Watamu and the Jua | Kenya Foundation

“Bongiorno senora,” huh? I’m in Watamu, Kenya, right? Where is the cheerful Jambo? Appearances are deceiving. Because when you get to Watamu, you’ll hear a lot of Italian, but fortunately you’ll also hear plain Swahili.


The Italians are still plentiful. I agree with them, because it is a fine place for sun, pearly white beaches and snorkeling trips. But there is also much to do. For example, you can:

  • snorkeling
  • sunbathing on one of the beautiful white beaches
  • mida creek: explore the waters of Watamu in a canoe
  • Watamu Turtle watch: shelter of sea turtles
  • fine dining at one of the many restaurants
  • safaris to Tsavo national park

Due to the negative travel advisory to Kenya, few tourists are currently coming. Annoying for Kenyans, they often live on income. Fine for us, as the “Kalver Street of Watamu” is now delightfully quiet. There are tourists, but not many.

By the way, from Watamu, it is 20-30 minutes to Malindi where you fly within half an hour to the island archipelago of Lamu. Do you love yoga? Then you must go all the way to Lamu for the Lamu Yoga Festival.

Jua Foundation in Watamu

In Kenya, especially in rural areas, the position of women is not too good. Many women and girls are raped, threatened or abused. By their own fathers, brothers or other relatives. Dutch Nelleke took this suffering very much to heart. So much so, that in 2011 she decided to establish the Jua (sun in Swahili) Foundation. A crisis center specifically for girls and women in need. As it turned out, this was not yet there in Watamu. She works with Kenya’s Child Protection Agency. Which caused the authorities to recognize her crisis center and also forward girls and women. Even from other regions.

Source: website Jua Foundation

Just like at home: in the supermarket

We met Nelleke at the supermarket in Watamu. We got talking and the next day we were given a tour of the Jua Foundation. She introduced us to the girls currently there. In January, for example, a girl gave birth to a daughter. She had been raped by her father. The girl held her baby with such love that it was almost inconceivable that the baby was the result of such a bad act by her father. Nelleke provides the girls at the crisis center with (temporary) shelter, legal assistance and mental help. From her background as a social worker, she gets up at the crack of dawn every day to help her girls.

Volunteering at the Jua Foundation

Would you also like to do something for the girls in Watamu? Nelleke can use all the help she can get. Preference will be given to students doing something with social work and/or educational assistance. But is not necessary. A big heart and healthy dose of work ethic will do. Are you looking for an internship? Nelleke offers internships at the mbo and college level. Financial support is also important to the health of the Jua Foundation. Want to learn more about the amazing work of Nelleke and the Jua Foundation? Read more information on the Jua Foundation website.


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