When we wrote to you last, our new street children centre, which we had built over the past two years, was under threat from a government organisation that wanted to take the land on which the centre is built, and on which some 15,000 people live in the slum. This message is to update you on that issue. Titus will send a further update soon telling you of all the other good things that are going on there with the children.
The fight to preserve our centre has not been easy, and it is not over yet, but in the past few weeks, things seem to have taken a turn in our favour. We have been in court, we have spoken with many influential people, and we have joined others in demonstrating against the proposed seizure. So far at least, the seizure and demolition has not gone ahead.
We have heard that there is significant support for a settlement, including an alternative land offer for the group that wants to take our land. In what we interpreted as a good sign, the Mayor of Nairobi visited the area with the local counsellor, and instructed him to install lighting and build a road to the area. While the road may or may not end up being built, he was clearly expressing a view that this is a permanent settlement and not something that can be removed. So at least a good political signal. We have a further hearing date set for the last week of May, and we will see what progress can be made towards a settlement.
I was in Mathare recently, and was delighted to see the children enjoying full use of the centre, and optimistic as to what they can achieve in life with the help we are giving them. I was there with two friends who will be helping with fundraising for the project. It was a lot of fun to be there with them, and it was great for me to see the centre through their eyes, and to hear the children tell them how much life has improved since our little project started helping in the slum.
So, while the battle isn't over yet, we think we have a good chance, and we know that if we succeed in this there will be many more years of helping kids in Mathare, and seeing them build the skills and knowledge they need to make a decent lifes for themselves and their families.
Thank you very much helping us do this. If you are able to make a donation, Global Giving is providing $12,000 in bonuses to projects that attract recurring donations through May 20th, 2011. Every little helps, and this is a great way to make your money go further if you can. There is a link below to make that easy to do: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educating-street-children-in-the-mathare-slum/?show=recurring