There are a few organizations whose roots are deeply tied to the origin of our country Kenya. St John Kenya is one such organization. Proximately three years after the Inland Kenya became a British Crown Colony in 1920, St John was introduced in Kenya.
With increased conflict and war defining the colonial experience between the white settlers and native Kenyans, the charity role of St John in helping the wounded was clearly cut out as war became eminent. St John then introduced the first ambulance in 1939 and the first Council of the Order of St John was established on the 10th of June 1953.
Years preceding 1963, was one of the organization’s busiest period, with several people sustaining injuries from insurgence against British colonial presence in Kenya. On 12th of December 1964, during the country’s independence celebrations, St John first-aid posts treated more than 1,000 casualties who fell ill out of excitement.
On the 22nd of March 1972, the date was ripe for investiture of the President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, as a Knight of Grace for his admirable contribution to the charity activities of St John. However the celebration did not last long as the first bomb went off in the independent Kenya 1975 inside the Starlight nightclub and in a travel bureau near the Hilton hotel.
These were followed by a series of other attacks, including US embassy bombing on 7th August 1998, in which a record 212 people were killed and thousands wounded; and St John Kenya and Israeli rescuers led a seamless rescue operation, in which they pulled well over 4,000 people from the ill-fated building.
21st September 2013, still remains a dark day in the minds of Kenyans, as the day when terrorists attacked the Westgate Mall, in which more than 60 people were killed and hundreds wounded. And during this time, St John Kenya together with other emergency organizations mounted a seamless rescue operation, in which they helped well over 1,000 hostages escape from the mall, and rushed those who were wounded to hospital.
The worldwide St. John Badgers movement for school-age children between 6-12 years was founded in 1987. These children are engaged in activities that instill a sense of responsibility in them at an early age. They are also equipped with first aid skills to save not only their own lives, but also those of their fellow pupils, siblings and parents.
Today, St John Ambulance continue to expand its emergency services each day to keep up with the demand. And to recognize its historic role in improving the lives of people in Kenya, St John Kenya was elevated from an “Association” to a “Priory” status.