Children of Kibera

    The problems faced by Kibera’s inhabitants include high levels of unemployment, low-quality housing, lack of health-care, hunger, domestic violence, and drug abuse. Solutions are not simple, but one way of bringing about long-lasting and sustainable change is through the caring for and education of the children of Kibera.

    Ken Okoth grew up in poverty in the slums of Kibera, but now teaches at a private institution in northern Virginia outside Washington.

    Okoth says his personal life experience motivated him to create the Children of Kibera Foundation:

    “I can’t just sit back and think, `I made it, am successful, I will move on with life.’ I know at every stage, somebody gave something to me and I can never pay them back for the help they gave me.”

    The foundation partners with individuals and organisations whose creativity, skills, generosity, and dedication make it possible for the children of Kibera to overcome the obstacles of poverty, disease, and social alienation and to realise their dreams as productive, healthy citizens.

    Many of the childrens’ hopes for a good education depend on a small private school established in 1998 by a retired Kenyan school teacher.

    Protase Buluma is the deputy director at Red Rose Nursery and Children Center. He says the school is like a drop in the ocean, but it is giving hope to these kids.

    It caters for the needs of the orphaned children in the slums, who have nobody to take care of them. So far they have 40 orphans out of a population of 89 kids.

    Despite their circumstances, the children have reason for hope. They are enthusiastic and eager to learn through the various teaching methods the teachers have developed at Red Rose School.

    For the few who go to the Red Rose School, they get more than reading and writing there. School Deputy Director Protase Buluma says “Where they would have lacked education they now receive it here. Where they would have lacked nutrition, they get it here. Where they would have lacked love and hope, they are now getting it here.”

    Okoth says this will change the future of the children: “Being poor is just a circumstance where you start in life, but it is not your destiny and it can change.”