Educate and Feed 85 At-Risk Kids in Kibera, Kenya

 
$70,278
$19,722
Raised
Remaining
Nursery School Students at Play
Nursery School Students at Play

 

Prolonged drought -- dubbed the worst in 60 years -- coupled with soaring global food prices and deteriorating livestock prices has caused a severe food crisis in East Africa (namely in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia). The crisis is characterized as the worst the world has seen since the Great Chinese Famine of the late 1950s. In Kenya, food shortages have reached critical levels and the Kenyan government has declared a national emergency.

While Northern Kenya has been particularly hard hit with a flood of refugees entering from Somalia, people throughout the country are also being affected by the soaring cost of food. In Nairobi’s already vulnerable informal settlements, where most households live on less than a dollar a day, families are unable to afford the cost of food.  
 
St. Vincent’s Response
St. Vincent’s is witnessing the effects of the crisis, as most families of our nursery school children are running out of food. Even under normal circumstances, the two daily meals that our nursery school children receive are sometimes the only meals during the week that children receive. On a typical day, we see children lining up at our gates up to an hour early, eager to receive their first meal of the day which is often times the first meal they've received since lunch the previous day. Under these circumstances, these children and their families are at even great risk.
St. Vincent’s is responding to the crisis by extending our school calendar by at least one week into the summer break so that children can continue to receive the two daily meals provided as part of our program. In addition to the school meals, St. Vincent’s has increased by 50% the number of HIV-affected nursery school families provided with take home food baskets.  Adequate food supply is particularly critical for HIV-affected families, as people taking ARVs require a balanced diet for the medication to be effective.

 

We would like to thank you, our donors, for making this added support possible. Every dollar donated to St. Vincent's goes directly to our programs and is critical to the continuation of our operations.

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From May 9th-10th, St. Vincent’s hosted a medical camp at our nursery school site in coordination with Chamberlain College of Nursing (from Chicago, IL). Fifteen medical and nursing students attended to over 600 people who received medical services in the two days, including medical check-ups, VCT (voluntary counseling and testing for HIV), dental and eye examinations. Through this collaboration, St. Vincent's students, their parents and other community members benefited as they were treated and received drugs free of charge. The event was such a great success that we hope to host a second similar event in September.

****Other St. Vincent's News****

Nursery School Welcomes New Head Teacher

This term, the Nursery School welcomed a new Head Teacher. Jean Juma is a previous member of St. Vincent de Paul Society and has spent the last eight years working in Sudan and Somalia teaching in refugee camps.

St. Vincent's Increases Food Support to Families Affected by HIV/AIDS

Skyrocketing food prices in recent months have greatly affected many of our nursery school children and their families. Currently, many families have been forced to survive on one meal a day. Children often cry in the morning, and when asked if they have eaten they say they did not receive a meal the previous night. Most complain of stomach aches. In response, St. Vincent’s has identified the need to provide an increasing number of families with food rations, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS. These families are of particular concern, as the medication for HIV must be accompanied with food. St. Vincent’s provides twenty families a month with food rations. This represents a 50% increase in the number of families receiving food assistance from last year.

Education Support for St. Vincent Nursery School Alumni

In addition to the food rations, we also assist the families of some of the primary school going children who graduated from our nursery school by paying school fees. We currently pay school fees for eight children who have graduated from the nursery school.

On Monday, January 11, 2011, the St. Vincent’s Nursery School commenced a new school year. Twenty-three newly admitted children reported to school for the first time, together with returning students from the Pre-Primary 1 and 2 classes. There are a total of 87 children enrolled in the Nursery School in 2011.

The new students were accompanied by their parents and guardians who waited patiently for their turn to be served and cleared by the head teacher, Miriam Wawira. For some of the new children, they could not hide their anxiety of starting school and could be seen looking curiously at the older children, now comfortable with their surroundings and the school routine. While for some of the newly admitted children, tears rolled down their cheeks as they saw their parents leave them behind.

With the New Year, St. Vincent’s also welcomed two new members to its teaching staff. Alice Wanjiru joined St. Vincent’s as teacher of our Pre-Primary 2 class, while Millicent Kituku joined us as instructor of the Pre-Primary 1 class.  While we were sad to say goodbye to our two dedicated teachers Virginia and Esther, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome Alice and Millicent who come to us from local teacher training colleges and are extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity to join our team.

