Seth Mwangi, born in Nairobi in 1981. Manager of all interventions that deal with Education & Skills, Food & Nutrition and Economic Empowerment.   

What Seth finds the most difficult, is to see a social worker cry because there is not enough
money to help a child. “That hurts. You can’t spend more than you raise. But what you can
do, is rise above. Try your hardest to get money from somewhere. Negotiate with the
government, mobilizing your family or friends: try everything you can. And yet, I always
think I should do even more.”

Seth is a family man, and considers it important that his sons grow up to be responsible
men. In a warm and loving family where the parents and children have a close connection:
where they learn from their father how a real father behaves. “I have never known my
father. He left when I was 3 years old. My mom gave all three of us a good life, we even had
meat to eat once a month. She was struggling to pay rent, food and bills but she usually
managed. What was extremely important: the power of the community we lived in. Some
sort of village of rental homes. People there helped each other.”

Grandfather pitches in, so Seth can go to school. “I actually wanted to become a doctor, or a
lawyer. Preferably a lawyer. Then you can really help people, by righteously enforcing the
law. But I don’t think it’s in the cards for me anymore. It will remain a dream.”
After school, Seth starts volunteering with children with HIV. “I felt like I needed to give back
to the community, because they had helped us so much. That one time my mother couldn’t
make ends meet. She had to ask for help and received. That really touched me.”
At YMCA in Thika he works with students: “I have learned so much, such a wide range of
experiences! It worked like a charm, the applications kept piling up. We founded hostels,
safe havens for youth. But usually we did not get paid, and eventually you have to earn
some money to make a living.”

Street children
His new job in 2011: working with street children, at Action for Children in Conflict. “Those
are the most vulnerable. Unique in their own way, with their own rules, their own world. So
inspiring!” His eyes still light up when he thinks of all the memories of this time. “I am still
helping these children, in my free time. Whenever I am in Thika, I regularly run into a child
who recognizes me. Sometimes it worked to get these children back on track in a very strict
program, somewhere deep in the woods. Back to school, or to work. Some children got a
bursary from a bank, and could go to university, or start a shop. About 70% of the children
we assisted, made it out of the streets. Unfortunately, the organization was unstable.”

Since 2016, he devotes his experience, strength and commitment to Macheo. Even now that he
is a manager, he is still in the field often, to know the situation behind the requests for help.

The big steps that Macheo is making in terms of fundraising make him enthusiastic.
“Through the app that we developed, we can exactly see what happens to the money that
comes in.” But it remains a challenge to serve all the children who need help with the
limited budget. “Where can you most effectively spend the money that you have? That is
the question we ask ourselves. But what if we have another request for help? Or if there is a
shortage somewhere?”

Seth explains how he handles this: “I involve my friends and family in what I do. I tell them
how amazing the work is that Macheo does, how proud I am, and that I wish I could do
more. I ask my friends to spread the word about Macheo’s work to as many people as
possible, and how important that is. Who knows what it may lead to, who wants to come
work here or donate their money!”

A video featuring Seth can be found here.

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