Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rescue collaborative platform


By By Abigail Arunga @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Sallinder Nyawira, 28, is a single mother to a one year old boy and the key Accounts Manager for SAFISHA, a range of detergents and cleaning equipment.

She is also the marketer and founder of Rescuebnb, which is a collaborative organisation trying to connect those seeking hosts and rescue facing the unforeseen challenge of displacement and/or violence after the recently concluded elections.

Sallinder is passionate about helping others and making this country the kind of place she’d like to be proud to call home.

1. Tell us what RescueBnb is, and what made you want to start it.

I would not say start it – it came to be after I shared a Tweet on Saturday the 12th of August, offering to help those who had been affected by violence following the just concluded 2017 Elections. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from friends online about what was happening in their neighbourhoods.

Everyone who I thought could do something was silent. Some people reached out to me, as passionate about helping others as I was. 24 hours later, we had created what is now known as RescueBnB. We are a group of normal people with full time 8-5 jobs and families who believe in doing what we can.

It is a collaborative platform which connects those facing an unprecedented challenge in their lives, to those with the ability to offer assistance.

We do this primarily by providing a process for individuals and organisations to host (offer temporary shelter) and rescue (provide in-kind or monetary assistance or support).

Our interventions, such as the one we are currently on, last 45 days. We will therefore be continuing our host and rescue activities until the 30th of September, and ask all those with an ability to assist to go to our website or send an email. On this project, we are partnering with Sendy, Pawa245, Octopizzo Foundation, Nailab, Dandora Hip Hop City, Ghetto Foundation, Skyline Designs, and Blessed Minds. Our mission is to enable people all over the world to Connect, Share and Love!

2. What are some of the challenges you faced, having people in your house, people calling you all the time, running out of supplies etc.?

With regards to hosting, I haven’t faced any major challenges because of our support system. Our only other active host was a pastor and the lady has since left the home. We vet and verify everyone who needs temporary shelter – although I did not when I jumped into action that Saturday! We are offering the family in my house counselling, because I noticed the child in particular was very traumatized by what she had faced. We now have a team in place to deal with this process and limit the hosting period to a maximum of 21 days as we seek the next course of action.

We have a policy in place, which prepares potential volunteer hosts and those who require temporary shelter. We are pleasantly surprised by the care and love which Kenyans have for each other. While it was initially difficult to get bigger organisations to come on board, individuals, community based organisations and small scale businesses have been outstanding! One of our major challenges is transport for the volunteers, because we aspire to keep administration costs close low, to ensure maximum impact. We have however worked with Sendy and now Pawa254, to facilitate transfer of items shared.

3. What do you think is the long term solution for our constant political upheaval in Kenya?

That’s a tough one! However, from what we are experiencing – understanding that everyone is like you and deserves to be respected is important. There are people who live in this country who feel completely hopeless and in all honesty, are left out of what people like maybe you and me experience. Things like hope, togetherness, security.

We’ve decided to create a series of interventions which will connect people and offer people from different communities, social backgrounds and economic backgrounds, an opportunity to interact and grow.

4. What is the way forward now for some of these families who were in the line of violence after elections?

It’s a long-term engagement. We are meeting people who never received counselling after the election violence in 2007. After we finish with this 45-day emergency intervention on the 30th of September, we intend to continue with counselling activities and encourage conversations around life as it is

5. How do you think people who want to make a difference can, if they don’t have the same resources you do at your disposal, or if they want to help

Everyone the ability to do something, and RescueBnB is proof of this. Our core volunteers are running this process using their own finances, literally.

Our professional and general service volunteers use their own time and even transport to go to Kawangware 56, Dandora, Nyalenda, Manyatta, Mathare, Siaya and Kibra.

Ordinary Kenyans continue to send flour, toys, crayons, sugar or send in amounts to our M-Changa Account! Literally sharing what they can.