The next morning it was time to visit Kibera, a slum in the city of Nairobi hosting more than 800,000 residents. Sherry, Vision Africa’s Impact Assessment Officer, accompanied me on this visit. As soon as we stepped out of the car, the smell of fried dough and fresh fish filled the air. After a short walk through the already busy paths filled with people cooking breakfast for passers-by, laying out their market tables and children mindlessly playing by the railway line, we have reached a hidden-away building – one of the Kibera schools. There to greet us were Vincent, the founder of the centre, and a number of graduates, including two out of 13 current volunteers – Paul and Chris.
Vincent’s energy is relentless. “The quality of education that children receive in Kibera is not good for our children to compete in national exam”, Vincent said, “I needed to do something about it”. Kimmta was initially founded as a programme that intended to support children interested in sports. “We saw the children interested in sports but lacking in educational achievements, so we thought why not combine the two!” Vincent enthusiastically exclaimed. Now the programme runs a school a day school for pre-primary and primary levels, an afterschool programme for older children and an empowerment club for both boys and girls.
One of the biggest motivations for learning, according to Paul, is the feeding programme that the school provides to the children. “When you are empty here [points at his tummy], you can’t put anything in here [points at his head]” he says. “The parents are motivated to bring their children to the school because they get fed here and in most cases, it’s the only meal they receive that day” he nods.
The empowerment club was initially set up for girls as Vincent noticed that some of the girls were routinely missing school. “The little money families earn go towards the house and the food. When girls get their periods, because of the lack of money for sanitary pads, they are forced to miss school. We talk about it here, we don’t shy away from these things. It’s an important part of their development” Vincent proclaims. The empowerment club accommodates discussions about peer pressure, relationships and puberty as well builds confidence, self-esteem and communication skills.
I had a chance to talk to the students face-to-face about the school. Talking to Paul and Chris, two volunteers who currently teach at Kimmta, what struck me the most was their selflessness – they were not only satisfied with the fact that they managed to get an education when some of the peers they grew up with did not, but with the idea that through their involvement with the centre, they had a chance to “give back” and “be directly in touch with their community”. It was hugely inspiring to see young men with a dedication to better the lives of those in their own communities. Chris, who is now 20 years old, is about to start his university. He is working very hard to cover his tuition fees but there is still a chunk of the fee that needs to be covered. To read his story and support Chris’s education, please visit this page.
More about Vision Africa’s partnership with Kimmta programme, please visit the website: https://www.vision-africa.org/education/.
This trip was a great eye-opener for someone who has only managed Vision Africa’s work from a desk. The strain of the time spent working on administrative organisation’s work seemed to have completely dissolved after seeing the bright, full of excitement eyes and ear-to-ear smiles on the faces of young people who are equipped to take their first very confident and strong steps towards the lives as adults.
Vision Africa is always looking for dedicated people who would like to join our development board and use their skills and expertise for the benefit of our organisation. If you wish to discuss how you could help, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.