On the second proper day of their visit to Kenya, Jimmy & Margot visited Oaklands school, met the students we sponsor at secondary school and learned that "Kipawa kicks problems away".
Another busy day, full-on out visiting our projects from 9am through to 7pm today.
Much of it was spent at Oaklands Primary School, which we’ve only been supporting since 2016. It was my first trip there and it was quite an experience. The school sits on a coffee plantation – the land was given to the Government by the owners of the plantation to build a school, which teaches children of the people who work there. The school is surrounded by acres and acres of well-tended coffee plants, punctuated occasionally by small groups of tiny houses in which these families live.
But the situation is far from idyllic. What is already hard work (paying about 300 shillings a day, about £2.20) has been made more difficult by ownership changes, resulting in mass lay-offs and re-employment on casual contracts. Workers are not guaranteed wages throughout the year, or even during the three coffee harvests a year. And when they don’t get work, or seek it elsewhere, they lose access to the houses they in. I was taken to meet one of these workers today, a single mother of five who has a child at the school. She works on the plantation with a nine-month old baby strapped to her back – scared of losing her job and her house.
All of this has had an impact on the children at the school in the past few years too, with absence rates being very high and the performance of the kids attending being below average. Thankfully, the work Kipawa is doing here is making a big difference.
I met with the headteacher Joseph this morning who couldn’t have given more praise for what our donors have achieved here. His clear view is that the food programme (we are doing breakfast porridge and lunch for all the kids at Oaklands) has delivered “a drastic change in performance: for example, there is no absenteeism any more. Two years ago, there were sometimes up to 100 absentees every day, but now it is more likely a handful. And that’s because there is food available”. He also thinks that the KCPE performance will improve this year – from an average of 215 to 250 – and that is because the children are better able to concentrate. Our social workers there – Mary and Moses – agree. They’ve noticed a change in behaviour since the feeding programmes started; kids are no longer lethargic and sleepy but energetic and motivated all day.
We are making improvements to the facilities too. I saw the final stages of the new girls toilet block today, with a solid watertight building in place with proper latrines and a very deep pit. This is not only safer and healthier (for disease prevention) but more dignified too. What was also interesting is that the Government had started building a new boys toilet block earlier this year: but it remains uncompleted on the site, with no reason given for its current state.
At the end of my time there at Oaklands, a young girl called Faith spoke on camera on what Kipawa has done for her and her friends. She can speak for herself:
Later in the afternoon, I had lunch with the 15 students Kipawa is sponsoring through a few secondary schools in the Ruiru area. These young people were identified as they left primary school as being able to benefit from secondary school but whose families would likely not support them financially to do so. The money our donors are sending to Kenya is doing two things for these vulnerable kids: ensuring that a lack of fees, uniforms and other equipment isn’t preventing them from attending school regularly; and it provides wrap-around support from case workers like Monicah who works on the secondary school programme. Monicah spends all of her time checking on the welfare and wider environment of these students, intervening where needed.
The kids range in age from 14 through 17, with the oldest five of them due to sit their KCSE exams (the Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education) throughout October and November. Like teenagers anywhere, they were shy at first but were soon chatting away: They were keen to find out about where I live in Scotland, about education in the UK, and the girls in particular were amazed to hear our Prime Minsiter and First Mininster are both female.
Most importantly, they were enthusiastic about their time at school, their interests and their ambitions for the future. And it was terrific to hear one of them really wants to be a doctor; another wants to study electrical engineering; a couple more think they they’d be good social workers. There was some discussion on the way home tonight about the next steps for some of these kids: certainly, we at Kipawa should be thinking about if and how we can continue to support some of these young people should they move into colleges and university.
I have few more trips planned for tomorrow, including going back to Mukuyu School to hand out some new books, footballs, toys and other things. These were purchased today using money donated in a recent appeal. You can still donate to the appeal here:
Our President, Kieran Hudson, and his brother, Paddy, visited Kenya last month to visit the various projects funded by Kipawa. Read all about the people they met and the work they saw there - all made possible by our generous donors.
"After a long day travelling on the Wednesday, Marnix (the Director of Macheo, our partner organisation in Kenya) collected Paddy and me from Nairobi and we arrived back at the volunteers' house at Macheo Children’s Home just before midnight.
