Jitegemee

Jitegemee, Inc. exists to provide street children with access to formal and vocational education. We believe every child with the desire to learn and the will to succeed should be encouraged to do so. We are dedicated to removing the obstacles that prevent street children from attaining their educational or vocational goals-whether these obstacles are hunger, homelessness or lack of schooling.
Feb 10, 2014

A New School and a Funeral

Building Progress
Building Progress
Dear Jitegemee family,
 
I got into nonprofit work because I loved kids. Then, somehow, I found myself consumed with budgets and letters to donors. When you are doing this work at 5,000 feet, it’s easy to forget why we’re here.  
But today, I spoke for two hours by phone with Mike Kimeu, our program director, and without meaning to, he reminded me.
I asked him about how many kids we are going to sponsor in secondary school in 2014. He told me we will have 24, including five new kids who are joining Form One (9th grade). He went through one by one, by name and school, until he reached the last one – “the girl we retrieved from an early marriage.” She had been a child bride, and our staff intervened to free her from the situation and taken her back to primary school. She had done well on her Standard 8 (8th grade) exams, and gotten a calling letter to a high school near town. But Mike said no. He wants to find a school that’s far away from the town, “where she can concentrate on her studies.” 
What else is on Mike’s to-do list? To begin work on the roof of our main building, which we hope to complete this spring. Mike’s under pressure to get it done. The landlord of the old building we currently occupy wants us out as soon as possible, so he can tear it down and build something that will bring more rent. If all goes well, Mike says, “June should find us in our new place.”
But it’s not enough to build a new building. We also have to outfit it with programming that justifies this important investment. Mike, and Jitegemee’s board members are working to outfit our computer lab and begin a pilot class that we hope will teach web design and programming.  
I’ll be honest: Not all the news that Mike gave me was good. He gave word that one of Jitegemee’s students - a girl in Standard Six (6th grade) – had passed away. She learned that she was HIV positive last year, during our annual “health day.” Through our program, she was connected with services, such as antiretroviral drugs and counseling. Initially, her health improved. Then she got meningitis. She is, to my knowledge, the first child to die in our program. She’s an orphan, so it is Jitegemee staff and Jitegemee students who will give her a proper burial.
That story brings home the difficult work that Mike and his dedicated staff do every single day, to ensure that street and destitute children have advocates, access to education and dignity, in life and in death. 
Sometimes, there are heartbreaks. Other times, triumphs. Mike let me know that Peter Muasya, one of the brightest kids to pass through our program, is now in his third year at University of Nairobi, and has already passed three difficult exams on his way to becoming a fully-certified public accountant. 
 
It's easy to forget stories like these when you have budgets to pass and funds to account for. It is easy to get lost in the numbers - the "how many" - instead of the "who." But every once in awhile, we must take a step back just listen to these stories. It's these very special kids and these very special teachers that form the reason for why we do what we do.
Nov 11, 2013

New Education Center Construction Progress!

Building Construction 1
Building Construction 1

Friends,

We want to share with you some exciting updates from Machakos! Thanks to your help, construction on the new education center is well under way. Many of you gave to us three years ago when this project was nothing more than a dream. Because of you we are closer than ever to making it a reality. If you want to kick in a little bit more, it's not too late to do so. But really, we just wanted send you a note of thanks, and share the progress with you! Check out more photos on our Facebook page, and "like us" while you're there: bit.ly/1fulMTd

Thank You!

Building Construction 2
Building Construction 2
Building Construction 3
Building Construction 3
Building Construction 4
Building Construction 4

Links:

Sep 10, 2013

Jitegemee Student Stories: Rosalia

Friends, from time to time we will share with you the life stories of some of our students. We do this so that you can better understand the backgrounds of the students that your donations go to support. Rosalia's story will be the first in this series. For more updates about Jitgemee please follow us on Twitter, and 'like" us on Facebook.

Rosalia's Life Story

 My family started having problems when I was three years old. My father was sick and he couldn’t go to work so we had many needs. He passed away when I was in Grade 5. My mother used to work as a house help trying to get money so that we could have food, she managed to keep me in school until I completed primary school and did my final year exams.

When we got the results, I had done okay, but my mother did not have the money to send me to secondary school. I got angry when she said that, and I decided to run away from home. I decided to go to Machakos to see what people do there.

I met a group of girls who told me how they live on the street, we used to eat from the dustbins, from the waste food thrown out by people. I thought it was a good life. One day I came across a man and asked him to give me money to buy food. He told me I would have to sleep with him in exchange for the money. I agreed.  That is how I started buying drugs. I would buy Khat, marijuana, cigarettes, and others.

 One day while walking around the streets I came across some very smart looking girls. I asked them how come they were so smart.  They told me that they were in school, and asked me if I would like to return to school. I said I would love to return to school.  They said their school was called Jitegemee, and that it was a very nice school. They gave me the directions on how to get there.

I went to Jitegemee and found very welcoming teachers. I told them my problems. I was very happy when they allowed me to join Jitegemee. I don’t know where I would be if it was not for this school.

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