Brooke Abuya (MSW '15)
Passionate about the need of vulnerable families and children, Brooke currently works as a caseworker at the Church World Service, Africa (CWS Africa) conducting refugee prescreens throughout Sub-Saharan Africa for applicants who desire United States resettlement. Prior to his work in refugee resettlement, he was a Social Worker in the adoption department at the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.
His previous experience in child welfare and his current work in refugee resettlement has informed his perspective in how communities can better serve families and children. In his reflection of his work and dedication to the field thus far, he finds an opportunity and dream to bring together aspects of traditional Kenyan communal culture and modern technology.
In his work in child welfare, Brooke found that the natural connections and communal support of Kenyans is far stronger in providing for the needs of children, than going through more structured or formal avenues for crisis support and foster placement. In his own experience, he found that if a child were to be abandoned or recently orphaned, it was churches and neighbors who stepped in to provide for the child by collecting materials, providing housing, and for some, even informally adopting the child as one of their own. Brooke noted this as a great strength of African communities, one that should be modeled, but has big ideas as to increasing the organization and impact of these inherent community values.
In Swahili, Jijimoja translates to “one city,” an idea proposed by Brooke that would bring together communities across Kenya to support children in crisis through an app or online platform. He understands the local church serves as the pillar within a community when a child or family is in crisis. So, he dreams of an app that could allow churches, social workers, helping agencies, and willing volunteers to network and respond on behalf of a child in crisis.
Brooke, practitioner, and Jijimoja, app and idea, both serve as important inspiration for how local practitioners are able to identify opportunities to leverage the natural strengths of a community or culture and for how technology can be applied to mobilize around a single cause.