We only had two full days with Macheo and lots of things we wanted to see and do, so we made an early start on Thursday morning and headed out to Mukuyu Primary School.
My last visit to Mukuyu was in 2011 when our project was in its first year and things have changed so much since then. The school looks much better thanks to the classroom refurbishments, the new toilet blocks and the pathways around the school grounds that have all been provided by Kipawa in the last few years. I had seen photos of these from previous Kipawa trustee visits but it was nice to be back and see everything for myself.
The children were excited, as always, to have Scottish visitors and were keen to say hello, exchange hand shakes or high-fives and have photos taken. They were also particularly keen to touch our hair, if they could reach!
It seemed we had brought some Scottish weather with us as it was damp and relatively cold, by Kenyan standards. The ground was very muddy so we did not witness a huge outdoor school assembly as is usually the case when we visit. Instead we dropped into each classroom individually to say hello and introduce ourselves. It was probably better this way as we were able to speak to the children more easily and see what they were learning in class. Many of the classes had prepared short poems or songs that they were eager to perform. It’s always great to see the kids singing and dancing so enthusiastically.
This year we had brought with us some handmade cards from Victoria Primary School in Edinburgh. The p4 children there had drawn pictures and written messages about their school and about Edinburgh too. It was really lovely to see how delighted the Mukuyu kids were to receive these and how interested they were to hear about life in Scotland. We had arranged in advance for the equivalent aged children at Mukuyu to do something similar for us and we were duly presented with a large bundle of drawings and messages to bring back with us and give to the kids at Victoria Primary. It was so simple to arrange but has been a really positive thing to do for the pupils at both schools. Now that the children have made a personal connection we can hopefully keep the link going between the schools and exchange photos and messages throughout the year.
In addition to these large items, we also purchased some building blocks and other toys for the nursery class. We took these into the classroom and helped the kids open boxes and start playing. While we concentrate the majority of our efforts on the essentials, such as food, education and health, it is great to be able to provide some toys and games for the children to enjoy. Thank you so much for making this happen by supporting us and donating to our fundraising effort in the build up to our trip.
One of the community projects funded by Kipawa away from the school is the Family Empowerment Programme. Families are given small amounts of seed capital as well as training to start their own small businesses. There is ongoing support and these businesses provide a more reliable source of income for the families involved, allowing them to pay rent, purchase food and pay school fees.
The second women we met was Joyce, who has three children at Mukuyu Primary School and just started in the Family Empowerment Programme one month ago. She said things were going well so far and told us that one added benefit of running a fruit and veg stall was that even if business was slow, any produce leftover at the end of the day could be used to feed her family.
We also visited the home of one vulnerable pupil from Mukuyu who Margaret (a Kipawa funded social worker) has been supporting in recent months. The mother was not home but we found a young boy called Christopher (around 4 years old) outside the house heating up some milk on a stove. The boy was looking after his baby sister, Joy, while their mother was working nearby. To see this tiny baby being cared for by such a young child really stopped us in our tracks. It is a sobering reminder of the harsh reality facing many families in Ruiru - parents being forced to leave young children at home so they can go to work to earn enough money to feed their family.
Throughout the day we had opportunities to speak with the head teacher, deputy head and class teachers who are very pleased with the support that Kipawa is providing and the difference it makes to their school. We spent most of our day with the social workers funded by Kipawa, Margaret and Moses. They are the people we rely upon day-to-day to oversee our projects and are the best people to speak to about what is working well and what other areas might need addressed.
After a full day at Mukuyu Primary School we returned to Macheo for a meeting with Julie, their head of Finance. She took us through the processes involved in running that side of the organisation and she was also able to show us receipts for all of the things that Kipawa has paid for over the past year. Our first full day in Kenya ended with a power-cut and an early night, which was probably not a bad idea as we had another busy day ahead!
Friday started with a meeting, before heading out to visit our other Primary school. We met with James who is the head of the Monitoring and Evaluation team. He explained the new processes in place for assessing the needs of the communities in which we operate. An extensive data collection exercise has taken place in Ruiru and analysis is ongoing to identify what areas should be prioritised in future. This is a new way of working for Macheo and for Kipawa and we will keep you informed of how this shapes our plans for 2017 and beyond.
James also showed us the new software that is used to log the activity of the social workers and other employees in the field. The system has reduced the amount of time spent on administration and allows better data reporting and analysis to take place.
