There is no doubt you are, in your own way, already doing a lot in helping develop our country as an individual, as a family, as a community, as a corporation, as a club, as a temple or a mosque or a church.Here at Asian Foundation we believe the time has come, indeed it has been overdue for some time, to co-ordinate these activities and have these recorded and have them given the recognition that they deserve as having been done by the community. Otherwise our community can continue to be at the risk or being misunderstood, maybe not by design but by ignorance of the colossal amount of sincere service, both material and personal by the Asian community and the huge impact of this. No one would, for a minute, discourage you from continuing with the activities you are already engaged in.Asian Foundation can only compliment this and assist you. Asian Foundation's role can help to ensure that all activities would be more organized, have less over lap and are documented. This allows activities to be focused in areas and also with projects that are actually required. That is one of the roles of the Asian Foundation. The recent assistance given by the community after the post election violence actually highlighted the lack of co-ordination and lack of organization. This is just an example. What we are talking about is the necessity of ensuring that there is an overall development strategy of the Asian community, both for the present and for the future. Let me tell you what the Asian Foundation has been doing all these years. You may have an opinion that it could have done more but we believe every new step we have* taken is a new step forward and we have now reached a stage when we are in a position to do what we say we can. We now have a proven record to shout about.
Did you know that the Asian Foundation has in the last few years taken over a few technical training workshops in various sites and has very pro-actively and very imaginatively carried out a total rehabilitation of old dilapidated machinery lying there and has been carrying on a comprehensive training programme at the sites to train young unemployed persons in the areas of motor mechanics, panel beating, repair and painting and also metal fabrication, manufacture of steel plates, jerry cans etc. and to some extent, tailoring, sewing machine operating, including by outreach programmes. This is being done in co-ordination with the Government of Kenya and the United Nations Development Programme. We have to date trained over 800 young men and women. This has generated an income of approximately K.Shs.2,500.000/= which has been ploughed back into the project. We have introduced many of them to the formal sector. Some of them have been taken on as employees. Others have started their own businesses as young entrepreneurs, thus making them self reliant, After all a large number of Asian entrepreneurs started small in the informal sector and are now mega manufacturers, businessmen etc. What a wonderful way to develop a nation. That all this has been possible by the faith and trust that UNDP has put into the Asian Foundation by substantially funding us, is by itself worthy of note. They have given us glorious tributes and have taken it upon themselves to highly recommend and introduce other aid agencies to us so as to encourage them to work with a development partner who has an excellent record of good governance, full accountability and unquestionable reliability. We have many other plans and ideas. We have already drawn and submitted plans that have been approved, for making, what you may recall as the first Asian Foundation project, i.e. the Hawker's Market along Limuru Road, into a modern, clean, hygienic, sheltered fruit and vegetable market, with clean floors, washing area, retail and wholesale sections, compost making areas, separate entry and exit, and with full customer parking facilities etc. and that we already have about K.Shs.20 million pledged to start the outer wall and provide for sanitation facilities immediately. All this has been possible because of the faith the City Council of Nairobi has in the Asian Foundation and the co¬operation they have given in approving the plans, in negotiating with the existing traders, in allowing their senior officers to actively participate in meetings with us. Such plans are also in the pipeline for similar projects in Kisumu and Mombasa. We have various other projects in the pipeline all on your behalf as a community - e.g. the rehabilitation, repair, re-furbishing and re-equipping of schools, hospitals and clinics which have been destroyed or damaged during the recent riots including some which had been assisted by us in the past. We recently arranged and coordinated two medical camps to assist the displaced people with medical needs and treated almost 2000 people. But we want to move into giving them permanent facilities, hence the need to rehabilitate and repair.