I hope the New Year has been kind to you. Here in Mathare, things are back to normalcy after months of political campaigns that brought a lot of tensions especially after the experiences of 2007/2008 post-election violence.
As you continue to help us realize that something good can come out of the lowest strata in society (Mathare slums), please allow me to give you an update of the many happenings in our project and its environs.
Reporting to Schools – Thanks to your support, 96 kids have reported back to school without any hiccups. Currently we have three children in Kindergarten, three in special schools, 34 in primary schools, five kids waiting to join high school, 30 in high schools, nine pupils are waiting for their high school results and twelve students are in college. We are planning to take 15 more children in, who will be introduced to you in the next emails.
We also saw a total of 15 youths say goodbye to MCFpanairobi this year. Some of the children include; Vinoly who trained as a Civil Engineer and is currently working as one in a consultancy (She earns more than we do but am not jealous J), Stephen who did not do well in his high school exams is currently working in a research firm in Kisumu after he did his basic computer skills training with us, Vivian who trained in IT – Higher Diploma and currently lecturing in a small computer college in Nairobi and writing projects as a consultant for students in the university, Kevin who trained as a primary school teacher and is currently employed in a private school and Samson is currently working with the Ministry of Immigration where he works as a registrar of persons .
High School - Our 5 children who sat for their class 8 (grade 8) national exams finally got their results and all of them have performed above average -250 out of 500 would be the average – and are gearing to join high school in 2 /3 weeks. They were 4 boys and one girl.
Early Childhood and Care Development Program – On the 15th of February, 6 teenage mothers and their children (below five years) joined our project. They will be coming 3 days a week in our centre. We will provide a safe environment in which the development of the small children can be improved while their mothers are trained in a skill; tailoring or hair dressing, Parenting skills training, family planning workshops and a feeding program are also included in the initiative. We have bought two sewing machines for the tailoring department, a trainer recruited, a salon where the girls will be trained in hair dressing identified.
Income generating projects
The handbags project continues and we have been able to sell them both in Kenya and overseas and continue to try and establish more markets. So far we have been able to sell bags worth € 400 and the market looks ready for more. Our aim is that we sell about 30 bags per month which should create a net income of € 280. The second project is the MCFpanairobi Tours. This is a walking tour of the city of Nairobi offered by former street children who have finished high school waiting to join college. Through this initiative, our kids earn some pocket money, get exposed to new cultures, and learn important communication skills and MCFpanairobi invests the profits in the educating kids in the project. From the beginning of this year, we have had the privilege of hosting 17 tourists and we have more coming.
Stanley passed on last month – February. He was born with hydrocephalus and was not able to walk or use his hands. Last year, the teachers in his school could not handle his frequent illness and asked his mum to stay with him until he improves. Sadly when Stanley became sick, the medical practitioners were on a go-slow and hence Stanley died while waiting for medical attention in their local dispensary. We have had the opportunity to be with Stanley amongst us for the last 7 years and he was a jolly good kid whom we were fond of. May he rest in peace.
Elections March, 4th 2013
In 2007/2008 Kenya suffered its worst humanitarian crisis since independence following the December 30 results of a hotly-contested presidential election. Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his supporters rejected the declared victory of incumbent Mwai Kibaki, alleging it was the result of rampant rigging. Protests degenerated into widespread violence as decades of economic frustration and ethnic rivalry spiraled out of control. In the days immediately after the results were announced, gangs of youths blocked Kenya’s main roads and set fire to hundreds of homes of perceived ‘outsiders’. In all, more than 1,200 people were killed and some 600,000 displaced into temporary camps, with an equal number seeking refuge with friends or relatives.
Due to these factors, our project and 30 other organizations under the Gender Based Violence Network to plan and strategize on how we would help out in case of pre and post-election violence. We approached the police and local administration to provide security in case of rescue and protection. Other resources identified include: safe house for survivors of rape and sexual assault, ambulances for rescue of violence; namely children and women, medical personnel, hospitals and medical centers, trauma centers and the necessary personnel and centers where children would be referred to as safe houses. Though the electoral drama has not been fully resolved, Kenya has greatly defied expectations and remains peaceful. The raft of reforms this country made after the crisis of late 2007 and early 2008, and the extensive anti violence messages during this election, seemed to have found their mark. Since the election results were announced on Saturday, giving the presidency to Mr. Kenyatta, top politicians down to neighborhood activists have been calling for peace — and the peace has been holding.
