What you need to know:
- Marek Krakus runs Furaha centre in Meru County.
- Zbigniew reached out to Marek with the idea of raising funds through cycling.
- Ambassador Jacek Bazański flagged them off at his residence in Muthaiga, Nairobi.
Zbigniew Ciszek, a Polish cyclist and philanthropist, was scrolling his Facebook page one day when he came across a fundraising campaign video by his fellow countryman Marek Krakus. The latter runs Furaha Centre in Meru County.
Touched by the appeal for funds to run the centre, which caters for the needs of children with cerebral palsy, down syndrome and autism, Zbigniew reached out to Marek with the idea of raising funds through cycling.
“We started raising money at home in Poland, and since I have been a cyclist for a long time, I mobilised eight other cyclists. We rode for 350 kilometres and raised USD 2000. We were encouraged by the progress, and so when the borders opened, we decided to come to ride in Kenya to raise more money to build the borehole and tanks that the centre needs,” says Zbigniew through a translator.
We take care of the children during the day when their parents are at work.
Asked why he helps, Zbigniew had this to say:
"I can't solve every problem in the world but if I can do something to put a smile on a child's face, then I will gladly do it."
On February 15, Zbigniew and his two friends Bogusława Skupin and Andrzej Strządała embarked on a four-day ride from Nairobi to Furaha Centre in Meru, making stop-overs in Sagana, Kiganjo and Nanyuki. The money raised will be used to put up water tanks.
Ambassador Jacek Bazański flagged them off at his residence in Muthaiga, Nairobi.
Furaha Centre was started in 2016 in Meru by the Polish national, Marek Krakus. The centre offers daily physiotherapy, special education opportunities and psychotherapy to 300 children. They have a therapeutic room, occupational therapy section, counselling and psychotherapy rooms, school classes and dining hall. The children come from Meru and Isiolo Counties. The fundraising ride aims to raise money for the expansion of Furaha Centre, which is currently established on rented premises.
“Children born with these conditions face stigma, especially in the villages, as they look different. Hence, they are often hidden and are not taken to school because most of the families are poor and cannot afford the therapy the children need”” says Marek.
“I should mention that this is not a children’s home. We take care of the children during the day when their parents are at work, giving the whole family a possibility to work together and develop stronger bonds during the evening therapy,” he adds.
Different types of therapy
In future, he is planning on expanding the daycare facility to have different types of therapy to help the children.
“We want to include hippotherapy, which uses horse riding as a treatment in improving coordination, balance and strength. We will also include hydrotherapy and pet therapy”” he said, adding that they will also build a resort and spa where the parents and children can attend a two-week rehabilitation trip.
“We want it to be a place of happiness, where the parents can relax and even enjoy the Samburu National Park. Besides, we want the children to be able to play and even shout as much as they want without anyone telling them to keep quiet,” he concludes.