Every child should have a right to an education!
Who knows what kind of abilities these children poses, who knows what adults they could grow up to be and what they could achieve. The problem is, if you leave them uneducated, they cannot better themselves and will often fall to crime. What if, one of these kids has the potential to come up with a bit of technology that changes the course of humanity?
The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination results were released in March, 2014 and our 10 students did fairly well that we will be required to continue their support to colleges. For the two who did not get good grades, we are going through counseling processes to ensure that they do not stop dreaming on what they would want to achieve. We had 3 students who sat for the end of their primary education who later joined high schools later in February and are now settled. The 10 students who finished high school are currently undertaking basic computer skills that are being taught by a beneficiary of the sponsorship program who finished University after taking Physics and Mathematics as an undergraduate.
When Nasieku (Not her real name) started having her monthly periods, her world shattered. Her teacher had taught them about menstruation but she viewed it as punishment. Nasieku felt responsible; the young girl could not talk to her family about menstruation because of the culture of silence surrounding the issue. One day as she sat in class her classmate discovered her tearing pages out of her exercise books and sitting directly on it to absorb the blood. The teacher was no better than the students as she questioned why she was being an embarrassment to women like this. It is a taboo for a school girl to go on her periods, it means something is wrong with her or she has been naughty. Nasieku describes it an embarrassing, degrading, disillusioning and disempowering experience. “It’s the time I realized that womanhood is a BURDEN!” Nasieku says. Menstruation is a subject which has led many girls and women to be disempowered.
As MCFpanairobi we have taken it upon ourselves to see how best we can address this situation and from a donation of 5,000 Euros, we were able to buy re-usable sanitary towels. These re-usable sanitary towels last for a year and we have been able to distribute over 800 pieces around the country in the 70 schools that we work with. While distributing the sanitary towels, one thing was made clear; sanitary towels have to come with inner wears! Most girls especially in the North part of Kenya do not have inner wears which is key in the use of sanitary towels.
The idea behind the re-usable sanitary towels project is the establishment of a social enterprise for the production of re-usable sanitary towels run by single mothers in Mathare. This will be determined mostly by the feedback that we will get from the girls using them.
We currently have 26 teenage mothers after we got one year funding from an Austrian donor, DKA to run the project. 17 teen mothers are undertaking a course in hairdressing which we are in partnership with Mathare Youth Polytechnic while 7 are undertaking a course in tailoring. They are also offered life skills training in different areas of concern that they identify especially on nutrition, reproductive health and parenting. We also offer them a meal a day for both the mother and the child, counseling services and medical care. We continue to have some challenges but recently 2 teen mothers graduated from the hairdressing training and were immediately employed meaning they can now meet their needs and those of their children. The tailoring department also is able to generate some income for the project after we started making uniforms for different clients and schools nearby. These clients include some diplomatic core within Nairobi.
In partnership with WRAP (Women Rights Awareness Program) our teenage mothers are also benefiting from the food basket that they get once every month.
Our strategic plan for the next 3 years, 2014-2017 is now ready. It captures our vision, mission and objectives for the various programs that we are undertaking. We hope to attract funding soon to be able to implement the programs. (Please send an email if you would like to get the strategy)
Thank you for your continued support. It truly is changing the lives of children and young mothers!
The year 2013 is over and it was a good year for MCFpanairobi thanks to you.
We have uploaded a few photos that capture activities, feelings and moments of 2013 which were dear to us that we are happy to share with you.
Check out the 4 short videos we are sure you will enjoy…
MCFpanairobi hopes it has been a good journey for you too as we walked hand in hand in supporting the less fortunate in our midst and pray that you will be part of the journey in 2014.
Holiday season is a time of joyful celebration, yet also a time of reflection. As these days’ approaches, it’s time to reflect with gratitude on the blessings and bounty that you’ve received. While making your holiday plans and reflecting on all you have to be thankful for, it’s also a good time to think about those who are less fortunate, and consider whether you can be of assistance to those who are in need. At Mathare Children’s Fund panairobi, we know that education can make a difference to people living in extreme poverty. Since 14 years we are committed to provide assistance for trainings and school education to the once in need; former street children, teenage Mothers and the vulnerable community in the Mathare Slum. More children than ever before seeking assistance for sponsorship, medical care, one meal per day, textbooks among other services, but our resources are limited. We need support.
This year, thanks to you;
· 10 children have just graduated from high school and hopefully will join colleges next year
· 3 children graduated from primary school and next year will be joining high school
· 6 kids graduated from universities in different under graduate degrees including, Actuarial Science, Teaching, Mathematics and Physics, Software Engineering, Business Administration and Human Resource
· 4 students joined the university to undertake; Geo-mapping, Diplomacy and conflict resolution, Hotel management and Pharmacy
· 14 teen mothers with their under 5 year old babies are currently undertaking either a course in tailoring or hair dressing and receiving training on life skills every second week
· We are working on reusable sanitary towels for girls within the 70 schools we work with
· We started a clean-up campaign in Mathare slums every school holiday that has attracted the attention of the City Council who has come in to support
· We have livelihood projects Handbags and Nairobi Walking Tours that is bringing income for the single mother’s and students who finish high school respectively
We are truly proud and we hope you are too….
Needless to say, we want to keep going and help more kids. There are 106 kids with us right now, and more joining in January. We hope to raise more funds to continue with our work and there exists several options that we hope you can take part in;
· GlobalGiving is offering nine bonus awards (including a $3,000 and $2,000 prize!) to the projects that raise the most money from their supporters. The project must raise $3,000 from at least 30 donors in the month of December to become eligible for $10,000 in bonus awards! The campaign begins at 12:01 am EST on December 1st and lasts through 11:59 pm EST on December 31st.
· 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.
