Nairobi / Kibera: Little Angels
Little Angels Founder: EmmahNjanjuMwangi (My mummy) was theformerPrincipal at St. Michael Nursery School -Kibera-Laini Saba; She had headed the school for over 20years and had experience on the situation and needs of the Kibera children.
When she retired from her position; she started volunteering in different children centers in the slums of Kiberato improve on their education and running of the informal institutions, at the same time she started bakery classes using the traditional ovens, where women would come and learn how to bake and care for their families in terms of hygiene, nutrition and care giving.
In these classes the women started selling some of the baked products by going around homes displaying their products; during these rounds Ms. Emma met many parents who were formally her students in their early years. She realized most were in families and were stuck in Kibera and now had their own children.
Besides this encounter most of the parents would leave their children in her house for a day care; they had trusted her and she was doing it for free. From these encounters she saw the need to start a day care cum nursery school to fill the gap that was existed within her neighborhood.
Little Angels was started at a church near her home; The church rented out the church premise during week days. The first months she had barely 10 children, later the number continued to increase. The church committee and stakeholders assumed she was making a lot of money from the business and they took up the business sending her away and they started their own.
When she went back home and continued to stay without her business, she continued to get the children at her home; this is when we her children decided to set up a nursery school at her home. This was achieved due to the great support we received from Bachmann’s foundation.
Today the number has reached 180 children.
Little Angels was registered as a Children Centre in 2013, since it couldn’t reach the government standards of an academic institution; which require for adequate space, trained teachers and so on;
At the centre the parents contribute to the running of the centre; although almost 50% are unable to pay the other 50% compliments for the needy situations.
Other great contributors include The Peter Bachmann’s foundation; Peter’s foundation has for many years since 2007 contributed to the improved standards at the centre; It was the funding from Peter Bachmann Foundation that the centre has been feeding its children with food and porridge during their time at the centre. We have also utilized Peter’s funds to take the children for outings; that are either fun or educative in order to give them exposure of what is outside their environment. Other contributions from well wishers have been of help but without Peter’s Bachmann funding the centre wouldn’t have reached to these heights;
We have seen the centre growing and being able to hold various activities that assist the children. But we have also had our setbacks; that included;
1. The post election Violence in 2008
2. The recent fires.
These are the major setbacks; we have lost the lives of the children through fire incidences; since the fires engulf the neighborhood due to congestion; electricity faults and carelessness due to drunkenness.
The other problem is that the space has become smaller since we have a huge number of children; it is very difficult to say no to parents, they want to be at the centre, they have their genuine reasons, although their reasons vary from each other, they need us to take care of their children.
The driving force for the continued dedication is that as a family we want to give back to the society where we came from. We know and understand very well that the formation stages of every child are very important and with good formation the cycle of formation will be reduced.
The recent fire consumed everything at the centre; the fire had started from a nearby structure late in the night.
We got help from family and friends who really gave their contributions directly in bounty. The parents of the children attending the centre also helped in the manual jobs and made sure that the centre was rebuilt before the start of May.
We would not forget the neighbors of the centre who had tried their best to stop the fire from spreading towards the centre by pouring water to stop the fire and even calling the fire brigade for assistance.
Currently everything is running up well but we are aware of the dangers that surround us; the best thing we got working this time was resilience; the parents, workers and all well wishers did not give up on rebuilding the centre.
We are also planning to have a trip day and a family day that we shall involve all parents and children and we will allow them to share their dreams, their wishes and visions.
Our future plan is to have a dedicated Administrator who can concentrate on Administrative matters while the teachers, other support staff and the principal concentrate on the programs running at the centre.