Youth in the informal settlements we serve are highly marginalized - under-served or overlooked by the national and local governments. We work with these youth and at-risk families to provide social and economic development opportunities so they may gain agency over their lives.
SYSC offers a range of program and services, including job skills training, HIV/AIDS education and care, health promotion, food security, family counselling, youth and women's self-help groups, Scouts, sports and environmental stewardship. We run a youth drop-in centre to help keep kids off the street and give them a safe place to gather and play. Members of the community regularly use the centre as a place to meet.
The informal communities that we serve began to grow in the 1960s after landless people displaced by the Mau Mau freedom war settled in Nyeri county.
In 1994, a resident and grandmother, Anna Nyokabi Karanja - commonly known as Mama Mugo - became concerned about the extreme poverty facing Nyeri's growing number of homeless children and youth. She opened the doors of her home, turning two rooms into a drop-in shelter and starting a feeding program. She was supported by food and clothing donations from local community churches.
As demand for services from Mama Mugo's drop-in centre grew, friends here and abroad pitched in their support and the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre was born in 2000.
Although SYSC is now a registered charity, it remains a community-focused, grassroots organization. We are motivated every day by Anna's generosity and desire to help children and youth set their lives on a better path.
Take a tour of our community
Informal School Instructor
Sarah Van Exan
Our team also includes numerous volunteers, who are essential to all that we do here.
SYSC is primarily funded by individual donors who give generously to support our work.
We'd also like to acknowledge the support of The Project Solution, which previously funded the rebuilding of our community centre and is now sponsoring the installation of a large water tank so that residents have access to clean water. In a community that lacks access to running water, this is critical to slowing the spread of coronavirus.