The children we serve are exceptionally poor. Their homes of mud, rough timber and corrugated iron sheeting are usually without electricity, running water or sanitation. Rubbish piles up in the streets and sewerage runs down alleyways. Disease spreads easily in the vastly overcrowded neighbourhoods. Parents desperate to give their children a future look for schooling, but government places are inadequate and school fees out of reach for families who sometimes can't afford to eat.
The heart of the charity is the programme of individual sponsorship, and currently over 400 children benefit from this scheme. Sponsors pay school fees, which include meals and supplies. They can write to the children they sponsor and send small gifts. They receive regular letters, reports and photographs. Some sponsors develop a strong bond with the child they sponsor.
Development work is undertaken in partnership with the 3 schools in the slums. Green Pastures Primary School has benefitted from an additional building, secure walls, water storage tanks, a library and computer lab. At Tumaini Primary School the charity has provided computers, books and improved structures, and a purpose built school for 400 children is currently under construction.
4 years of secondary school follow 8 years of primary, but only for the lucky minority of Kenyans. We aim to give all our students this chance, and about 100 teenagers are currently supported in the boarding schools. The charity is also working with the local team to establish a secondary school with a difference. It already offers traditional schooling, but we are also planning vocational programmes for the less academic students. Current enrolment is 150, with the first students taking their national leaving exams in November 2010.
In an effort to build bridges and raise awareness we encourage school groups to form partnerships with the schools in Kenya, and so far 3 schools in the UK and Belgium participate in the scheme. Each year in July we take teams to work in the schools in Kenya: students aged 16 or over can apply to join a team.