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.
Apr 7, 2015

Greetings from Mathare

Greetings from Mathare...

It’s been 3 months since the New Year began! Quite a lot has been going on because of YOU!

All the 7 students who sat for their primary education exams passed and have all been admitted to secondary schools around the country, thanks to your support. We also had 7 students sitting for their final secondary education examinations and all have scored an average of C plain. 3 more students joined tertiary colleges at the beginning of the year to do the following professional courses; Diploma in Law, Medical laboratory and Hotel management. They are doing there courses in Mount Kenya University and Thika School of Medical and Health Sciences.

All the other children under the sponsorship programme are all in school while on the same note, social workers in the project have embarked on recruiting 30 more children below 12 years for the sponsorship programme. We kindly ask that you continue to support us in this endeavor of ensuring that those children who are underprivileged get an education that will definitely uplift their lives. Your generosity has changed the course of their lives, their possibilities are endless!

18 teenage mothers successfully finished their training last year and for the 8 who sat for the national trade exams, they all passed. 12 of the teenage mothers have a job or are operating a small business and can comfortably meet some of their pressing needs. We currently have 21 teenage mothers undergoing either tailoring or hairdressing courses. While this continues, they are also getting basic life skills training like reproductive health, entrepreneurship and saving skills. We have also been able to partner with a savings and credit company that is able to give them loans to start small businesses in groups.

Our community library was finally opened and we currently have 11 kids using the facility. We have been able to have interchange programmes with organizations that have the same facilities within different slums to learn good practices. We hope to have 50 or so students from within Mathare slums use the facility.

Each year my dear friend, we help a 100 or more children by giving them a sound and good education, take care of their medical needs, hot lunches among other needs. Without donations like yours, however the project will not be able to send these children to school and meet their other needs. We are hoping to raise another $30,000 to keep these children in school this year, 2015 especially due to the fact that we are taking in 30 more children this year. A financial gift from you will be a big help in meeting our goal.

Together we will be able to transform lives and build brighter futures – but without you, it would just be impossible. Thank you so much for your support.

Please like us on our Facebook page to get a real time update on what we are up to.

Asante sana.

Dec 17, 2014

The Year that was....2014

2014, The Year that it was…

Dear Friends

This year, MCFp celebrated 15 years of incredible outcomes, each generated by addressing the cognitive, emotional and educational needs of over 400 children from Mathare Slums and its environs. Like many other organizations, we experienced increased demand for our services while we navigated rapid changes in state regulations, public policy, and private funding sources.

The economic downturn experienced in many Western countries brought with it new challenges in our efforts to meet the needs of children and other clients we serve, but we continue to face these challenges head on. More children need our critical support than ever before, and so we must double our efforts to give voice to the needs of young Mathare children.

We are so pleased to have partnered with many supportive and generous individuals and organizations throughout the world. With your help, we have impacted hundreds of at-risk children.

Whether you are a friend, a donor, or a private individual, we invite you to join us in our work. Together we can unleash the potential of young children – ensuring a brighter future for them and for us all! We are profoundly grateful for your generosity, and we will continue to work hard to inspire your confidence and support in the future.

Please enjoy reviewing our successes year, 2014.

Sponsorship Programme
We had 106 children under the School Sponsorship Programme this year - at all levels of education, from Nurseries/kindergarten to University/college/vocational training; these have been placed in over 70 schools and institutions of higher learning all over the country. This year we had 14 students sitting for their National Exams, both in Primary and Secondary levels.
The program is hugely successful. Over 40 kids have been able to go to colleges/universities – a seemingly impossible feat from where they started out. They have degrees in Mathematics & Physics, Horticulture and Economics, Software Engineering, Disaster Management and International Diplomacy, Pharmacy, Geo Mapping, Education, Actuarial Science among others, while we have a student doing his MBA!
MCFpanairobi will continue to scale and reach out to more children, providing educational access and opportunity thanks to your support which will allow us to plan with confidence that 120 children will gain access to education next year. Your commitment to help create world change through education makes this possible.

