Report from Dan Amolo and George Orimba about their recent visit in Kenya in Mathare slums .
PBF supports various projects in Kenya. This includes a Micro finance project in Kitui, Early Childhood Education in Kibera slums in Nairobi, a community youth sports in Mwingi, as well as a brick production training in Bondo.
In Mathare slums in Nairobi 1) PBF supports an informal school page vision. This is a school started by two young men George and Paul who have turned carton shacks, tin and mud structures into classrooms where Slum children who have no opportunity to be enrolled into a few public schools in the the area goes to.
PBF supports a feeding program and provision of sanitary towels for the teenage girls.
In March this year 2019, a PBF representative Dan Amolo who grew up in the area himself visited the school and confirmed some needs and problems required and faced by the school.
The school currently has a total of 270 children from Primary 1 to Primary 8.
Only 2 out of the 6 classrooms are permanent structures. The rest are mud,carton and tin roofed dark rooms where children sit on the earthen floor during lessons.
No toilets, no running water, no kitchen. The children have to walk about 150 meters away to use a public and paid toilet. If not they help themselves at the river bank nearby.
The school is run by local volunteers who are paid a small allowance only if some children pay the monthly fees of 5 USD (most parents cannot raise this amount)
The majority of children are from single mothers who work in the neighborhood as house helps or street vendors. They make an average of 3 USD in their daily work . They can hardly feed their families and therefore putting their children into ‘free’ public schools is not reliable!
The school provides the children with a half a cup of Uji (poridge) that serves as both Breakfast and Lunch. Most children come to this school for the porridge and they end up getting into classrooms which is a bonus!
To feed all children(almost 300), the school requires 450 USD a month.
The Porridge is cooked in the open. This is a risk for fire break out and a waste of wood fuel. A simple stove that conserves fuels and environment is a necessity.
At a cost of 1000 USD.
Despite the various challenges the school is a registered National Examination Center. Every year several children qualify to join public secondary schools but drop out due to lack of school fees.
WAYS TO SUPPORT
More classrooms are needed to be rented from neighboring shanty houses. There is no possibility to build classrooms for lack of space and building the school elsewhere is also a problem because the children cannot commute out of the slums.
5 volunteer teachers are needed to be paid at least 150 USD per month.
100 teenage girls need sanitary towels at a cost of 12 USD per person i.e. 1200 USD per month.
OTHER SUPPORT IDEAS
Relocating the school out of the slums.
This is the most ideal and realistic idea but it means that the school can only be moved with boarding facilities in place. In mathare there is no space to build a school with all the minimum facilities.
A piece of land has been identified out of the city but the cost (20,000 USD) is beyond the scope of the school as it is now.
Individual child sponsorship program at 10 USD per month is also a possibility. A background case of the child can be provided to any prospective sponsor or supporter.
1) Mathare is a series of slums in Nairobi, Kenya, where an estimated half a million people live.