This year HOPE worldwide Kenya had the pleasure and honor to give their second Hero of HOPE award to one of our most dedicated volunteers, Camille Etienne.
Camille, from Toronto, went to Kenya with a focused and determined heart to serve. After working for 8 years in the banking sector in the USA and Canada, she wanted to share her skills and expertise with the poor.
She arrived in Kenya in August 2013 to start her 1 Year internship of service to the poor with HOPE worldwide Kenya as a self-supporting volunteer.
After a brief orientation to all the programs, she moved to her work station, Mukuru Center of HOPE, in the heart of the village of Mukuru-kwa-Ruben Slum. She was quick to learn her surroundings and within a short time was hopping onto Matatus (public transport) and boda bodas (motor bikes) to her destination. On one occasion during a heavy morning down pour on the way to work she fell off a boda boda on the muddy paths to Mukuru. Muddy and wet, she continued on to the site! Camille was focused, determined, and steadfast in her faith and work. Even the political insecurity in the country was not enough to stop her from pursuing her dream to change lives and make a difference.
Her keen interest in languages worked to her advantage, as she quickly mastered Kiswahili. She also did not have any trouble adapting to the African cuisine.
Camille has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Windsor in Canada, and a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Along with a extensive experience in the banking industry, she was well equipped to assist the caregivers and community groups with business skills, including pricing, competitive analysis and supply management, financial management, personal budgeting and business plans. She went further to assist in proposal writing and raised KES 200,000 (USD 2,300) towards pharmaceutical supplies to support the community clinic in Mukuru kwa-Ruben.
Camille was a foreigner, yet interacted easily with the local community who grew fond of her and gave her local names; Adhis, Mwende, Nekesa, and Wanjiku, among others.
Before her 1 year volunteer stint in Mukuru, Camille spent two weeks serving at Huruma Children’s Home in 2011 and also served with the HOPE Singles Corps in Haiti for one week in 2012.
In recognition of her service to the poor and to HOPE worldwide Kenya, Camille was given the 2nd Hero of HOPE award to honor her selfless giving. This award was presented to her on the 14th of July in appreciation of her one year of volunteer service and her exceptional devotion to the under served and poor communities of Mukuru-kwa-Ruben in 2013/14.
The award is a statue of a Maasai warrior. To be a Maasai warrior means your life belongs to society. You are always ready to put your life on the line to defend any community you find yourself in. Your home is the earth; your people are those around you. You are always looking for an opportunity to share. A warrior is a minimalist with few possessions but is always willing to share what s/he has.
Over the past three years, four members of the Toronto Chapter of HOPE worldwide of Canada have now volunteered with HOPE worldwide Kenya for periods between two weeks to one year. Their valuable service and expertise is well appreciated.
If you wish to explore volunteer opportunities with HOPE worldwide Kenya please contact them here