Every day there are families in Kenya who don’t know if they’ll be able to send their kids to school. Krista Dillard and her family have been traveling to Kenya since she was 11 to help alleviate this crisis. With a foundation called Made in the Streets, founded by her grandparents 24 years ago, Dillard has been going on mission trips to help get kids off the street and eventually get them jobs.
“When I first went I didn’t grasp what I was seeing,” junior Krista Dillard said. “The second time I went I was able to grasp it, and seeing how they lived made me sad.”
Fifty-six percent of Kenyans live in slums. This means that many people live under the same roof and might not have access to clean water, improved sanitation, sufficient living area, and durability of housing.
“We actually visited one of the slums in Kenya. I saw a three-year-old walking around, living on the streets alone,” Dillard said, “That’s just life for them.”
Local kids are invited into Dillard’s grandparents’ learning center, where they receive food and education. Once they graduate from the learning center they pick a skill to study at the skills center. They then are helped to find jobs and are supported financially as they start out.
“It’s pretty amazing to see some of the people I met when I was 11 with jobs and lead good lives because of the program,” Dillard said.
Dillard’s family goes to Kenya every few years, and relationships have formed between her and some of the kids in the program because of return visits.
“Our family sponsors two girls who are in the program. Seeing them every time is really good. I’ve become closer with a lot of the girls there, and it’s cool to go back and renew the friendship,” Dillard said. “They’re incredible people, and they’re around our age. They’re just like us, just under different circumstances and really remarkable.”
There are 44 million people in Kenya, and more than 35 percent of them live below the poverty line. That’s almost 16 million people living on under $2 USD per day.
“You wouldn’t see the poverty there, here. It makes me so much more grateful for everything I have,” Dillard said. Looking at how they don’t have anything, it makes me want to do more for people who are less fortunate.”
Dillard’s visits to Kenya have impacted her plans for the future.
“I’ve thought about doing this for a career,” Dillard said. “I don’t know if I would or not, but I might want to be a trauma psychologist and maybe go overseas to help people who’ve gone through trauma,”