While the needs are great and almost overwhelming, the team in Mathare is impacting the lives of the people we work with, in a genuine life changing way. The team in Mathare and the board believe deeply in creating futures through education for disadvantaged children in the slums. So far, 450 children have passed through MCFpanairobi program and we can proudly say that we now have teachers, engineers, Lab Technicians, Military, Mechanics and many more professionals with a very humbling background from Mathare. We have seen what this has been for the children we have touched and all these have been due to generous contributions from persons like you. We hope you continue to be friends of MCFpanairobi and support our work here in Mathare.
Please if you do have questions or need more clarification feel free to ask and we will definitely get back to you with responses. You can also visit us on our Facebook/webpage page in German or English: http://www.facebook.com/panairobi (www.panairobi.net)or http://www.facebook.com/MathareChildrenFund
Thank you and greetings from the team.
Season greetings, Friends!
It's been quite a year and as we come to the end of another successful year, we want to thank you for contributing to our success and ask you that you continue to be with us in the coming New Year, 2013. For those who will be joining us as friends of MCFpanairobi 2013, your much welcome in helping us achieve to educate the not so well endowed amongst us
This year saw us achieve a lot; namely having 114 children go through primary, secondary and college education, something that would not have been possible without your support and continue to ask that you stand strong with us. We still have a long way to go, but 2012 is a clear sign that we, as an organization, are making progress.
In this report, we want to bring you a few of our own most recent triumphs and catalyzing actions. The truth, though, remains: We can't do it alone. We need your help. We hope you'll read what we've been doing, donate to help us keep up the good work, and pass this report along to those you know who would assist these vulnerable children.
We thank you for everything…
Activities that have been going on since our last report in October includes;
Over December holidays we engaged in various activities, namely;
Christmas is the season of love and happiness and on behalf of the children, staff and board members of MCFpanairobi, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family and friends a very merry Christmas and a splendid happy new! For us, Christmas is filled with more happiness because of donors like you.
Asante sana na shukrani.
(PS; If your in Facebook we request you like us - http://www.facebook.com/MathareChildrenFund and you will see what goes on every other second day or so.....)
We had few programs going on during the August school holidays;
1. Review of the previous Hansard report for April Parliament proceedings in August
The children asked that we review the proceedings of the previous April parliament since they felt a few things agreed on had not been implemented. This was evident for lack of benches to sit on as agreed between the office and the children in April. (We have proceeded to the buy benches as agreed with the children)
2. Children Rights vs New Kenyan Constitution
We had more than 50 children attend the 4 day workshop sponsored by Pathfinder International –APHIA Plus. We discussed the recent Kenyan (2010) promulgated constitution versus The Children’s Act of 2001. In the new Kenyan Constitution there exists an advanced Bill of Rights that among rights recognizes Socio-Economic rights of all children. These rights among others were compared to what we have in The Children’s Act 2001 and gaps identified especially on areas to do with the survival rights, Development rights, Protection rights and Participation rights. During the workshop, children from St. Benedict’s project were invited to attend too.
3. Origami and T-shirt design
We had a couple with children from Austria visit us on their holidays and two of them wanted to stay and help the children learn how to make Origami animals and design T-shirts with different colours and patterns. They came bearing gifts for our project from Austria. Our hall is now beautifully decorated with Origami art and kids have T-shirts with all types of design. See photo
4. Parents meeting
We had our quarterly meeting with parents where several issues were discussed among them next year’s agreement on sharing of responsibilities when it comes to shopping and transport. This created a lot discussion but there can only be growth if one knows how to fish and not getting fish all the time in a silver platter. The mothers who are interested in basket making among other craft works were asked to sign up since we were starting a project on crafts in the month of October.