After our meeting we visited Oaklands Primary School, arriving just in time to see the porridge feeding programme in action. This year we decided to expand our projects to a new school and this is the first time that a Kipawa trustee has visited Oaklands since the programme began.
The school is within the Ruiru district but a bit further out from the main town. It is situated in a rural area, in the middle of a coffee plantation. Alasdair visited the school on the last Kipawa trustee visit in 2015 and following that visit we decided to put in place a breakfast feeding programme initially. As this has gone well so far we are confident that a lunch programme will be added in due course and that in the long term we will see similar positive outcomes as those witnessed at Mukuyu.
As Oaklands is a bit more isolated and this was our first visit since the feeding programme started, having foreign visitors caused even more excitement here than we are used to at Mukuyu. There was a real buzz about the place.
As we had done at Mukuyu, we visited each classroom to introduce ourselves and spend some time with the children. Even when were running out of time, the deputy head insisted that we still visit every class as the children would have been disappointed if they had missed out! I think that we are usually so focused on what we want to see and what we want to learn from visiting the schools that it is easy to forget that the students and teachers are also keen to learn from us. We can bring a bit of the outside world into the classroom. Bringing the cards from Victoria Primary to Mukuyu yesterday was a great example of this but we definitely plan on being even better prepared on our next trustee visit!
We enjoyed lots more singing and other performances but one of the classes missed their chance to perform for some reason when we initially went round each classroom. As we were leaving they called us over and gave us a great rendition of a song along with some dancing. I don’t know whether they had practiced this for our visit or had just decided on the spur of the moment to do something, but it was not prompted by a teacher and their enthusiasm was genuine and wonderful.
While it was a very positive visit and the children were definitely in high spirits, the school is noticeably more run down than Mukuyu. The main area of need are the crumbling toilet facilities. We knew beforehand that the toilet block was not really fit for purpose but in recent weeks a section of the building had collapsed and it was no longer safe to use. So children were having to go to the toilet in the trees surrounding the school grounds, or some were choosing to walk a short distance to make use of staff toilets in the coffee plantation. As well as the obvious sanitation issues with the current situation and higher risk of disease and illness, there is a significant safety issue if children, particularly girls, are having to leave the school grounds to find a toilet. (Since we returned, the Kipawa trustees have discussed this issue and agreed to fund the construction of a new toilet block as soon as possible).
We were also able to see the new playground equipment at Oaklands (the same set as provided at Mukuyu) and we brought with us some toys, balloons and skipping ropes for the nursery class. Again, all of this was funded by Kipawa donors in our fundraising campaign before the trip so thank you for all of your contributions.
Following our time at the school we visited the homes of two Oaklands pupils. The issues for many of the families here are different to those at Mukuyu. Most Oaklands families have work on the coffee plantation, although it is poorly paid casual labour which is seasonal and therefore, irregular (the average daily wage is 280 Kenyan Shillings which is equal to just £2). Most families here also have houses within the plantation grounds, provided by their employers. These are generally more substantial than the makeshift homes found in some of the areas around Mukuyu. They are also less densely packed together and from the outside appear to be relatively nice. However, on the inside they are often in disrepair, they are small so very cramped for large families and they have no running water, poor sanitation etc. Families here are in a difficult situation as they earn so little but are somewhat trapped as their homes are linked to their employment. Expanding our feeding programme at Oaklands Primary School to include lunch will lift some of the pressure on these families who have very little money to buy food at the moment.
At one of the homes we visited we were confronted by a particularly bleak situation. One boy (around eight years old) was home alone, he had not attended school as he was not feeling well but his three brothers were all at Oaklands. He told us that they had not seen their parents for several weeks and were struggling to find enough food to get by. Some neighbours appeared to be looking out for them but they had nobody caring for them and the porridge provided by Kipawa at their school was the only guaranteed meal they had each day. Margaret, Kipawa’s social worker who had been working with the family, was making efforts to trace the parents and put in place some other temporary measures to assist the boys. A desperate situation but a reminder of how vital the school feeding programme is for those most in need of help.
In the afternoon we visited the secondary school attended by the majority of our 19 sponsored children. Today was a mid-term holiday but we had arranged to meet with 8 of the students, as well as one of their teachers who showed us around and gave us a bit more information about the school. It has grown significantly in the three years we have been involved there. As well as a new block of classrooms to accommodate their increasing school roll, they have also a new science block and school office.