We just finished a new (short) film about the handbag project. Please take a few minutes to check it out on https://vimeo.com/79944107 and Diana’s poem, a beneficiary of the sponsorship program on http://vimeo.com/69675244
All funds received will go directly to support the sponsorship of 106 children in Mathare. What better way to celebrate this holiday season than to make a conscious decision to help your neighbors who are in need…
On behalf of the staff and children of the Mathari Children's Fund, we wish you all the best for the holidays.
This is a small note just to remind you of something new that GlobalGiving has introduced called Regional Bonus Day which is happening on the 9th of October, 2013.
On the 9th, Oct 2013, from 12:01 am EDT or 7am Kenyan time, Globalgiving is having a special Bonus Day. Not only are they matching donations, while funds last, but they are also offering two $1,000 bonus prizes. A project that raises the most funds on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving and that project that has the most unique donors on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving... So friends of MCFpananirobi, please if you could help us get this matching funds through your generous contributions, it would do a great deal in helping us meet school fees demands for more than 106 children next term from January which is current budgeted at $ 15,937. Please visit the GlobalGiving site since we can only receive this funds if you kindly donate via their website Thank you and we cross our fingers that we may be part of the winning team through your assistance.
PS; For those of you who made enquiries about our safety after the terrorist attack in our city, we are fine, none of our relatives or team was either hurt or killed. Thank you for putting us in your prayers.
From a cold Mathare, please find below what has been going on the last 3 months within our project, Mathare and Kenya in general.
Children closed schools for their August holidays although they open soon after they endured another paralyzing national wide strike in public schools from mid-June to the 3rd week of July, 2013.
On the education front, our kids continue to do fairly well in their class work and most recently our computer lab opened. MCFp has employed a former beneficiary as a trainer who has a mandate to look for other clients outside the beneficiaries’ scope to sustain the lab. 8 students who sat for their high school final exams are currently undertaking their basic computer studies at the computer lab. The computer lab is also offering services like printing, photocopy; CD writing and writing of reports both soft and hard copies. These services are available to the community members at a subsidized rate.
At the university front, we await graduation ceremonies for Robert who did a Bachelors of Science in Physics and Mathematics, Egerton University and George who has a degree in Business Administration who graduate in November. Joash has been invited to undertake a degree in Technology, (Geo-information Technology) starting this September, 2013 while Steve is expected to report for a degree in Pharmacy end of the year and not medicine.
Kids go back to school from the 3rd of September for their last term this year and we hope this time around there will be fewer distractions from elections, teacher’s strikes among other national issues that might affect their learning.
During these holidays (August), we had very few activities since most of the kids had to catch up with their syllabus after the teacher’s strike;
· Tuition classes with the college/university students offering to teach those in high schools on their weak areas while high school students helping out those in primary schools.
· An ecology trip in the outskirts of Nairobi where children visited the Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center, Nairobi Orphanage and Mamba village. During this trip the kids were engaged in discussions regarding Waste Management, Eco-systems and conservation of our heritage.
· Our termly Children’s Parliament where several issues were raised by the children and later discussed together with staff.
· The children shared clothes donated over the last 6 months with an organization within Mathare whom they felt there children were more deserving than themselves.
· Computer lessons kick-started for the small kids during the lunch hour with basic lessons on what a computer is and what you can achieve with computers.
Teenage Mother’s Program
The teenage mother’s program continues albeit with issues arising from the girls in training. Several of them had to skip lessons to either cater for their children’s health which we meet as a program; one is pregnant again and before the end of the year will be giving birth and one has been sick consistently that she has had to miss classes for 3 weeks.
To ensure that their children get a balanced diet with locally available resources, we have embarked on nutrition training with the assistance of the German Doctor’s nutritionist. One major trained was conducted in our premises while the subsequent ones have been on-going every Thursday at the Nutrition/Feeding Center owned by the Doctors.
Beginning of July, the girls also underwent parenting classes for 3 days from a paid consultant who works with the German Doctors. This training looked into the need of a “relationship” with one child and what that means for the child later in life. These trainings continue.
Lastly we entered into a contract with Mathare Youth Polytechnic in which we will provide hairdressing equipment that will help to set-up a class of hairdressing in the institution. In return, Mathare Polytechnic will train 10 teenage mothers for the next 4 years. This is meant to bring about sustainability of the program.
On Tuesday, the 25th June, our premise was broken into but luckily the thugs could not break into our office. Our two tenants and the watchman were able to chase him/them away. The police did their investigations and which pointed to the thieves gaining entry through our neighbors - a hospital, Marura Nursing Home. On more investigations, one of the staff members of Marura Nursing home was apprehended but later released when it became clear there was no enough evidence to sustain a case. 4 days later he had stolen phones and money from his workmates and has not been seen since.
Simon Bailey from the Overseafilms - http://www.overseafilms.com/ was with us for the 2 weeks in June courtesy of Tim Hoeppner. Simon was filming a documentary on the general life in Mathare and how MCFpanairobi is doing its bit to improve the wellbeing of the inhabitants. We will post it online as soon as its ready and you will see how funds are being utilized...
On 14th of June, 2013, Kasarani District celebrated the "Day of the African Child" whose theme was eliminating harmful social and cultural practices affecting children; ‘our collective responsibilities.’ This was made possible by the collective effort of our network in Kasarani and donors. The day is usually celebrated on the 16th but due to the National celebrations and the county celebrations being held on the 16th and 15th respectively.
The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity. It honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. The Day of the African Child raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children. This year's celebrations were held in St. John in Korogocho and we had a good time with the guest honours being the County Governor of the children assembly and its Speaker. That was a good move especially when the "big persons" came and expected to be at the main podium...More than 4000 children attended the celebrations and had a great time.
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