More than just provide education and daycare, the nursery school serves as a safety net for families in the community so that they are able to continue caring for the children. Parents and caregivers come to St. Vincent’s when in need of support for food, housing, medical costs, and other basic survival needs. This support is provided on a case-by-case basis and is made possible because of the close relationship that St. Vincent Board members and staff (teachers) proactively establish with the families they serve. In addition to direct support, St. Vincent’s provides referrals/linkages to other social services in cases where they are not able to assist and even liaises with other service providers on behalf of families, which is particularly important considering the marginalized population with whom the organization works.

By prioritizing the enrollment of orphans and other children living in the same households, St. Vincent places an important value on the orphaned child.  Their existence in the household serves as a gateway for the other children in the same household to enter into school. Thus, despite the additional burden that may be placed on the household in caring for an additional child, the prioritization of orphans and children living in the same household enables orphaned children to bring something positive to their households, thereby serving as a protective mechanism for that child. St. Vincent’s also subsidizes school fees depending on families’ ability to pay; enabling the most needy and vulnerable children to attend.

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This year, St. Vincent’s admitted 3-year old Baraka to its Baby Class.  Baraka is cared for by a young couple from Kibera who recently adopted him. A few months ago, the couple spotted Baraka in the local market while they were setting up their shop; he had been abandoned and was the victim of abuse. As nightfall approached, Baraka was still in the market, alone and crying.  The couple made the decision to take Baraka, who would not speak, to the police station to try to find his family, but without any luck. Ultimately, the couple took Baraka to their tiny one room home --– a 10 foot by 5 foot room with no sanitation, running water or consistent electricity, where seven people live – and eventually adopted him as their fourth child.  Shortly following his adoption, St. Vincent’s admitted Baraka to the nursery school where he is receiving early education, daily meals, and a safe place to go during the day while his mother is at work.  At St Vincent’s, he’s slowly started to speak, to interact with the other children and to trust his teachers.  Baraka’s mother is hopeful that St Vincent’s is the start to a successful education for her son.

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Hard at Work
Hard at Work

It was in June 2009, when the St.Vincent De Paul Community Development Organization (SVPCDO) was hit badly by global financial crisis. The crisis came towards the end of the year, when the organization was operating on its last tranche of savings and was unsure what the new year would yield in terms of funding.

During the month of November 2009 a friend of the organization introduced us to Global Giving and shared with us the details of their work. It so happened that Global Giving was about to launch a “challenge” for which they needed participation from organizations like ours’.

We managed to beat the deadline and send all the required paperwork to introduce our work in the community of Kibera. Our efforts quickly bore fruits as we managed to be among the top three institutions that participated in the global challenge, raising Ksh, 1.3 million (over $16,000 USD) in just one month.

The support received through Global Giving during this challenge, and since then (over $23,000 to date), has truly brought our organization back to life; living with hopes of a better today in order to save a child with basic unmet needs in our community. We are glad to be part of the Global Giving family as it has opened our horizons by getting space on an international perspective.

The nursery school, with the current population of 87 children, has benefited greatly from the money we have received so far. Here is a breakdown of some of the areas where have been put to use over the past year:

School Uniforms: Our newly admitted children at the nursery school all received school uniforms and a pair of shoes.

Feeding Programme: Feeding 87 children has not stopped. Provision of two nutritious meals per day during school days Monday to Friday is still on course.

Stationery: Learning has been enhanced as all the necessary stationary needed by the school was purchased. This reflects on the children as all strive to outdo each other and work hard.

Bills: Monthly bills of water and electricity continue to be paid on monthly basis without fail.

Salaries: Staff salaries continue to be paid promptly at end of each month, which motivates the staff to perform better.

We say a BIG THANK YOU to Global Giving, as we can happily boost on being on the global map by keeping the St Vincent de Paul Nursery School known to the world by appearing on your website, which brings hope to Kibera children for a better today.

We also say a BIG THANK YOU and A BIG HUG to all our kind donors and friends who gave us a helping hand when we needed it most and have continuously contributed generously so as to keep the wheels of St. Vincent spirit  rolling on and on.

Our New Class
Our New Class
Time to Eat!
Time to Eat!

SVPCDO is pleased to announce that it has been selected as one of three organizations (among thousands) to be selected as part of this promotion from Rough Roads (UK). All you have to do is visit the site below, play the game, and at the end select the "Feed and Educate Kibera Kids" option from the drop down menu and a donation will be made each time you play.

Click here to play: http://www.roughroads.co.uk/

It's super easy, only takes 2 minutes, and most importantly, it will benefit our nursery school and the children in Kibera at a time where we are still in great need of funds. We hope you will help us by taking a couple of minutes to participate.

Remember -- it's NO cost to you! And also by spreading the word about this great opportunity through Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thanks for your help!

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Project Leader

Lucy Kayiwa

Director
Nairobi, Kenya

Where is this project located?