Caravan for change

What do you do when youth don’t get involved in social issues? Rachel Wambui Kung’u has the answer: hit the road on a camel.

Marco Visscher | November 2004 issue

Rachel Wambui Kung’u lives half the year in London and the other half in one of the vast slums of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Not because she can’t afford better than the slums, but because she wants to live among the people whose lives she wants to help change. She is particularly concerned with the problems of young people—the group most affected by unemployment, crime, AIDS, and Muslim-Christian friction. Seventy-five percent of Kenya’s population is under age 30—and so is Wambui.

Yet young people in Kenya are generally apathetic about politics. They feel their opinions don’t count, which is what Wambui wants to change. Since late September she has been travelling through the country with colleagues from the Voluntary Youth Philanthropists organizations, inviting kids to join them along the way. She challenges young people to think to think about social issues and develop their talents and leadership abilities. This in itself is not so unusual, but the way in which she does it certainly is: Wambui and friends travel by camel.

Why camels? Wambui: “Camels are really cool and they move slowly. That symbolises the actual process of change, which is never quick.”

Wambui talks with the kids about how they can influence politics or their own situation at home. “We want to help the young people discover that they truly do have potential and we want to stimulate them to take advantage of that..”

Hundreds of young Kenyans have signed up for the trip. “There are a lot of people who want to go along on the adventure,” Wambui says, “but I’m looking for people who are engaged and who are willing and able to share their vision of an integrated society with others.”

For more information: Rachel Wambui Kung’u, P.O. Box 19705-0202 Nairobi, Kenya, telephone +254 2063 0257, e-mail:

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