Mathari's Children Fund

To help impoverished children succeed in life. We enable children to access schools and we help them to stay there, by paying fees, teaching life skills, providing counseling when problems arise, providing medical help when needed and making sure every child has at least one square meal every day. We provide both formal education and technical training for children who would otherwise suffer hunger, disease and permanent poverty.
Dec 27, 2011

Holiday Message from Mathari

Dear friends,

As we break for the holidays we would like to send you our heartfelt thanks for your support this year.  

This year, thanks to you:

  • we celebrated the graduation of our first four college students – an amazing feat for kids from the slum.  All are now gainfully employed in sectors such as engineering, insurance and IT. 
  • 114 children were able to attend school and work hard for a better life.
  • the number of children we have helped over the past twelve years surpassed 400!

This is truly something for you to be proud of.   

Needless to say, we want to keep going and help more kids.  There are 114 kids with us right now, and more joining in January.  In past years I have offered to match your donations and this year is no exception - up to a total of $6,500 on my part, if you decide to give before December 31st.  And if you sign up for a recurring donation, I will match 12 months of that up front - that way we get more kids into school in January.

A new way to give...

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, please think of donating in honour of someone you care about.  They will receive a tribute card telling them about the donation that was made in their name.  To find out how, click here. 

And a new film about the project

We just finished a new (very short) film about the project.  Take a few minutes to check it out on YouTube

On behalf of the staff and children of the Mathari Children's Fund, we wish you all the best for the holidays and the New Year.

Best wishes,

Cathal

Links:

Nov 23, 2011

Update from Mathare

Dear friends,

 It’s November, and this being our last update this year - 2011 we cannot thank you enough for all your support that saw us pull through a difficult year due to the economic crises that the world went through. Below you will find some of the happenings of the past three months.  Please feel free to ask any questions. Asante Sana…(Thank you in Swahili)

 National Examinations

We are proud to let you all know that 24 students from our 114 children sat for their Kenya National Examinations – 8 in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and 16 for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. We await their results with great anticipation, and hope they will make us proud. 

 4 students – one male and three female - finished their college education.  One trained as a Primary Teacher and is currently employed in a private school; one trained in civil engineering and is now doing her  internship in an engineering firm; one trained in Information Technology, and is doing her internship in an American University based in Nairobi, and the last trained in Actuarial Science, and is doing her internship in an Insurance firm based in Nairobi.  We are delighted with their success – it is a real testament to their determination to make the most of the opportunity that we presented them with.

 Media Exposure Workshop

Globalgiving with Africa24Media (www.a24media.com), hosted a media exposure workshop in which they provided training on creating high quality video footage.  They also held a feedback session on the Globalgiving Storytelling project, where more than 25,000 stories have been collected  on community issues, needs, and initiatives. This is one area too where our children have participated and continue to do so.

We hope through this training to involve out children in covering their daily lives through still photos or small videos, which will help us convey to the outside world the issues and the great work that is being done here.  Thanks Globalgiving and A24 Media.

 Technical Advisor

We have been fortunate enough to get a “technical advisor” from Horizont 3000 (an Austrian Development Organization) who started her work with us on the 7th of November, 2011. She will be with us for 2 years and her task will include supporting the strategic planning process, improving our fund raising and PR strategy, strengthening the organizational capacities and helping us advocate for the needs of impoverished children. Karibu sana to our new member of staff.

Current Situation of the Centre

The fight to preserve our centre has not been easy.  You will recall that the National Youth Service, an arm of the Kenyan Government, has laid claim to a huge area of the slum in which many thousands of people live, and in which schools, clinics and our children centre stand.   We are fighting this claim in court, and the case has been set for 23rd January 2012.   We continue to pray and believe that we will win this case to enable us to continue with our mandate that you support. 

Inflation Rate

Costs are rising hugely in Kenya.  The inflation rate accelerated to 18.9 percent in October, driven by a weak currency, high global food prices and a major regional drought.  There are consequences to all this; the country's poor have been struggling to afford the most basic of essentials. In most slum areas families can no longer rely on regular meals and have reduced them to one a day. Most basic items have now become luxuries due to the rising cost of goods. Following the suppressed production of food three years in a row, there is a domestic undersupply, hence prices have escalated. This is not only in Kenya; reduced production is also in Uganda and Tanzania from where Kenya imports food. To take some examples, paraffin, a necessity for cooking and lighting among a large majority of Kenya's population, now retails at 105 Kenyan shillings a litre, up from 60 shillings in June. Maize meal, commonly known as Ugali, has become increasingly unaffordable to many. It is a staple food to over 80 percent of Kenyans. The price of a two-kilogramme bag of maize meal continues to rise - from 130 shillings in June to 136 shillings in July to 140 shillings in August. So when our parents/guardians wash clothes for people and earn 150 shillings by the evening (that is only when work is available) they use the wages to buy a quarter litre of paraffin for 50 shillings, cooking fat for 10 shillings, kale for 10 shillings and a kilogramme of maize flour for 50 shillings. Things are so bad that poor families now buy toothpaste by the drop!!!