We met with Marnix (the Director of Macheo) in the evening and he explained some more about Macheo’s plans for the coming year, including the new methods being used to identify and prioritise the different areas of needs in the communities we support. This will have an impact on Kipawa later this year and will shape our plans for 2017 and beyond.
Saturday morning was spent with some of the children who live at the Macheo Children's home. In particular we were delighted to see Idris who I first met eight years ago on my first trip to Kenya in 2008. Idris has learning difficulties and some physical disabilities and for years did not attend school. Thankfully Kipawa sponsorship means that he now attends a school that can meet his needs and he has a safe and nurturing home environment at Macheo.
On Saturday afternoon we travelled to Nairobi where we stayed overnight before a very early flight home on Sunday. Our visit was far too brief but thanks to our friends at Macheo we managed to pack everything in. They did a great job of organising everything for us and putting together our busy schedule.
I returned to Scotland happy with the progree we had seen but recognising the huge challenges that remain. We are determined to do more where we can, optimistic that we can continue to make a significant difference to those we seek to help and full of pride at what Kipawa supporters have achieved over the last five years.
A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.
Firstly, we want to say thank you for your support since we started Kipawa in 2010. You have helped us to:
Here’s what the kids want to tell you:
This year, our Christmas Appeal is to raise funds for a Kickstarter class and we are asking you to support us once again.
A Kickstarter class is designed to help reintegrate kids that have missed large parts of their schooling back into the school environment. These are often the children who are least well off in the community and they will benefit from a smaller class size, focussed intervention and dedicated social worker support. Once they are ready, the children will helped to rejoin their peer group in regular classes.
We need to raise £2,500 to Kickstart this idea. Please help these vulnerable children to Kickstart their education.
You can donate either by visiting our Virgin Money Giving page here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/KipawaChristmasKickstarter, or by transferring funds directly to Kipawa's bank account. Details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-29-23
Account Number: 3368750
Please mention “Christmas Kickstarter Appeal” in the reference.
Thank you, once again, for your support.
This September, the United Nations will commit to the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals outline a new and ambitious worldwide effort to reduce poverty and hunger, improve health, enable equality, protect the planet and much more. Real progress will be elusive unless all children receive a quality education. Read here about how education is essential to the success of every one of the 17 new sustainable development goals.
Kipawa is committed to improving the educational opportunities of the children in Ruiru, Kenya, by providing a feeding programme, improved sanitation and infrastructure in their school, counselling and other health initiatives, family empowerment programmes and secondary school sponsorship.
Click here to find out how you can help!
Kipawa sponsors 20 young people to attend secondary school. Moses was one of the first we sponsored and is now in his 3rd year of 4. It's good to hear he is sticking in at school and getting on well. Read more in the report below from our partners in Kenya. Click on the post to read more.
"Kenya: mothers and children scratching a living on Eldoret dump" - Guardian article explains the importance of feeding programmes for children living in poverty in Kenya
This article by Zoe Flood and Louis Quail in the Guardian newspaper today describes the desperate situations some people in Kenya find themselves and their families in. Kipawa works in a different part of Kenya, but this article explains how important feeding programmes in schools and other health and social work interventions are for getting children to attend school, allowing them to concentrate when they are there and helping their families to escape the extreme poverty they are living in.
Thanks to Kipawa's generous donors, we are able to provide breakfast and lunch to all the children in Mukuya school in Kenya. We also provide, among other help, deworming medication, sanitary towels, counselling services, family empowerment assistance and, for some, sponsorship to attend secondary school. We have also helped to improve the school environment by improving several classrooms and building new toilet blocks. With your help, we are really making a difference to the lives of the children we work with. Thank you.
Read the full Guardian article here:http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/01/kenya-mothers-children-eldoret-dump
Kipawa founder and trustee Kirsty Welsh describes her recent visit to Mukuya school to see first hand how our donor's money is helping the children of Riuru:
"After a pretty hectic run up to our trip, my brother and I were dropped off at Edinburgh Airport at 4.30am with 150kg of bags full of all the donations and supplies so generously provided by Kipawa donors. A friend had arranged for KLM to give us extra baggage allowance but we exceeded even that!
