Kibera ecd girls can pose for the camera
The second term of the school calendar began May. The term is seen as the longest yet has numerous extra-curricular activities like music festivals, ball games & Athletics competitions and educational trips. For many of the children sponsored through Vision Africa education programme, this term is very significant as we encourage them to participate in school activities so that they nurture their talents, get opportunity to travel out of their comfort zone and get exposure to a different world. Students’ participation in the school activities has had positive impact in their lives as it has enable them to build confidence, socialize, learn and appreciate different ethnic communities, culture and traditions. The educational trips also give pupils the opportunity to see the beauty of our country; the wild animals found in our National Parks and learn about the pre-historic sites which more often find its way as questions being asked during exams. We also encourage teachers in the early childhood education centres that we support to take the learning out of class and allow the little children to interact, compete in games, to explore and learn new things in a different environment. This was realized by two ecd centres in the western part of the country as they organized football competition between the two schools Nyamwanga ecd and Busire ecd. The pupils were so excited to have met and compete with each other in their favourite game hence they are now nagging their teachers to organize more of such outings. Unlike the other 3 ecd centres under Vision Africa, the Kibera Mpira Mtaani ecd pupils always get the opportunity to go out of their learning environment and interact with pupils from prestigious schools within the city as they compete in balls games and learn different art work. Although our pupils come from the Kibera slums, they are not intimidated by the fact that people see them as children from poor families but instead they have been trained to put their best foot forward with confidence and play to win in all games. Teacher Irene from Kibera ecd once said, “Our ecd centre is envied by so many schools and parents within the Kibera slums because our pupils are not only clean, neat and well fed but we also take them out for school trips and games. It is unfortunate that we are not able to enrol or accommodate a huge number of children each year who wish to join us due to scarcity of space to put up a bigger ecd centre.” The same ecd centre is also used by the after school programme as pupils from within the slums come to study, finish their homework and tuition.
Kibera Mpira Mtaani and Village of Hope after school programme has a total of 475 pupils who attend the evening classes each day. The programme continues to impact the lives of many students both in Kibera and Village of Hope as there is significant improvement in their school performance which has led to increase number of pupils who have joined the evening classes. One such student who has benefited from the afterschool programme is Sonia. Sonia is the lastborn in a family of 3 siblings who are all in high school. They live in the slums of Ngando with their mother who is the soul breadwinner in the family. The mother works as a cleaner in a nearby clinic to fend for her children and with the little income she has managed to put her two children in high school. However when Sonia completed her primary education, her mother was worried for her daughter as she did not have money to enable her join in high school like her brothers. After the Kenya certificate of primary education was released, Sonia had emerged the top in her class of 148 students with a mean grade of A-. She attributed the good results to afterschool programme and the help of volunteer teachers who coached her well before she sat for her K.C.P.E. Everyone including her teachers were overjoyed by her exemplary performance and it was a matter of time before she got a letter to join one of the best National schools in Kenya. Unfortunately, her dreams were shattered as her mother could not raise enough money to see her join the school thus missed the golden opportunity. Sonia was devastated by the fact that her mother tried to reach out to relatives and well-wishers in support of her daughter’s fees to high school but all in vain. The girl did not give up easily on her quest to advance her studies although she lost the opportunity to join National school, she went back to Elvis the project leader of the afterschool programme and explained her situation. The project leader took to social media and shared Sonia’s story and made an appeal to the public to support her in getting admission to join a local secondary school. People came out to give the little they had and within no time, Sonia was able to join a boarding school although it took a month after the initial high school admission. The money raised through Village of Hope has seen her go back to school this second term but the project needs to raise more funds to ensure that Sonia does not drop out school due to lack of fees thus secure her future. Sonia’s mother is grateful for the support that our partner project gave to her daughter although they still have few challenges, her mother had this to say “I had lost hope in seeing my girl admitted to high school but through Elvis and other well-wishers, my Sonia is now in school. I would like to thank Village of Hope family for all their support in giving my daughter an opportunity to continue with her studies so she can have a better future.” During the April holiday, Sonia who is an active member of the girls’ empowerment club was chosen to be the Village of Hope Children’s Ambassador. She will represent the children within the project in all matters pertaining to children’s rights. I believe that Sonia has a brighter future ahead as she promised to work hard in her secondary education and become the voice of the children in her community.
Other news is that the Kibera Afterschool programme held another football tournament during the April holiday so as to keep the children/youth actively engaged through sports and community services. The children and young people who participated were also mentored on how to navigate their way through adolescence and beyond which is seen as a major challenge to many young people growing up in informal settlement. The parents are happy to release their children to attend such activities during the holiday because it has improved their children’s behaviour and attitudes which in turn have enable them to improve in school grades, family relationships and bring positive energy among peers. The youth were also challenged to become peace ambassadors within the community during these as the country is headed for general elections in August.
I would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support for our education program since through your giving, many of our children in informal settlement are able to access reading and writing materials as well as get remedial classes in the evening which has enabled them perform well in school hence advance in their studies. We believe that through quality education, children and young people will have the opportunity to succeed and have better life in future!
Reading time at Village of Hope
The Kibera Team