We have started making handbags from waste paper – tetra pack– with a group of 7 women. This group of women who would generally be washing clothes for a small fee have embarked on the training and as we report these, they have learned and currently are producing 3 bags a day. MCFpanairobi will act as the middleman in which we will try and get a market for the products within Kenya and outside the country. This was agreed since sales and marketing is one area that the women are incapacitated for the time being. We have seen this works after one of our children currently in the University started making bangles, rings and chains from copper was able to get his hostel fees from the sale of these items when we connected him to a fair trade shop in one of the malls in Nairobi.
Sooner or later we will be asking you to buy one and support the mothers and we hope you will. They will also learn how to make chains from beads and paper for further income.
Children Protection Policy and Code of Conduct
We can finally report that we have finished writing our Code of Conduct and Children Protection Policy for our organization. Although it took quite a while, we cannot stop from thanking Niamh, who is a board member who assisted us with her vast knowledge on this field having worked for long in the children sector. She visited the project for a week when she was meant to be on holidays and helped us in finishing the policies.
Third term – reporting back to school
In September, all public school teachers went on strike demanding an increment of their salaries. This created concern is now being raised over the negative impact the teachers strike is having especially on class 8 and form 4 candidates. The school calendar has also been changed affecting the holidays and syllabus for the whole 2013 year. It’s important to note that we have elections next year and most schools act as polling stations and this too will affect the education calendar of 2013.
Exchange Program between DESECE and MCFpanairobi
With the assistance of Horizont3000, we were able to have an exchange program between MCFpanairobi and DESECE project in Bungoma County. DESECE staffs were able to visit our project in late August while we visited them mid October for learning experiences. We will continue to grow our relationship on areas we could cooperate.
Nairobi Only Walking Tour
We finally printed posters and made brochures of our new project where we are offering walking city tours of Nairobi. We have had more than ten Nairobi walking tours since inception and the feedback is great. So when you’re in Nairobi, remember to book a tour with us. These monies go into the project while the children (above 18 years) who undertake these tours with our guests get an income to enable them meet some costs in college or home.
We were lucky to get one of our long term donors and a board member visit us and with them, they came bearing gifts for the children who will get them come December. Thank you Wendy, Niamh and you are always welcome to visit again and again.
Dennis Cricket Exploits
Remember during a previous update early this year we told you of how Dennis had joined a cricket team that had been invited to play in an elite National Junior Championship during the August holidays? Well, his team played and they won the championship although it was the only team which had to take public means to the competition. During the championship Dennis was awarded a trophy as the best bowler and we cannot be more proud.
As we continue to help former street children from Nairobi slums gain meaningful access to quality education by meeting their fees, text books, school supplies, medication,transportation,food among other needs, we have continued with other activities since the last update;
Day of the African Child – This is a day that has been commemorated annually since 1991 and has its roots in the anti-colonial struggles against oppression and injustice in South Africa but more specifically commemorates the massacre of unarmed children in Soweto, South Africa in 1976 while protesting against the low quality education. The theme for this year was, The Rights of Children with Disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and to Fulfill. Mathare Children’s Fund Panairobi as a collaborator with Government on issues regarding children especially vulnerable children and a strong member of our local district network on children which was mandated by the government this year to host the national Day of The African Child (DAC) we were involved in planning and implementation of this year DAC celebrations. (See photos below) The occasion was used to create awareness on child rights and to focus on diverse child rights violations and their underlying causes. It provided an opportunity to assess the progress towards realization of the rights of children and celebrate the gains made for children. This day acted as an eye opener especially on children with disabilities that are commonly neglected by both communities and government are not given opportunities to explore their potential to promote their growth and participation as a right as entrenched in our state laws and those of the UN conventions.
Careers - Following successful completion of basic computer skills training amongst our kids who finished high school last year, we have embarked on career advice amongst our kids. We are requesting them to take time to think about what they would like to do; dream and imagine ideal careers. Although there are fewer opportunities, few different types of jobs and careers in a wide variety of industries, there are also other career paths that are just emerging. Even if they are fairly sure of a career choice, our children should take time to explore similar (or even vastly different) careers, explore all options, and examine their likes and dislikes. Most colleges in Kenya start their academic years in September and usually most students will be applying to join during the months of June and July and due to your continued assistance, we hope to have majority of them take up courses in college to acquire the career they choose for a better tomorrow.