After a brief stop in Amsterdam and an 8 hour flight we arrived in Nairobi at 9pm to a remarkably organised Kenyatta airport considering the summer fire had impacted most of the airport. Maaike and Chenge from Macheo had kindly come to collect us and before long we were on our way to Thika. After a good night’s sleep we set off for Mukuya School accompanied by the Macheo team, Maaike and Faith, who told us that the school were very excited about our visit and likened it to Christmas – I’m not sure we were going to live up to this expectation! As we drove along the dirt road to the school I was surprisingly emotional returning to Mukuya, as the school we talk about so much came into view.
We met with Mr Peter the Headmaster in his office and discussed the good progress that’s been made, before beginning our visit by checking in on the nursery classroom block which we funded the refurbishment of earlier in the year. By any Kenyan standards this is now a bright, lively classroom full of kids sitting at their tables keen to learn and play. I had been shocked to see young kids trying to play and learn in rooms with piles of rubble and crumbling walls so it was great to see such a transformation. We also gave out some of the smaller shoes that were generously donated by folks from Broomfield House and Marshgate Primary schools in Surrey, Lilypad Retail in Biggar and others.
It was great to meet Margaret, the new social worker funded by Kipawa, and Karen, our counsellor, and talk to them first hand to understand what they do day-to-day. When they showed us into a small, dark, bare room, which had been a storeroom, furnished with 2 plastic chairs, they told us how grateful they were to have a space to work in. The thought of Karen counselling vulnerable kids in this space immediately showed us that whilst we had made progress this year there is lots still to do and we must make sure that in 2014 there is a safe, warm, light place for the kids to go for counselling and support. A lot of the classrooms aren’t in much better shape with crumbling floors, no windows and 4 or 5 kids sharing a 2 person desk while trying to study for end of year exams.
We briefly popped our heads into each classroom to say hi and were greeted warmly; again it was particularly nice to see both Class 4s in a much better environment than before, in their newly renovated classrooms.
In true Kenyan style, the school had planned a presentation for us and as we walked out towards the garden in the middle of the school the 600 kids started singing. No matter how many times I experience this I don’t think it will stop taking my breath away as we were led to sit at the front with the headmaster. After the children had sung some songs and made some lovely speeches about how grateful they were for Kipawa’s support we presented a few of them with gifts for the school – books, stationery and sports equipment. One pair of football boots went to a boy who had had a poor attendance record at school. Since involving him in the school football team he has turned into a great role model with perfect attendance and is encouraging his friends to do the same. This has also sparked an idea that we can use sports and other activities to incentivise the children to attend school and inspire them to do well. Following the presentation it was great to see all the kids line up and enjoy their lunch, after all that’s the foundation of what we do – the feeding programme is what brings the children to school and allows us and the school to really start helping them.
As we were leaving, Margaret introduced us to Morgan, a boy in the nursery class who she had tracked down after he had stopped attending school due to ill health. After his parents separated, Morgan's mother could not afford to take him for ongoing treatment. Thanks to Margaret’s support, he has now resumed treatment and is being referred to Kenyatta National Hospital for an operation in January. Whilst the family still faces a lot of problems, at least we have been able to ensure he accesses the treatment he needs and is restored to good health. In 2014 we hope to fund Margaret to go beyond the school grounds and help pupils and vulnerable families by supporting them in whatever form that takes – accessing medical treatment, supporting parents or referring them to appropriate organisations.
We left Mukuya happy to see so much progress and full of new ideas and made the short trip to Ruiru Township Secondary School where five of Mukuya’s former pupils are now studying thanks to Kipawa sponsorship. After meeting with them and their teachers it’s clear that they value their education as it’s not something that they thought they would be able to carry on with. As we were interrupting the school day, we stayed for just a short visit but long enough to hear what our sponsorship means to them. We would love to help more children like these fulfil their potential by sponsoring them through secondary school.
My trips to Kenya will always give me a great perspective on our problems in the UK and make me more committed to supporting the children we work with in as many ways as I can. It certainly has given me the drive to undertake the next phase of planning and fundraising knowing its having so much impact."
Just £20 a month could provide secondary school education for a child in poverty in Kenya - Can you help to change a life?
