Aging is a privilege, but ageism is a notion that comes with discrimination, isolation and falls accusation. RIEKO envision a society in which aged persons are treated with dignity and respect and where ageism is a no go zone
In 2021 we started RIEKO in Kathing village- Kisumu – Kenya as a volunteering site for meeting the old, young, and children. Our mission was to promote intergenerational care and learning, through the provision of services and activities that leads to dignified aging. We wished to achieve this mission through the empowerment of local youth, and engagement of old people and children to enable them to tap into their skills and interest leading to sustainable livelihoods and peaceful coexistence.
In 2022, we registered ourselves as a Community-based Organization, called RIEKO. We have been able to reach 10 elderly persons of 70 years and above, and 40 children who are staying with their grandparents and are not able to go to school. And 6 young people of 16 years and above. We have established semi-permanent structures where our training and learning activities are taking place. The grandparents participate through aspects of storytelling secessions, singing, and dancing among others. Our aim is to create a site where self-learning takes place. The youths get skills in art and craft, electrical wiring, and even computer skills while the children and old people also learn new skills like the computer, new languages, and even community gardening. We are currently running a community garden that will enable at least 20 households to get access to regular fresh vegetables. We promote environmental sustainability through training and practicing organic farming.
Our long-term goal is to create an environment that promotes practical training and education in which people can stay and learn from one another irrespective of age. We will be putting up a cafeteria in which we will mainly focus on traditional meals with the old people passing the skills on cooking to the young people and mainly producing our own food for consumption and sale.
Apart from training young people in art and craft making and environmental care, RIEKO is also engaging in a range of activities towards implementing social projects such as menstrual hygiene management for school girls and support to green schools and Sexual gender-based violence cases in homes which is equally in line with our objectives of promoting good health and community wellbeing.
We have adopted two types of models. The village model and the self-learning model.
1. The village model
Rieko home is located in a village. Most aged persons in the village do not have any aged friendly site to meet. The old people will be allowed to access the center during the day. They are provided with various activities that keep them active. Children are allowed to come to the home after attending their regular schools to enjoy free time with the old people and the young people are also coming into the center in their own free time to have time with the aged beneficiaries.
2. Self Learning Model
The self-learning model adopts a system in which there is no teacher-student participation but rather a participant and participant interaction. The children, young people, and the aged all learn from each other.
Patience & compassion
We believe treating people with dignity is being in touch with most basic human need, and enabling our beneficiaries to have a sense of self-worth. Everyone in our world matters as importantly as anyone else, whatever their condition, age, ability or background. These equally applies to our staff members and donors. We thus allow free movement. Participation and expression among the people within and out of the organization.
We all come from different places and have different stories in life, we thus accept everybody for who they are even when we differ in opinion. Our beneficiaries suffer from problems like hearing loss and cognitive skills such as memory loss the elderly can often feel dismissed or belittled. Making a point of listening to them and asking questions rather than giving orders is our way of resonating with them. We acknowledge our staff as well and treat them with respect through ensuring their mental wellbeing is taken care of.
We are committed to honesty and integrity in achieving desired outcomes for those whom we serve. We ensure deliverables are given to the donors and all the team members get access to information needed.
We are committed to understanding the feelings, needs, and desires of those whom we serve and take action to enhance their quality of life with all patience that it takes. Working with the elderly requires high level of patience especially because older people can have a slower pace when they move, when they speak, and in some cases, a slower pace when processing things., an ability to work at a slower pace and repeat yourself without annoyance is a must.