Teenage Mothers Programme
An Early Care and Childhood Development program targeting teenage mothers (aged between 12 and 19 years). Many children under 5 years are often left to their own devices; no one takes care of them. Their fathers in most cases shun away from their parental responsibility, and the mothers, are overwrought by their work to sustain a living for their small family. Children of teenage mothers in the slums have been known to grow up with less affection and love, less attention, often suffer from malnutrition and live in poor hygiene conditions. A number of them will not start schooling and if they do, tend to drop out even before they finish school and the circle continue.

In helping the children of teenage mothers, it is crucial to assist and support young mothers and give them a new perspective in life. Teenage mothers who are empowered social-economically are in a position to provide an additional and reliable income for their households through the proceeds realised from their projects, to enable them to meet the costs of basic needs such as; household utilities, food, and fuel for lighting, clothing, and costs of their children’s schooling such as uniforms, books and fees.

MCFp intervention envisions the teenage mothers acquiring expertise in hairdressing and tailoring. On hairdressing, MCFp has been able to partner with Mathare Youth Polytechnic where more than 40 teenage mothers with their under-five year old train for 6 months every year for the next 4 years while 10 girls are trained in tailoring every year. Currently we have 25 teenage mothers in the programme who will be graduating at the end of the year, 2014. MCFpanairobi has successfully negotiated with an organization this will provide them with loans in groups to set up businesses after 6 weeks of entrepreneurship training.

Livelihood Support Programme
We have two livelihood programmes; mainly Nairobi Walking Tours where 5 young people from the sponsorship programme have been trained in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya on the History of Nairobi. We offer these tours to anybody interested and they act as a source of income to the young people and the project. We have had more than 120 tours this year.
The other livelihood project is for the mothers of children that MCFp serves in the sponsorship programme. These women are involved in the making of handbags from used tetra packs and other local materials plus bead making. MCFp does the buying of the products required and markets them on the women’s behalf. There are some teenage mothers also involved in these businesses especially those that are training to be tailors. More than 350 bags have been sold this year!
MCFpanairobi intends to increase the livelihood programmes from two to four in 2015 that would cater for more vunerable groups.

Reusable Sanitary Towels Programme
There have been campaigns in both poor rural and poor informal urban settlements to provide adolescent girls with sanitary protection allowing girls to attend school uninterrupted, which is key to bridging disparities between adolescent girls and boys both in primary and secondary education in Kenya. Although these campaigns still go on, the impact has been minimal and this is mostly due to the expenses incurred by the organizations – which mostly rely on donor funding - to buy disposable sanitary towels.

Reusable Sanitary Pads are a sustainable and easily renewable resource that allows girls to wash and reuse them rather than having to buy disposable pads every month. In addition, they are comparatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly. The social benefit of the implementation of this concept greatly mitigates the disadvantages and challenges many disempowered girls endure during their process of maturing. So far MCFp has distributed re-usable sanitary towels worth Euros 4,000 to over 895 girls in more than 40 different schools as a pilot project. MCFp is currently looking for donors that will help set-up way of manufacturing the sanitary towels with the women/teenage mothers in our project. The project will be a livelihood project that will not only employ women/teenage mothers and ensure they meet their basic needs through the income they get, but also provide a very basic commodity at a cheap price that is durable that will ensure girls continue with their education uninterrupted.

Computer Lab
MCFp has been able to overcome the digital divide through the opening of its computer lab. The main focus has been the youths, women and local entrepreneurs. The lab is ideal for students as it provides a good environment for research and learning. The lab has also benefited some of the local entrepreneurs through the creation of a platform for them to market their goods and services online. It has also provided services such as printing and photocopying among others which are currently rare and located far apart. The trainer is a former beneficiary of the sponsorship project.

More than 20 students have been trained this year and we hope this number will increase to between 150-300 students next year following the negotiations we are having with NairoBits, an ICT Trust that equips the youth with knowledge in Web Design, IT skills, Creative Multimedia, and Entrepreneurship to improve their opportunities in employment and/or entrepreneurship from Urban informal settlements.

