Project #4168

Educate and Feed 85 At-Risk Kids in Kibera, Kenya

by St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organization
Mar 23, 2011

A Safe Space for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

On Monday, January 11, 2011, the St. Vincent’s Nursery School commenced a new school year. Twenty-three newly admitted children reported to school for the first time, together with returning students from the Pre-Primary 1 and 2 classes. There are a total of 87 children enrolled in the Nursery School in 2011.

The new students were accompanied by their parents and guardians who waited patiently for their turn to be served and cleared by the head teacher, Miriam Wawira. For some of the new children, they could not hide their anxiety of starting school and could be seen looking curiously at the older children, now comfortable with their surroundings and the school routine. While for some of the newly admitted children, tears rolled down their cheeks as they saw their parents leave them behind.

With the New Year, St. Vincent’s also welcomed two new members to its teaching staff. Alice Wanjiru joined St. Vincent’s as teacher of our Pre-Primary 2 class, while Millicent Kituku joined us as instructor of the Pre-Primary 1 class.  While we were sad to say goodbye to our two dedicated teachers Virginia and Esther, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome Alice and Millicent who come to us from local teacher training colleges and are extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity to join our team.

More than just provide education and daycare, the nursery school serves as a safety net for families in the community so that they are able to continue caring for the children. Parents and caregivers come to St. Vincent’s when in need of support for food, housing, medical costs, and other basic survival needs. This support is provided on a case-by-case basis and is made possible because of the close relationship that St. Vincent Board members and staff (teachers) proactively establish with the families they serve. In addition to direct support, St. Vincent’s provides referrals/linkages to other social services in cases where they are not able to assist and even liaises with other service providers on behalf of families, which is particularly important considering the marginalized population with whom the organization works.

By prioritizing the enrollment of orphans and other children living in the same households, St. Vincent places an important value on the orphaned child.  Their existence in the household serves as a gateway for the other children in the same household to enter into school. Thus, despite the additional burden that may be placed on the household in caring for an additional child, the prioritization of orphans and children living in the same household enables orphaned children to bring something positive to their households, thereby serving as a protective mechanism for that child. St. Vincent’s also subsidizes school fees depending on families’ ability to pay; enabling the most needy and vulnerable children to attend.


This year, St. Vincent’s admitted 3-year old Baraka to its Baby Class.  Baraka is cared for by a young couple from Kibera who recently adopted him. A few months ago, the couple spotted Baraka in the local market while they were setting up their shop; he had been abandoned and was the victim of abuse. As nightfall approached, Baraka was still in the market, alone and crying.  The couple made the decision to take Baraka, who would not speak, to the police station to try to find his family, but without any luck. Ultimately, the couple took Baraka to their tiny one room home --– a 10 foot by 5 foot room with no sanitation, running water or consistent electricity, where seven people live – and eventually adopted him as their fourth child.  Shortly following his adoption, St. Vincent’s admitted Baraka to the nursery school where he is receiving early education, daily meals, and a safe place to go during the day while his mother is at work.  At St Vincent’s, he’s slowly started to speak, to interact with the other children and to trust his teachers.  Baraka’s mother is hopeful that St Vincent’s is the start to a successful education for her son.



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Organization Information

St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organization

Location: P.O. BOX 56486-00200, Nairobi - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lucy Kayiwa
Nairobi, Kenya

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