MCFpanairobi Tours – Although not really a source of income/fundraising for MCFpanairobi, this is a project we have started for our kids who have finished high school and act as tour guides for guests especially foreigners who want to take a walking tour of the city of Nairobi. They are also invited to visit our project in Mathare slums and are also encouraged to donate towards the payment of fees/school uniform/food among other things. It has proved worth the effort since our kids have started earning some income and enjoy doing their job. The 3 kids on probation underwent a small training on what is involved and history of the city and places of interest. So next time in Nairobi please send us a shout out to us and let us show you our city.
Horizont 3000 Conference – One of our own was recently invited to attend to Vienna-Austria for a conference on Promoting of Human Rights amongst Civil Society whose objectives included; To discuss principles, strategies and methods to strengthen Civil Society organizations and structures, so that they can better defend Human/Children Rights and Exchange of good practices and project experiences from a variety of project partners from different continents and Nations among other objectives. This kind of exchange offers broad based benefits and outcomes, an awareness and adoption of alternative, multifaceted approaches to children rights issues.
Holiday Program – Currently we are planning for the August holiday program and we will keep you updated in 2 months time what we are up to with our children.
Lots of Love from a cold Mathare…
Today one of our kids, Dennis Sande, was invited to join the under 15 Elite Cricket Camp for a week, during which he will join the under 17 National Cricket Team after the camp. According to his coach, Dennis is a very talented bowler, fielder and wicket keeper. Below is a picture of Dennis showing off his T-shirt with the National Cricket Logo…We can only wish him the best.
Following a seminar we hosted at our premises, which was facilitated by Marc Maxson (the GlobalGiving story telling and innovation consultant), certain issues came out strongly among the more than 25 representatives of different organizations that were represented. One of the issues that was discussed at length was election related violence and how to nip it in the bud before the elections, which are planned for the end of this year or the beginning of next year. We arranged a calendar of activities that we (organizations within Mathare) would be engaged in and among these is to try and get forums where violence and peace issues would be discussed. On 21st April, 2012, we invited George Dima of ABC project to a parents/guardian meeting in which he was allocated an hour and led the group in discussing various issues regarding peace, election related violence and our responsibilities - especially for some of us who live in the slums. We intend to attend a forum facilitated by his project and discuss issues regarding election related violence.
The GlobalGiving story telling project continues, especially now that kids are in the center during the school holidays, we currently have more than 60 stories written and await Zipporah (the coordinator) to pay us a visit at the end of the month to collect them and give us more frameworks to fill in our stories.
Lastly my dear friends, Giving birth and becoming a mother is one of life’s defining moments, creating the opportunity for a lifetime of Mother’s Days… Mother’s Day is a perfect time to thank our mums for their gift of life. Most mothers in Africa/Kenya will with their hair in disarray, worn out, squeaky to one of her own and spring to action, because she’s always on call. Beyond rhythm of sorrow, we can celebrate the African mother, the past and present in anticipation of a better tomorrow by gifting that potential to struggling mums and their families in the Mathare slums through GlobalGiving’s Mother’s Day Tribute Card Campaign which kicks off at 12:01 am EDT on May 1, 2012. The campaign is offering $500 prizes to each of the top 10 projects with the most donors who make donations as gifts! Our project only needs 10 donors to qualify for a bonus prize! GlobalGiving is offering e-cards and print-at-home cards, by making a donation to our project - the perfect last-minute Mother’s Day gift. Every donation of $30 will pay holiday activities for one child/young person for the whole year; holiday activities include a feeding program, medical check-up, trainings on various children’s/young people’s issues among other things, or $100 will pay for food, transport, school uniform and transport for a child for a whole year.
If we qualify, dear friends, for the $500 then we would want assure you that it will put two more kids through primary school education in a public institution for the next two years.
PS; Please note, only online donations will qualify for this campaign, no check donations will be accepted.
Our kids are some of the most vulnerable kids. They need us to win while appreciating our mothers
Lots of Love from Mathare
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