Holiday Programme
This entails community service and clean-up exercises; tutoring and mentoring - peer mentoring and older children mentoring younger ones; educational and recreational trips; holding sessions of Children’s Parliament, computer lessons for preschool children over lunch hour; facilitation of workshops on various issues affecting children; and skills development, especially in arts. This year saw the kids in the project; teenage mothers and their parents undergo skills training on different areas that will improve their current situations. Working with different organizations and partners, the holiday programme next year will have more activities that are both fun and engaging to children. Volunteers/Interns are more than invited to engage with MCFpanairobi on this.

Community Library
MCFp recently partnered with Challenge Aid through Pamoja Trust to establish a community library. The objective of the project is to avail space within the informal settlements where children undertake extra studies in an environment that is conducive to learning in the evenings after school. MCFp provides a study room, volunteer supervisors (2 former beneficiaries of the project), books and other basic amenities found in a library. It will start with serving 30/40 children from the neighborhoods. This number is expected to grow to 70/80 children by the end of the year. We also envision providing opportunities for boys and girls to undertake sporting activities, life skills and extra curriculum activities. The project in addition supports the enhancement of leadership skills for committees managing the library. The committee is made up of community members and MCFp. We await the bookshelves to be finished for the library to start!

Students Councils/Parliament
MCFp is in talks with CHS – (Christiane Herzog Shule) to secure funding for this programme and have these councils established in schools. This is a programme that will enable students to grow up as responsible citizens who are aware of their rights, their influence and their responsibility within communities and their schools. Furthermore, it will strengthen their ability to participate in decision making processes which will lead to better improved relationships between the school administration, teachers and the students through creating a platform of dialogue and learning on issues. This programme has been informed from MCFp’s own children’s parliament held every holiday for the last 8 years. This has helped MCFp come up with policies that are children friendly that has seen a great reduction of drop-outs from schools or the project itself.

Other notable highlights

  • 14 students have finished their National exams; High school education/Primary education while 4 joined the universities to undertake different courses while 3 will be reporting to different colleges at the beginning of the new year, 2015
  • There was not a single drop out of any child within the sponsorship programme while 3 dropped out from the teenage mothers programme after getting married
  • At the beginning of the year MCFp came up with 2014-2017 strategic plan
  • This year MCFp will let go off 16 beneficiaries from the sponsorship programme. They all have finished their studies and we wish them luck in their new lives
  • 9 teenage mothers are either employed or self-employed even before they finish their hair dressing course in December
  • Over 50 former beneficiaries of the sponsorship programme will be meeting this December holidays as a come together party
  • Over 230 young women and teenage mothers and 340 youths and children have been trained on safe motherhood, family planning, fertility awareness, gender based violence, nutrition and HIV AIDS prevention and control
  • 4 new staff members joined the project as we continued to expand, namely 2 social workers, tailoring trainer and an accountant while Susi left back for Austria after a stint with us of more than two and a half years
  • MCFp joined new networks and is playing a big role in them; Nairobi Child Protection Team, Kasarani Gender Based Violence Network, Street Children and Families Network and Children Charitable Institutions. All these are networks that propagate for better lives for children and women in informal settlements
  • MCFp has new partners this year; namely DKA Austria, NairoBits, Challenge AID and Pamoja Trust with whom MCFp will be implementing new programmes
  • A community Library has been opened to children in Mathare to study in the evening and Saturdays – over 40 students are expected to use the library. It will employ two young men from Mathare
  • More than 895 girls from different schools within the country were provided with Re-usable Sanitary towels, an evaluation done and a decision made that beginning next year, MCFp will engage a trainer to help the young mothers and women produce the Re-usable Sanitary towels for sale at minimum costs. It is hoped will generate income for the project and the parents/teen mothers involved
  • In partnership with WRAP, 25 teenage mothers were able to receive food baskets for 8 months
  • MCFp has been able to follow-up on cases of defilement and rape for 12 children where 3 of the perpetrators have been jailed while the rest are on-going. This has been possible in partnership with different organizations, namely the German doctors, WRAP and World Friends
  • More than 120 children received hot lunches during the school holidays; April, August and 50/60 are expected during the December holidays as part of the feeding programme
  • Through the assistance of the German doctors, MCFp was able to meet the medical needs of more than 60 children with 4 being admitted in various hospitals where MCFp spend more than Ksh 80,000 for the medical bills

