One of the day-to-day ways in which we enhance children’s learning is to provide them all with a hot nutritious meal during the school day. This enables children to stay in good health and helps them to learn to the best of their abilities. It also encourages regular attendance, maximising their learning opportunities. Children in Kibera often miss school because they need to scavenge for food or feel too hungry to concentrate. By providing a hot meal for children attending school, we are also relieving pressure on food at home so others in the family benefit too.
Because our feeding programme costs us £1,250 per month during term time, this is a major focus of our fundraising. We are very grateful to the many people who commit to regular monthly giving to support our food programme, but we always need more!
As and when funds are available, we like to contribute to the schools in other ways.
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Sometimes improvements are needed to the buildings and their surrounds, in order to maintain a safe environment for the children to learn. We have raised funds to add extra windows, repair damaged or rotting woodwork and even to help rebuild one school after a fire. Our friends on the ground visit regularly and let us know when our help is needed to keep the children safe. We have also been able to help provide some basic outdoor play equipment in one of the larger schools, so that the children can have some relaxation time in the school day too. We are currently raising funds to provide building materials to rebuild part of Cana school, which had to be demolished recently.
We have also raised funds to buy resources, materials and equipment to help the schools. Whenever the Government decides to change the curriculum, new learning resources are needed for each of the schools.
Sometimes the schools need additional help to buy the necessary resources for the children to continue their learning, such as paper and pencils, and we aim to help whenever we can. Sometimes the equipment being used is old and inefficient. We were recently helped by the Rotary club to fund a new, energy saving stove in each of the schools.
We provided a health professional to visit each school and identify any children with health problems. The children were in amazingly good health considering their living conditions, and we were able to fund a medical visit for a child with a skin disorder.
Like all teachers, staff in the schools need continuing professional training to develop their skills and enhance their teaching. This is an area of work that we strive to support because we believe the impact on student outcomes will be positive and increase their learning.
We have supported trainers to provide development sessions in Kibera and aim to do so again. We have also supported individual teachers to go to other educational providers by contributing to fees and transport costs.
A number of children from these four informal schools have been able to go on to high school and even tertiary education. Although we can no longer support them with school fees, we provide them with mentoring support and try to respond to requests for additional expenses, which are often unexpected. There are a group of people based in Kenya, hoping to build a secondary school specifically for children from Kibera. We hope to be able to support their work too if we can raise sufficient funds.