HELPING PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES LIVE BETTER LIVES
In 2007, I had an epiphany of some sort. I received an email from an unknown person, a lady from a sprawling poverty stricken area on the outskirts of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. She was a widow with three children doing hazardous jobs, including scavenging for junks amidst soggy garbage at junk yards, to make ends meet. The meagre money she makes was barely enough to buy some food, not to talk of paying school fees for her children. She had to withdraw them from school. I was so touched by her story and decided to act. Ordinarily, I will press the delete button, treating such emails as trash, in a world of unceasing internet fraud and dishonesty.
However, there was something about this mail that struck me; something inside of me yelled: ‘Dollin, this is a genuine cry for help!’ So I hearkened to this inner voice. I made contacts with a friend in Kenya, who did some investigations to confirm the genuineness of her story; and helped to deliver a small amount of money, meant for the payment of her children’s school fees, to her.
But what happened next struck me as uniquely insightful and it birthed Caprecon’s founding philosophy; which is: Driving Initiatives that inspire Hope and Dignity. She did not pay the fees. She started a mobile hairdressing business, something she had always wanted to do; and within a short period raised enough money for her children’s fees and uniforms, and to put food on the table. It then occurred to me that helping people to help themselves was my calling.
Providentially, some good people helped me to activate this call and the journey began. We started helping a number of people informally to set up small scale businesses to generate income; especially in places with debilitating unemployment and poverty. Some acquired second hand sewing machines to mend torn clothes or make dresses and charge small fees. Others took up beauty courses to become hairdressers and barbers, or ran food and craft stalls in the local market. You would be amazed at how small efforts transform lives.
Following on from there, I visited Nigeria in 2010, after many years of being away, and I experienced the harrowing effects extreme poverty and violent conflicts can have on people; especially young people. Finding solutions to these seemingly intractable problems and minimising their effects led to the registration of Caprecon as a charitable organisation in October, 2010.
Caprecon is an acronym for Cameron for Peace and Reconciliation, in memory of my child, Cameron, who chose not come into this unpleasant
world in 2000.
Since then, we have achieved so much, and brought smiles to many faces. We have been involved in a number projects, including some in the literary field. I have lost count. I did not do this alone, and so I pay tribute to everyone who has, in one way or another, touched us with their kindness. Without you, there will be no Caprecon.
Dollin Holt, founder /director, Caprecon Development Foundation