 2011 in DigiTales

By Aija Salovaara

My friend Nicholas, one of the Rescue Center boys, wants to be a journalist when he grows up. He told me that the very first minute I met him in the beginning of November. And when another friend of mine, the stunning news anchor of Kenyan Broadcasting Company, Caroline Kamau heard that, she invited him over to the tv studio for a visit, to see how her work is done. On Friday morning Nicholas, his teacher Jack and myself drove to the KBC studios to meet Caroline. We got to follow her closely, conducting the one o´clock news (such hectic work!) and then later she took us around the station and Nicholas got to follow a radio show as well. Nicholas is only 13 years old. He writes a lot. I´ve had the chance to hear two of his poems (one of them can be found on this blog, too). He is now working on a new poem which I hope he will read in our premiere party on the 10th of December.

Follow your dreams, Nicholas!

Music in the Air

Posted: November 27, 2011 in DigiTales

Story and photos by Marita Rainbird

Saturday morning and late as usual. The Nairobi traffic! The boys of Ndugu Mdogo more excited than ever. On the bus Kevin told us how he was travelling to Mombasa for eight hours under a bus when still in the street. “Bulldozer” was full of questions: why so much traffic this way and no traffic that way?, why the car didn’t have any number plates?, what are those big screens?…

For some of the boys it was the first time in downtown. Some boys recognized their former bases in the street and the place where they were picked up to go to Rescue Center.

Buying t-shirts, comparing prices, quality and colour. Hard work for anybody. Finally, red, green and yellow shirts were bought for the boys.

Had to push the bus to be able to continue to the music studio.

Look at us. New t-shirts on and ready for the studio. But as we were late the producer had gone and was stuck in the traffic.

“Hakuna Matata” (no problem) we can always hang around and eat lunch while waiting for the producer.

Finally there, recording a new song in a small studio. The producer was top professional but the studio was so hot. Finnish sauna is a cool place compared to the studio.

In spite of the heat the boys could concentrate 100 %.  After having found the right key the recording proceeded fluently.

Three hours recording done, a newly baked CD in hand and ready to go home.

Happy but exhausted. It is difficult to understand that earlier this year the boys were still living in the street – and now they are recording their own music tracks. Music is uniting people. What a powerful tool to help the children!