We've been delighted to hear that the funds we've donated from the sale of wall pieces have been used to purchase land for a new school in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Some months ago Slum Dwellers International (SDI) introduced me to Joseph Muendo. As a member of the Kenyan Federation of the Urban Poor * Joseph had, for many years, couriered large amounts of money across the slum for community initiatives and never lost a shilling. He was a very trusted member of the community
In 2009 he rented the small shack shown above and started an informal school in which 7 students were taught. Over the years pupil numbers have grown and Joseph's wife and one other teacher now voluntarily teach 60 children of different ages.
Children find themselves on the streets and out of education due to a variety of factors. Education must be paid for in Kenya, so poor families from the informal settlements can often not find school fees, uniforms are also required by these private schools to add an additional cost. Family disputes can lead to single parent families which cause problems of prostitution, HIV/AIDS and child neglect which all contribute to school drop outs.
Joseph offers free schooling to those who cannot afford it, whilst those who are slightly better off (due to the reputation of the school there is an increasing number of children from wealthier families attending) pay a little towards the running costs.
The school also enables single mothers to seek opportunities to get back in the workforce during the day knowing their child is safe.
Following local surveys and interviews the University of Tokyo kindly stepped in and offered to design and help construct a new school with improved facilities if the current management could find funds to purchase the land.
The new school will include facilities for a daycare centre and classrooms for teaching pupils up to educational standard 8 (currently teaching is standards 1 to 6)
Joseph is now in the process of officially registering the 'informal school'. We hope construction will start in August.
* The federations are groups made up of community members who live in the informal settlements/slums. By being part of a group they can work together to instigate initiatives that improve their situation. This could take the form of local saving schemes which can provide loans for healthcare, business start up/improvement, education etc; community mapping/ census reporting which can be used in discussion with local government to improve services; community projects eg building a community toilet block, and many other activities