We have over 20 students who are in various high schools in Kenya from our center. I founded the school in 2008 after the post election violence in Kenya. With the help of my spouse who later became my wife, we realized there were many kids who dropped out of school because either their parents died from the fracas or disappeared leaving them orphaned.
We started from a single room in the heart of Kibera and now we are in a full school structure that holds over 90 students between the ages of 4 – 14 at the Shine Kibera Educational Center (SKEC) . This has been made possible with the help of our friends and well wishers. Our goal of keeping kids in school has been realized with the completion of college by some students and others who are awaiting to go to university. Growing up, teaching was never in my mind. I never thought that one day I will stand in front of a class of students and teach. This is because I grew up in a broken family where the whole village was making fun of us.
Many kids from Kibera have benefited through the education that we offer through SKEC as we’ve made great strides. They come from very poor families where most their parents earn $1.50 – $2 a day. We are giving them education which in most African countries is considered a basic need. A high number of African children are only able to realize their dreams through education. There are many challenges on our path. Food is our main challenge and payment of teachers salary is another great challenge. We mostly work with the volunteer teachers; this is hard since they are not consistent in offering their services to the kids. Once in a while we give them shopping vouchers and share with them food that has been donated.
SKEC also has a journalism club. The reason why we started the club is to raise the kids self esteem, improve their confidence and also nurture talent. We wanted to offer real journalism skills to these students. One of our first students is now employed and working for local TV station KTN. We have a vibrant journalism club that has learnt how to source news stories from within Kibera. This includes writing, editing and package for our online platforms and for a local TV station. Our stories can be seen on YouTube under Shine Kibera TV. We have also partnered with TV47, a local TV station, to provide a 26 minute program each Saturday. In return, they pay school and uniform fees to all the students taking part in the production. So far we have given them 28 shows! The kids have also improved on their communication skills in and outside of the classroom.
The distance we have moved from 2009 till now is not something that I take for granted. Looking at the support that I received from friends and family, I can say I have learnt the importance of working as a team. There are benefits of keeping friends and recording all the events as they unfold. We moved out of the information settle because the area was not conducive for learning. There, people go about their businesses which at times make it very chaotic for our students to learn. Our primary goal is to offer our students education in the best environment. But now we have another challenge of paying rent for the premise that houses our school. The environment and location is very good: clean toilets and drinking water, a meal for lunch, concrete walls separate the classrooms and a gate for security. It is an ideal place for learning.
With all these challenges, we are trying our best in solving the problems. Our biggest goal is to build a center where primary school kids and high schoolers can be accommodated. We have received donated land in Kisii and laid down some materials for the construction. We are asking friends and well wishers to come on board and support us in this great course. The center that we shall build will house more than 300 kids, mainly high school students. This is because high school education is very expensive in Kenya because teachers are costly to hire. The facilities they use are also costly; for example, the laboratory. When our students move from primary school to high school, a large sum of money is required; far more money as compared to primary school. The new center will have dormitories where the students will sleep, a house for a matron and a patron, classes for kids, dining hall, a game court, gym, science lab, staff room, etc.
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