Agnes posing for the camera
St. Vincent’s is pleased to share with you this report on its work in 2011. Thanks to your support, the organization has been able to accomplish the following in the past year:
Summary of 2011 Achievements:
- 78 children enrolled in our Nursery School, including 25 new students
- 17 children supported by our Rescue Center
- At least 23 children and 5 parents received medical treatment
- 10 nursery school alumni supported with school fees/educational supplies to attend primary and secondary schools in Kibera
- 9 nursery school families supported with food rations
Established in 2000, St. Vincent’s Nursery School provides a safe place for children to go during the day where they receive education from a trained and dedicated teaching staff and two daily meals. This service enables parents/caretakers to seek work, while children are accompanied in a safe environment. St. Vincent's subsidizes school fees depending on families' ability to pay which allows the most needy and vulnerable children to benefit from our program.
In January 2011, St. Vincent’s enrolled 25 new children into our Nursery School’s Baby Class, bringing the total number of children at the school to 78. Early childhood development programs, such as St. Vincent’s, are among the most critical interventions for protecting vulnerable children: they increase the capacity of families to care for children and are a proven cost-effective measure for investing in children’s long term development. Despite these positive attributes, today fewer than 1% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to early stimulation or pre-school programs.
St. Vincent’s Nursery School children come exclusively from vulnerable families and the majority of newly admitted children are malnourished and present with stunted growth and thus, are particularly susceptible to disease and infection. By the end of the year, through the nutrition services provided by St. Vincent’s, most of these children have grown and developed and are now in fine health. In addition, the care and attention provided by Nursery School staff is essential for personal growth and development, which enables children to develop healthy self-esteem and ultimately to facilitate healthy interactions with peers from different backgrounds.
In 2011, St. Vincent's supported a total of 17 children through its Rescue Center. Eleven children lived full time at the center where they receive shelter, care & support, and attend local schools in/around Kibera. Children at the Rescue Center are also provided opportunities to interact and associate with their relatives in preparation to fully integrate back to their community in the future. In addition to the children living full time at the Rescue Center, another six children were supported remotely, whereby St. Vincent's covers children's boarding school and transport fees and provides shelter/care & support for children during school breaks.
Community Outreach Services:
St. Vincent’s takes a whole family approach to its service provision; utilizing our nursery school as an entry point into households and then working with families to identify and address the basic needs of the entire household. This includes helping caregivers to start businesses, assisting families with children’s school fees once they leave the nursery school, providing food to HIV-affected families, helping families to secure shelter and covering medical fees of children and families. St. Vincent’s weekly meetings, which are open to the community, provide a forum for identifying families with additional support needs. St. Vincent’s draws upon its existing networks with other service providers and allocates additional resources to ensure those families are connected to additional services. Through this approach, St. Vincent's program creates a safety net for families in the community so that they are able to continue caring for the children.
Health & Nutrition Services: In 2011, St. Vincent’s supported at least 23 children and 5 parents/guardians to receive medical treatment and an additional 9 food insecure families with nutrition support through food rations. For children and parents in need of medical care, St. Vincent’s accompanied them to the clinic or hospital if needed, purchased medication directly, discussed medical regimes with clinics or pharmacies, and helped track adherence to medication regimes. Parents/guardians who were sick and bedridden received both medical and nutrition support, thus expediting their recovery period and enabling them to support their families independently, as before.
Education Support: St. Vincent’s maintains relationships/contact with the children and families it serves even after children leave the nursery school, following children to primary school and beyond to ensure that they continue to grow and flourish once they have left our care. In some cases, St. Vincent’s provides support for children to be able to attend primary and secondary schools, when families are unable to cover these costs. In 2011, St. Vincent’s covered the school fees and related costs for 10 nursery school alumni to attend primary and secondary school.