Two of the adult students in SOM class are Geoffrey and his wife Wilkister run a primary school in the Mukuru Kwa njega Slum in an industrial area off of Mombasa Road. Geoffrey had been in contact with Global Services and was one of the first people that I met when I first came to Nairobi in 2010 when they invited me to the school to teach SOM to the students from grades 5-8.
When Geoffrey and Wilkister first came to Nairobi from their remote village near Kisii, about 400km away, they stayed with an uncle that lived in the slum. They are both teachers and were so moved by the plight of the children in the slum that they decided to start a school there. One of their objectives is to provide either free or low cost schooling for ages baby to grade 8; many of the students are either orphans or only have one parent. The school fees they charge work out to about $20/year and if there is more than 1 child in the family they only pay for one and the rest attend free. They offer baby classes as otherwise the older children would have to stay home to look after the younger ones so the parent/guardian can go out to work.
Before I left in 2011 I had taught them Karen Drucker’s song “I Am the Face of God” so when I went to visit them in November I asked if any of them remembered it and a young man, Duncan now 9 yrs old, jumped up and sang the song complete with hand movements!
The school is located at the edge of the slum, consists of 3 buildings with 2 classrooms in each one. They are built on dirt floors with corrugated tin walls and roof and cardboard to separate the classrooms.
The desks are built from rough planks with about 4 children per desk. They have about 200 students from 2 -13 years of age. They have very few text books or supplies so much of the teaching is done orally. Many of the children come to school in rags and hungry.
In 2012 Geoffrey and Wilkister had a baby girl and I am so honored that they named her after me.
There are many more students that would like to come to the school, and many different reasons why they don’t:
Ignorance of the parents not understanding the value of education
Extreme poverty – many children have single jobless parents. Many orphans are being raised by guardians also in the slum. Geoffrey and Wilkister are raising an orphan as well as their own 2 children.
Child labour – 26% of Kenyan children are employed in child labour - many of the older children have to stay home to look after younger siblings (hence why they have classes from baby on). Or the older children have to go and find a way to make money, ie selling peanuts, fruit etc. on the streets. Many of the older children go out to work as house boys/girls.
Many of the teens are involved in prostitution and drugs due to lack of hope in their life. Teen suicide is very high in the slums.
Girls that have their periods often can’t afford pads so don’t come to school. (One of their goals is to have a supply of pads for the girls at the school, which is now being subsidized by a congregant at the Las Vegas CSL)
Since the slum is in an industrial area many of the kids are enticed/encouraged to go to work instead of finishing school.
Food is a major reason why they don’t attend. Many just stay at home because there is no food and they don’t have the energy. In 2011 we were recipients of food from Outreach Africa which went in part to the school.
Gender imbalance – girls are not considered valuable so if there is any education it is often only for the boys.
Centre for Spiritual Living Greater Las Vegas has become so enthusiastic and have now adopted this school as one of their projects. They hold several luncheons every year and have been brainstorming ways to support these children.... one of the ways is for congregants to 'adopt' a student to pay for a uniform, school supplies & fees and a lunch program.
The Edmonton Metro Centre for Spiritual Living's quilting group made dresses,and shorts and the Edmonton Teen's painted T-shirts that we distributed to each of the students.
They look so cute in their new clothes. Many of them had never had anything new before.
If you would like to donate to the Briton School project please mark your donation "School" and your donation will go directly to support them.
High School Project
Martin is an exceptional student!. He was one of the 45 students that I went into the slum to teach at Geoffrey's school in 2011. He captured my heart and my attention; he invariably vibrated out of his seat in his enthusiasm, his hand was always the first to shoot up when a question was asked.
Then in 2012 I was invited to speak at the Las Vegas Centre for Spiritual Living's Global Outreach luncheon; when talking about the work in Kenya I found myself sharing the story of Martin... One day in class we had been talking about what they dreamed of becoming and his dream is to be a doctor.
His passion was absolutely compelling. That group 'adopted' Kenya as their next outreach project and a couple of months later I was advised that someone had come forward asking that when I returned here if I could find Martin. He had just finished writing his grade 8 national examination and waiting to see what his score was in order to determine what secondary school he could be admitted to.
Patrick & I went shopping to purchase his trunk, pail and other items for necessary boarding school. The other students were so enthused about his being able to continue his schooling.
If you would like to contribute to this project please indicate "High School" on your donation and it will go directly to supporting the schooling of these students.
It is so rewarding to be able to play a part in transforming a dream into reality. Martin scored very high in the national exam, especially considering where he came from. His mother is a single parent and he has an older sister that also finished high school and now is back living in the slum trying to figure out a way to go to college to study business. His mom, Josephine, moved to the slum several years ago because she couldn't support her children in the village they came from; she in unemployed and goes out to clean houses and do laundry; when she can find that work she makes the equivalent of about $5/day - which she says is still better than in the village. It is a testament to her ingenuity and commitment to education that she was able to find the funds so that her daughter could finish secondary school.
There are now six people supporting Martin's vision. It will cost approximately $1,000/year, for four years, for him to attend the boarding school.
We are now planning on expanding this program and have people interested in supporting 2 more students from the slum school to attend high school... 1 girl and 1 boy.
We drove Martin and his mom to the school in Machakos on his first day. What an incredible experience! And what a beautiful school he was absolutely overwhelmed that he would be living there for the next four years.
For only $25, you may sponsor a student to pay for their school uniform or school supplies.
For only $50, both the uniform & supplies are covered. For many of the students their uniform becomes one of their most cherished possessions.
For only $25/month, you may choose to support a child in the lunch program & you will feed 1 child a balanced meal daily for an entire month! For many of these children this is the only meal they eat each day.
For $100/year, you may sponsor a child’s school registration fees.
Please choose as many of these beautiful little children to support as you like!
Thank you for having a prosperity consciousness as well as for your loving support to these beautiful children.