Ngong Hills Children's Kite Festival


“URAFIKI SORA” – Creating Friendship in the Sky

The participants flying their kites
The participants flying their kites
The Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC), Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with the Juhudi Children’s Club, a Kenyan NPO providing educational and cultural programs to children, facilitated the Children’s Kites Festival at the Ngong Hills on 16th June. The JICC sought to share with the Kenyan Children the art of making and flying kites – a component of Japanese culture and tradition. JICC and the Juhudi Children’s Club also aspired to create a platform through which students from different schools in and around Nairobi could mingle and form friendships as they fly their kites in the sky. In this regard, the theme for the Kites Festival was “URAFIKI SORA” – Creating Friendship in the Sky; Urafiki is the Kiswahili word for Friendship and sora the Japanese word for sky.
Students being instructed on how to make kites
Students displaying their completed kites
The Festival was preceded by a week long Kite Making Workshop that was held in various schools around Nairobi. The students and teachers were instructed on how to make Japanese kites using Japanese kite making materials. In addition to Japanese kites, the students and teachers were encouraged to make kites using locally available materials.
Mr. Mohammed
Mr. Kimani
Saturday, the 16th of June was a cold, misty morning on the Ngong Hills. This cold weather, however, did not dampen the spirits of the students who had been eagerly waiting all week to fly the kites they had made. To chase away the cold, the students and teachers did some warm up exercises after which the program began.

Mr. Mohammed, a KWS officer at the Ngong Hills officially welcomed the participating teams to the Ngong Hills. Mr. Kimani, of Juhudi Children’s club encouraged the students to mingle with each other. Ms. Ugajin of the JICC expressed her desire to maintain a relationship with the participating institutions even after the Kites Festival.
Ms. Ugajin
After the opening ceremony formalities, the students and teachers were free to fly their kites in the area allocated to them. Fortunately, by this time, the weather had cleared up to reveal the beautiful green landscape under the gray June sky. The students and teachers were very happy to see their kites fly. Earlier on, some had expressed their doubt in the ability of their kites to fly, but when they saw them rise in the sky, the joy and happiness could not be hidden from their faces.

At the end of the festival, the students were involved in an environmental cleanup session where they picked up the pieces of paper and string that had fallen off from some of their kites. When the students were asked about their experiences, they said that they had fun, that they enjoyed the experience which was not just exciting but also educative, that they hoped that everyone else enjoyed the experience and that they hoped that the festival would be held again the following year.