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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