Our new children's centre
Happy New Year 2011…
Once again, we here in MCF would like to thank you all for your generous contribution towards our program. We would like to update you about the development and differences your donation has brought into the lives of underprivileged children and their families here in Mathare since our last posting in November. A lot has happened since.
We wish to start with some sad news and bring to your attention the events in regard to our new children center that we moved into, in November of last year- 2010.
Life is precarious for the approximately two million people who live in Nairobi’s informal settlements and slums. They make up half of Kenyan capital's population. Yet they are crammed into only 5 per cent of the city’s residential area and live on just 1 per cent of all the land in the city. There is little access to clean water, toilets, health care, schools and other essential public services in these settlements and slums. People also live under the constant threat of water-borne diseases, violence and forced eviction from their homes and small businesses. A large area of the Mathare slum - including our new children center - is being claimed by the NYS - the National Youth Service; basically an agent of the state, even though we (and many other owners) have valid title, and Nairobi City Council (also an arm of government) issued permission for us to build. The obligations and respect for human rights as stipulated in our new constitution apply to all government establishments and organs including, including the NYS, and we will be going to court to ensure that these rights are respected.
We have more than 120 kids who depend on this project for education, food, medicine, uniforms, books among other needs....the children’s centre was finished 3 months ago at a cost of about $200,000 in donor funds, almost all from international donors. 400 children have benefited from the programme in the twelve years for which it has been working with people in the Mathare slums. We have started a campaign and ask for financial support while we pursue legally available means within our justice system – we believe we shall succeed. Please take a look at the photo attached to this update – this is the centre that they want to take away.
Other activities that have been going on through out the last 3 months;
In December we had a board member from Ireland visit us and joined us in several activities with the children. Clothes and other things collected over the year 2010 were presented to the children as Christmas gifts. During this period we also reviewed our policies and code of conduct on child protection and through the assistance of our board member. We are greatly indebted to her for her assistance to ensure that our policies meet both the international standards.
In November, 8 children sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams, a national exam, and all performed well and are able to join good secondary schools where they have enrolled and are settling down. 3 children sat for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education and wait for the exam results in two weeks. We have a lot of hope for them and expect that they will probably join our local universities. In the meantime they are undertaking basic computer courses to keep them abreast of what is going on technologically in the world.
In December, we recruited 20 children, both boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 years from different projects within Mathare slums. They have all now been registered with us. We have met their parents and former teachers of those who had gone to schools at one point. We have enrolled them to different public schools. They have settled well and we are paid up in regard to fees requirements, all thanks to you.
All kids except some few cases have reported to school on time this term. The few cases mentioned are kids who had discipline issues at school and needed to be accompanied by staff or their guardians and one who is still recuperating from sickness. He will need to transfer to a day school to be able to access the clinic.
While we pursue our court with the government over our center, we have embarked on a fundraising campaign to pay legal costs. We would really appreciate if you came to our assistance on this.
We are looking forward to a visit from Britt who works with Globalgiving during this month. We are always grateful to get a visit from Globalgiving which gives us a sense of we are not alone.
Many, many thanks once again to all of you, we do indeed find it very fortunate to have you with us on this important journey and this year, 2011.