Kipawa currently funds feeding and health programmes at Mukuya Primary School in Ruiru. In Kenya, primary education teaching is free for children around 6-13 years old. Not all children in Kenya benefit from Secondary Education though.
There are some free government-funded schools, but these are scarce in rural communities and are often only for the very brightest (based on Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) test scores). This means those with potential have to find fees for so-called 'Harambee Schools' (partially-funded) or totally private schools. Inevitably, there are dozens of children like these even in Mukuya who will need additional financial support to progress beyond primary school. Kipawa already supports a small number of young people in secondary school but there are many more who could benefit.
Below are some profiles of children (provided by their teachers) likely to benefit from sponsorship allowing them to attend secondary school.
Just £20 a month would cover the fees and other costs to allow one of these children to move on to secondary school and potentially break the cycle of poverty that affects their lives and the lives of their families.
Please contact us if you can give £20 a month and would like to sponsor one of the young people described below. If you'd prefer to make a one-off or other regular donation, you can do that here.
Ibrahim is in class 8 and lives at Gitothua village in Ruiru. He lives with his both parents and he has 8 siblings. Ibrahim loves school and is very ambitious about going to secondary. But his parents have no permanent work: his father has alcohol issues and his mother’s main income is from fetching firewood and selling to buy food for the children. Ibrahim helps his mother in her work when he is not at school.
Esther lives with her mother in Gitothua village, the only child at home (her sister is grown up and living by herself). Her mother buys rejected bread and sells it for their living. They live in a single rental house. One of the first beneficiaries of the sanitary towel programme, she is attending school more regularly now and putting lots of effort into her studies and wants to join secondary school in 2014 but finances will be difficult.
Susan has faced a lot of challenges in life. She lives with her parents in Gitothua village and is currently not at school but working as a home help. She did her final examination in primary school last year, and although she scored marks that could have taken her to secondary, her parents had no money to pay her fees. Given a chance, she wants to to go back to school and continue learning with her classmates and friends.
Wilson is in class 8 at Mukuya School. He is a very jovial boy and most of the time you will meet him smiling, despite his home situation: his parents are casual laborers and they are not stable enough financially to send him to secondary school. His sister dropped out from secondary school a few years ago in Form 2 and his parents never got the fees together to take her back to school. He remains optimistic.
Martin is also in class 8, and last term scored over 200 marks. He wants to go to secondary school next year but is worried that his parents are not for the idea as they claim to have no regular income. His father is a mason but gets works only rarely and his mother has no any source of income too. Martin is a football player and he has a team he joins in the village when he is not in school. He appreciates the feeding programme in the school, as he is very comfortable in school than home where they go without lunch.
Patrick attends Mukuyu Primary School, and is working very hard: he too is determined that he will score marks that will enable him to join secondary school next year. Initially, he was somehow depressed as there was a very big fight when his parents were separating. His mother managed to go with the children and they are living in a different home in a rental single house. Since then, he has been going through counseling sessions at school, and is happy that the programme has also provided feeding in school and as their mother cannot afford much at home. Together with his only sister they have made school a second home.
Charles is a very hard working boy in school. He lives in a slum in a village called Matopeni with his parents who are very poor and 12 siblings. His mother collects scrap metal and empty bottles of which she sell to get food for a day without minding for tomorrow; the father is has no job. Charles is 17 year old, and this does not match with the class he should be in - he should be finishing secondary school at this age. His education has been affected by many challenges from home. He has taken a very strong decision to learn despite of his age, and sees it as a way out.
Samuel is in class 8, and has been working hard to score marks to join secondary school next year. He lives with his parents in a village called Hilton where his mother is a casual labourer in a coffee plantation: his father has no job. They live in a single rental house where the cash they get from the scarce job is used to pay the rent and get food. Samuel is a big boy and when he is not at school, he also works as a labourer and earns some money for the family. He likes dancing, acting and also playing football.
Naomi is working very hard as the end of the year examination is nearing and she would to get the marks that will enable her to join secondary school next year. Naomi is a partial orphan. She lives with her father who was a watchman but whose role was terminated abruptly. The father as the only breadwinner does what he can to make sure the family of 6 siblings gets food and pays for the single rental house they are living in. All these duties towards one person makes Naomi feel that there won’t be a chance for her to join secondary school. She is very happy to have joined Mukuyu primary school as this is where she gets a lot of comfort in food, sanitary towels and mostly counselling which has helped her move this far as regarding the death of her mother. She is the one taking care of her younger siblings in washing them, and cooking for them, she is like their mother.
