Can you imagine being a house father for 21 teenage boys, handling disciplinary issues for two local schools, managing RVCV’s Kids Living with Relatives program, and helping serve as a support system for all of the children at RVCV?
This is just a small part of an average day for Agael Lesikar, a social worker who has been part of the Rift Valley Children’s Village family for over ten years. TCF’s Sponsorship and Communications Coordinator, Ali Carey, sat down with Agael to find out how he does it.
Ali: Let’s start from the beginning. With so much on your plate, how do you begin your day?
Agael: Well, first I tackle one of my toughest jobs: waking up all the boys of Eagle’s Nest, where I am a house father. As you can imagine, waking up any teenage boy can be quite difficult, so getting all 21 of them out of bed and ready for school on time can be a real challenge!
Ali: As house father, how else do you support the boys living in Eagles Nest?
Agael: Many of the boys have just finished Form 4 and are figuring out what to do next. As much as possible, I help guide them in making these decisions. I work to find out their passions, where they excelled in school and help talk them through combining those to choose the best next step. For some, it will mean continuing their education at university. For others, it will be attending a vocational college where they can develop specific skills for their career pursuits. My hope is that I am able to help them take the next step confidently.
Ali: Besides your role as house father, in what other ways do you work with the children in our community?
Agael: I support teachers at both Gyetighi Primary and Oldeani Secondary School with students that are having disciplinary issues, and help them learn to communicate better. And I work with students one-on-one to see if there are any deeper issues at hand, and how we can address them. I also act as a point of contact between RVCV and our Kids Living with Relatives families. In addition to doing monthly home visits, I regularly communicate any concerns, medical issues, and schedule changes with the child’s relatives, so we can continue to work as a team to support the child.
Ali: If there was something you could tell our readers about the boys that live in your house, what would it be?
Agael: That they are good boys in the process of becoming great men. They have benefited so significantly from the programs and sponsors of RVCV. Whether it be their access to a good education or the resources and ability to apply to colleges and universities. It is not always easy to transition into adulthood in Tanzania, but the boys are doing their best. I am so appreciative that I get to help see them through this transition.
Ali: You have been working at RVCV for over 10 years. That’s a long time! What keeps you going?
Agael: I love the work that I do. Yes, it provides me with an income, but this job is also a part of me, and the kids here have become a part of my life. I couldn’t imagine working in a place where I didn’t see them every day. Not only do I need to connect with the kids to do my job, but it is something I enjoy doing. I love getting to know each individual child, their personalities, all of it.
Ali: To close, what do you find to be the most rewarding, and the most challenging parts of your job?
Agael: The most challenging part of my job is advising the Form 4 students about what they should or could be doing next. This is not an issue we have had to deal with before, but it is one that we will continue to experience as more of our kids grow older. It is a new challenge, but it is also a rewarding one. Being able to see and help these kids that I have known since they were very young take their first steps into adulthood is exciting and rewarding.