It becomes clear how important our feeding program is to ensure that all the children within the program access a meal at least once in a day – something we have been doing since the project was established. This meal is received whether at school – where we pay for hot lunch – or ensuring that they receive a meal when schools close for holidays at the centre.

 Finally dear friends, Thank you for your continuous generous donations to the Mathare Children’s Fund Panairobi. Your commitment to helping our children in our community weather the crises in their lives is appreciated by those who help them and, most importantly, by those who benefit from our services – the children. Thanks to donors like you, M.C.F.P continues to provide education to the current 114 children to live, learn, and feel safe and secure in that they will access education.

Again, thank you for all you do for our organization. 

Aug 18, 2011

Update from Mathare

Drought and Food Situation in Kenya.

Kenya is experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent years, which has greatly undermined the food security situation in the country. Up to 3.5 million people are affected by the drought and their plight has been worsened by high food prices resulting from both local and global factors.   The number of severely malnourished children admitted to hospital has increased by 78 % this year compared to last year.   Our children are amongst the very poorest in Kenya.    During the August school holidays we will give blanket supplementary food assistance to all our children, and throughout the rest of the year we must ensure that all of our children receive at least one good meal a day.

Most schools have been forced to increase their school fees to reflect higher food and power costs.  Also most of the schools closed earlier for the holidays, due to power generation shortfalls.  Much of the power supply is hydroelectric, which of course is also affected by the drought.  Lack of adequate rainfall in the country has also led to the Kenya Power Company to announce that it will start the power rationing program from 6am-9pm, and this will affect the production and delivery of goods and services which could even led some companies to downsize their staff.   The move ultimately adds to the many miseries already distressing Kenyans like runaway prices of basic commodities; rising prices of fuel, high inflation, weakening shilling and harsh drought that is threatening the lives of more than 7 million people.

Current Situation of the Centre

We previously reported that a branch of the Kenyan Government, the NYS, is trying to take over a large area of the slum, including the site on which our street children centre is situated.  The fight to preserve our centre has not been easy, and it is not over yet, things seem to have slowed down and although the case was meant to have started in July 21st it was adjourned to enable the Nairobi City Council to file an affidavit in our favour. We continue to speak to many influential people, and we joined others in demonstrating against the proposed seizure.  We continue to live and work in suspense not knowing when and what might transpire especially since the said NYS is a government agency.   We continue to pray and believe that we will win this case to enable us to continue with our mandate that you support.

Death

It is with a big regret that we announce the death of a parent of one of our children in High school; the funeral will take place next week on 3rd July after the boy arrives from school, some 500km away from Nairobi.

Networking and Fundraising Locally

We have entered into a partnership with the Wilde Ganzen (Wilde Geese in English) Foundation of Netherlands for grant and technical support to implement the Action For Children (AFC) Programme, through KCDF (Kenya Community Development Foundation).  The main purpose of the AFC programme is to effectively target middle class members of the Kenyan public in investing in community projects that seek to improve the welfare and future opportunities for children, particularly those from vulnerable and disadvantaged families. By establishing organized mechanisms for these sectors of the community to give to children’s initiatives, MCFP will try and increase its own sustainability by raising funds locally to support its work.

Performance

The results from the various examinations that our children sat for are out and we have to say most did perform fairly well. One of the students got an A in his final secondary school examinations and as he awaits his entry to the University, he has been recalled by his previous high school to teach for one year. He will earn a salary during his time there which will help support him when he joins the university. A great performance it was for such recognition. We applaud him.

 

We invite you to join hands with us. Your support, gifts and encouragement give hope and life opportunities to over 100 vulnerable children.   We thank you for your support, and especially want to acknowledge those who have signed up to make recurring donations through Global Giving.  Recurring donations, no matter how small, help bring stability to the program and enable us to plan ahead to help more children, and we would like to ask all of our supporters to please consider such a form of gift for the future.

All the best,

Titus Mwangi
Team Leader

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