We will continue to scale and reach out to more children/teenage mothers and other vulnerable groups of people. We at MCFpanairobi will do this by providing educational access and other opportunities thanks to your support. Your commitment to help create world change education makes this possible.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2015!

Asante sana!!!
(Thank you)

Oct 9, 2014

Lessons learned-Teenage Mothers

Dear MCFpanairobi friends..

My report this time around is on the challenges we faced in the establishment of the teenage mother’s programme and the learning lessons gained from it. This has been brought forth by the GlobalGiving newest initiative where projects are asked to share their experiences in a project called #FailFoward Stories.

Like we mentioned before in our reports, one and a half years ago, we started a teenage mother’s programme where we targeted girls below 18 years with children below five years. This was informed from a baseline survey on children below five years who loiter within the slums during the day.

The initial recruitment was done during the electioneering period in Kenya after the post-election violence of 2007. During this period, a lot of international and local NGO’s had lots of seminars/workshops and activities that were on- going especially on peace initiatives. These NGOs would provide money for those who attended and there was the first mistake. 4 weeks after recruitment, it dawn on us that the girls were not really attending the vocational training as agreed, the reason; we were not paying them! We had to go back and review our recruitment policy once again that would come up with some guidelines on how we engage the teenage mothers.

The second batch of teenage mother’s that we recruited were mostly sourced from partner organizations that we work with. We got a total of 25 girls of whom half had been referred to us by Community Health Workers (CHWs) who live and work amongst the Mathare slum community. Basically we trusted the CHWs to genuinely refer clients who met the criteria we were looking for but alas, it was not the case. 13 teenage mothers referred to us ended up being not really teenage mothers but women/wives/girlfriends/relatives of the CHWs that had been coached on what to say when we made enquiries. Our capacity then was limited in regard to human resource but luckily we got DKA (an Austrian NGO) that agreed to support the programme and we were able to get an extra social worker to handle the programme. We have been able to find the truth about some of the teenage mothers we recruited. Out of the 13, five have remained while the rest dropped out in the training processes because they had joined for various reasons; because either they had been coerced to do so or because it was free and yet it was not something they were interested in. Of the 5 remaining we agreed they would finish their vocational training although they did not meet the criteria.

Lessons learned
Recruitment process; It was realised when recruiting of the previous group of teenage mothers that certain processes were not keenly followed. This has been rectified with the introduction of a recruitment process after brainstorming that involved both MCFp staff and the teenage mothers themselves.

Counselling; Counselling is the key to success of the program and special attention should be given to any issues raised. Failure to provide time and space to listen to issues raised by the teenage mothers may lead to drop – out. To reduce this, MCFp will embark on provision of counselling, one on one and group counselling every two weeks while the office has an open door policy and teenage mothers can come in anytime for any issue to be addressed.

Family Planning Services; Within the last 6 months, some of the teenage mothers have gone ahead and become pregnant again although they still have young ones below 3 years. To avoid this kind of situations, MCFp has embarked on providing these services through a network of government dispensaries, German Doctors in Mathare and one of MCFp staff members is currently training on reproductive health and family planning issues. The staff member will provide insights to the teenage mothers on ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies amongst the teenage mothers through workshops or seminars.

Refferals; Although we appreciate our networks and partner organizations, there is great need to follow-up the cases and ensure that whatever information we have is factual before the potential client is admitted in the programme.

The teenage mother’s programme continues and we are in the process of recruiting new teenage mother’s for next year phase but this time around. Our experiences will inform the process. Lets see how 2015 will go with the new group of teen mums.

Asante sana for being there for us.


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