In 2016 during Tumaini Afrika’s trip to Kenya we toured the Mathare slum, the second largest slum in Nairobi (about 750,000 people) which was an eye opening view into the life of people who are extremely poor. In one area of this Mathare slum, a husband and wife team had started the Mathare Community Outreach where youth in the area attend school and get fed each day. Parents send their children to school because they are fed daily and as a by- product of being fed, these youth are receiving an education . Because T.A. members were so dramatically affected by what they viewed in the Mathare slum we started funding projects to assist this school. In 2016 and 2017, three kitchens have been rebuilt by funds from T.A. at which over one thousand youth are fed each day. In the spring of 2019 we built two new classrooms in Mathare with the generous partnership of JJ Hilsinger, which has allowed more children to attend school.
In 2018, during the T.A. member’s trip to Kenya, they visited the Kariobangi area approximately 1 km from the Mathare slum. Here they found the Kariobangi orphanage which was operated by the social worker from the M.C.O. and his wife, and consisted of a boy’s and a girl’s dormitory and a school for these orphans. Once again the T.A. members were so impacted by what they saw that they bought new mattresses for the children in the orphanage along with bedding and blankets as the children complained of being cold at night. The broken windows were repaired and curtains bought to make the children feel valued and cared for. In the boy’s dormitory the bathroom was repaired and the response from Rodgers, the operator of the orphanage, was “the children feel safe and cared for now”.
Earlier this month T.A. received an email from Rodgers explaining that the girl’s dormitory had burned down due to faulty wiring, and although all the girls were physically uninjured, they were traumatized by the loss of everything including their beds, bedding, school uniforms, school books, soap, toothbrushes etc. T.A. was asked for support. The request included funding for 12 bunk beds, and writing books for school. The orphanage requires a complete rebuild so that the children can be moved back to their home from their temporary lodging in a nearby church. The T.A. members met to discuss how we could assist this orphanage with our limited funds and it was agreed that we would send $2500, which would either pay for the purchase of the 12 bunk beds and school supplies or the funds could be used towards the rebuild of the girl’s dormitory, which would allow the children to relocate back to their home despite having no beds or personal supplies.
Meanwhile the original project of T.A. in 2014 had been to support Compass School, a school for mostly orphans and refugees, on the outskirts of Nairobi. It costs to go to school in Kenya and these vulnerable students do not have the funds to pay for uniforms and school books and supplies. Compass was formed by an NGO to accommodate these children and get them off of the streets. Compass has had its ups and downs over the years and T.A. has been helping with what they can. Currently we continue to fund a lunch program and teacher Flora’s salary. Flora was hired by T.A. to teach sewing to the students as a life skill. Flora has become a respected leader and social worker at Compass School. Because of the current lack of a strong Board and the uncertainty of this school, T.A. has not funded any large projects at this school of 120 students. The government is planning to take back the land that Compass School is on and continue to build a health centre there. They have not offered Compass any other land.
This past month, T.A. member, Heather Douglas, was visiting her sister in Nairobi and went to check on how things were going at Compass. Heather and a British doctor friend organized a medical clinic for checkups for these children and took care of many health concerns. T.A. funded this worthwhile endeavor.While Heather was out visiting with Flora, they ran into a man named David Wakogy, who Flora knew. David, it turns out, was the originator of Compass! After meeting with Flora and Heather and hearing about the plight of the school, he has once again become interested in restoring Compass to its former function. David advises that he has the deed to land nearby which is owned by Compass School and is recommending that with T.A. support we could build classrooms on this site and relocate the Compass students to this permanent location. With this relocation, the future of this school would then be secured and funds could be provided to ensure these youth continue to be educated. These Compass students are the poorest of the poor with in many cases no parents to provide for their needs. David will take care of getting a new Board set up. T.A. members, Diane, Holly and Heather have had two meetings on the phone with David and are hopeful for the future of Compass.
So the dilemma for Tumaini Afrika presently is two fold, as we try to provide for the crisis situation at the Kariobangi orphanage to return these children to some semblance of normalcy, and then there is the need to build a structure(s) so that Compass school children can be permanently relocated to a secure school. Tumaini Afrika is also aware that timing of this relocation is critical while David is interested and available for support. The estimated cost for the building of this Compass school could be as high as $6,000. We have not been given a cost for the rebuild of the Kariobangi orphanage.
T.A. will be hosting a second indoor garage sale on Oct 5, 2019 at St. Andrew’s Church auditorium as well as a Taste of Kenya dinner in January at the Water Tower Inn, as our large fundraisers. We also have our booth at The Ole Warehouse and will be setting up a table in November at the Station Mall Pre-Christmas Sale and at the Mill Market in December. The next T.A. trip to Kenya is in Feb. 2020 where we revisit the projects that we have sponsored. We want people to know that our contacts for our projects have been reliable and honest. Receipts are submitted to T.A. upon the completion of funded projects as well as photos of the completed projects. We feel confident that every dollar is reaching the people in need in Kenya. We thank you for your support in the past and look forward to continued interest and support for our well thought out projects in the future.
Respectfully submitted Diane Hilderley treasurer T.A.