Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

1st October 2011

Initial report by Callum Henry

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I’ve been here for a month now and I feel that I’m now ready to give you a full update of the project. I now understand the aims much better and I also now fully understand why this project is needed within this community of Kilifi.

To begin with, this centre is a remedial education and support centre. There have been many misunderstandings of the word ‘remedial’. The children who attend our centre are those who live below the poverty line, most of whom have lost either one or both parents and have never had the opportunity to attend school and are never likely to. These children are chosen based on the fact they have no opportunity to attend school whatsoever. Although the Kenyan government has free schooling across the country, this is just not the case. The parents of these children wanting to send their kids off to school are expected to pay for their childs desk and chair, entrance exams, a levy towards the upkeep of the school as well as all textbooks and jotters. They also have to pay for their childs uniform, which is just not possible. The money that these families manage to scrape together with either odd jobs here and there, agriculture or bead making, all of this goes towards food for the family. Without education and schooling, these children are more than likely to end up on the street, or married off below the age of consent or sent to work for the family. From street life there is only a 1% success rate of rehabilitation. We aim to target these children before they hit the streets. It is the only way to tackle this problem.

The 25 children who attend our centre age from 4 to 14. They speak their tribal language, Griama as well as Swahili. So you can imagine the difficulty trying to teach these children English. All Kenyan schools are conducted in English. They are however progressing very well. What this project aims to do is give these older children their years back, the years they have missed had they had the chance to have attended school. For the younger ones the aim is to get them up to speed with the rest of their age group who are already at school. A major problem with keeping children motivated to stay in school lies within the school system itself. A child sits an exam after every year at primary school and will only progress to the next year upon passing this exam. So, this actually allows for children as old as 14 years old to still be in baby class, a class of 3 year olds. As Im sure you will imagine, what is the motivation for these children? It is so humiliating for them. As a result, many pupils drop out. It is the intention of the centre, for the older children who dont have that much hope of progressing through primary school, to gear them towards going to college. At college they will learn a certain trade, such as tailoring or something similar. They will hopefully not feel embarrassed and will keep their motivation and enthusiasm. Activities for them will have more emphasis placed on life skills, pointing them in the right direction for a more successful life. Many charities only fund children through their primary years, what this centre aims to do is take them to adulthood and to become self-sufficient. When we feel certain children are ready they will then be integrated into Kilimo primary school. Two days ago, 5 of our children sat their entrance exams; everything paid for by the sponsorship program, which to be honest has not managed to get its feet off the ground. We dont have enough sponsors as of yet. Results will come in on the 11th of November. The complete aim is to get as many of these kids as possible off to school. We will never lose them though. Every morning they will come to the centre, get washed and put on their clean uniform. They will also return for their lunch and after school for extra tuition and help with their homework. Please find attached a picture of these children all ready for their exam. Hopefully now youll have an idea of how the centre works and understand the aims a little better.

The centre does not just provide good education. A major part of the project is the feeding program. The centre feeds the children two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. This goes a long way to help the children who, before the feeding program began, were lucky to have had just one meal every two days. They are now much healthier. It is not only the feeding program though which has gone a long way in improving the health of these children. Many of the children come with problems such as ringworm and bacterial infections. These are dealt with by the centre. One of the most pressing problems these children face to their health are jiggers. These are small, sand mites which burrow into the childrens feet, eating their flesh. The longer they stay in their feet, the bigger they get. They must be removed otherwise their feet begin to rot. At least 4 of the children would have not been able to walk, one of whom would have lost a toe, had it not been for the care and attention they now receive at the centre. The jiggers are removed here at the centre and they all receive medical attention every day. The centre works in partnership with the parents of these children who are both illiterate and innumerate to educate them to help with the all-round care of the children.

Community regeneration is another major focus for the centre. Its direct focus is to empower the women of the area, some of whom are grandmothers and mothers of the children attending the centre. These women are both illiterate and innumerate, but are eager to learn. This project is a womens self-help initiative aimed at creating a Griama cultural centre managed and run by the women themselves. The income generated will allow them to become self-sufficient. One of the agreed terms of participation will be they use earnings to take their children to school, no longer relying on charity. It is envisaged that through the centres support within 2 years these women will be independent. I have great admiration for these women. I always see them working extremely hard, doing all the washing, tending to children and all of the cooking. It is also their job to build mud huts and do all related chores. They truly are amazing people. On top of the womens group, we have set up two community football teams; men and womens teams, who train together. Its such a great laugh. What it does is gives these women a break from their tiring lives and gives them something to look forward to. It also encourages exercise and a sense of community. Ill attach a couple pictures of the womens group and also from the community football.

I hope youll still find time to consider the centres application and I apologise again for the misunderstanding. I can assure you of a monthly update, giving my progress and that of the centre also. My mother sends a monthly update to the committee back home as well so if you would like this report then please do not hesitate to ask.



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