Hope Amidst Despair

November 23, 2020

We have been visiting the schools where we offer our mentorship classes and encouraging the Form Four students as they get ready to sit their exams next year in March.  They have a short time to cover what is left in the syllabus, and they need all the encouragement and support they can get to pass the exams. This has been a very trying time for the teachers; they have to ensure that the students observe the guidelines been put in place by the Ministry of Health regarding safety due to Covid 19, though some students are not taking the matter seriously. We, have, however spoken with them and tried to help them understand why they need to be careful especially now that we are experiencing a second wave of the disease.

Our mission to bring hope to the teenagers in the slums continues. We realize there is a great need to reach out to these teenagers. There is great talent in the slums, and all the teenagers need is a caring hand to steer them in the right direction. Last week we visited Soweto Academy Secondary School in Kibera. Soweto Academy found its beginnings in 1988, when Kenyan Pastor Chris Okumu was led to Kibera, the third largest slum in the world and the largest slum in Africa. In his words, “education is the most precious gift a nation can give to its children, and a church can give to its members.” The harsh reality of life in the slum is this: ‘education is the only means of escape from the cycle of poverty.’

The school sits in the slum, but once you arrive and go through the school gate, the atmosphere changes. Other than the high-rise slum dwellings that surround it, one would be forgiven for assuming they are in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. The school is extremely clean; the administration office is quiet and tidy. There are hand washing stations in every corner of the school. The order in the school is admirable, and the students maintain very high discipline. The teachers are caring and motivated; they are happy to be there for the girls.

This school speaks of hope- hope in the midst of the despair that surrounds the slum. The school has a huge garden in which they grow a lot of their vegetables. The school, which hosts both day and boarding students, performs very well in the national examinations. The school is well-funded, and they run a clinic that caters to the whole community. Many women in Kibera give birth in their houses attended to by traditional midwifes. When an emergency arises, many of these mothers lose their lives. In one section of the school compound, there is a maternity clinic which caters to pregnant women at a subsidized fee. There is also a clinic for those suffering from HIV /AIDS. The patients are able to access free medication donated by the government. These facilities are at the corner of the building and have a different access point from the primary school though it is run by the school management. There is also a separate building for the primary school.

It is so encouraging to see that when people make an effort to see something succeed,  it succeeds. Those that have been left in charge of these children are doing a very good job; the children look happy and healthy and are benefiting from the support that is given them.

We had a mentorship session with the girls; they all hope to finish school, get into college and later get jobs, so that they can help alleviate the poverty at home. They are privileged to be in such a well-run school, and they hope more girls can benefit from being admitted to it. We donated sanitary towels, sanitizers, and shared snacks with them and left with a promise to return to give talks on a regular basis

 

Form 4 students of A.I.C NGONG School 

Goodies and sanitary towels for Soweto School 

Clean and neat hall at the school

The girls listening to a talk on time management by Grace

Group photo, in the background is part of the slum dwellings

With teachers from the school

Part of the school administration block. Notice the community police post for added security.

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