Regina lives in Hilton village with her mother and four siblings. Only two of the siblings are provided for by a father, so Regina and the rest are left out. This makes the feeding programme very important for her, as well as the sanitary towels and counseling which has brought her this far. She is working very hard in school as she would very much wish to continue with her studies to see if she would a have a bright future.
Brian lives with his uncle in a village called Gitothua with his uncle, after the death of his mother in March. According to Brian, he is supposed to be in secondary school but he has been on and off school due to problems at home, but he is still sure that he will make it to secondary school for him to have a bright future, and to take responsibility for his family in future. He is not sure that the uncle is willingly going to take him to secondary school as he has been telling him that he has a lot with his own family.
Teresia is a very humble girl in Class 8, and lives with her parents in a village called Wataalam. She works hard in school and she is a good performer. Her parents are in a very bad position financially and so this girl and her siblings have largely got their food at school. Her older sister was in secondary school has already dropped due to lack of fees, but Teresia has not lost hope of getting there at some point. She likes playing volley during her free time and netball too.
Catherine is in class 8, and lives with her mother in a village called Gitothua. Her mother goes to coffee estates to pick coffee and what she gets covers food and rent. She has two siblings who are in school too and they all get to benefit from the programmes provided by Kipawa like feeding sanitary towels. She is putting a lot of effort into her academic work as she would like very much to join secondary school next year.
She is a pupil in Mukuyu primary school in class 8. She had had some challenges in life: at home, her father was convicted of theft and her mother doesn't work. Virginia is the first born in the family and is expected to help out with the family. From the counselling sessions, she now has the reason to put more effort in her studies, and hopes that a way out will be found on how she will continue with her secondary studies.
Stella lives in a village called Wataalam with her mother who is depressed according to the family members (her parents are separated and there was also a fire tragedy that burnt everything in the house). These issues made Stella drop out of school in form two and take care of the family up to now, but after assessing the situation, she feels that she can go back to school and continue learning if a well wisher could pay for her fees.
Mercy has had a few troubles in life. Her home situation is not stable financially: the man married to her mother does not recognise the three children the mother had before they married and only takes care of the two children they have together, a boy and a girl who are in nursery school. This led to Mercy not joining secondary school as the mother could not raise the fee - she has been a house girl for the last year and she has found it not rewarding. She is looking for a well wisher who would take her back to school, where she promises to work very hard.
Stephen lives with his older brother – they were orphaned and initially under the care of an elderly grandmother. His brother is married and they have one child but they live amicably as a family. During a visit in August 2013, Stephen was bed-bound due to a complication from a circumcision ritual. All the costs of food and medicine were borne by his brother who is a casual labourer. Stephen is a good performer at school and is working hard to improve the grades that would make a secondary education possible. He would still need sponsorship to make that happen.
Following our visit in November 2012 we have been looking at the future for Kipawa in Kenya as it continues to grow and flourish. The money you are giving is really making a difference to the children in Mukuya. The school population has increased by almost 50% and more children in this area are getting an education than previously.
Until now, Kipawa has focussed on the main aim of ensuring that children in Ruiru are fed and attending school.
As well as continuing to provide lunches and porridge in Mukuya, and building on the health and counselling programmes in place, we will help to extend the nursery provision.
Nursery education is not currently provided by the Kenyan government and relies on financial contributions from parents. Kipawa will part-fund the provision of nursery teachers in Kipawa.
Following the successful renovation of the boys' toilet block at Mukuya, we are finalising the plans to building new facilities for the girls.
In the coming months we will be refurbishing two further classrooms in Mukuya to the same standard as the new nursery classroom which was completed last year.
Sponsoring Secondary Education
In Kenya, secondary education is not provided by the government. Kipawa will fund a number of scholarships to enable needy children to complete their secondary education in day schools or boarding schools as appropriate. The funding will allow children whose families could not afford to send them to secondary school to gain qualifications that would have been out of their reach.
The scholarships will include funding for the full four years of secondary school plus the necessary social work and other support to ensure that the young people can make the most of their education.
The photo (above) shows a young man, Nicholas Njeru, who has already benefitted from Kipawa's sponsorship.