After a short stop in Nairobi, I finally arrived in Kimilili after a 7-hour bus ride. On Monday, I was finally allowed to visit the schools, children homes, kindergarten and special needs school.
A total of up to 800 children can attend the school. CBSM has built up everything from scratch with its own resources. On the one hand, it is unbelievable what they (especially the girls) have built up from nothing in the last few years, but at the same time it tears your heart out to see what (school) life looks like here.
Challenges exist at all corners and ends. From the lack of seating, hardly any materials, few toys, etc. to the state of the toilets or the lack of future prospects after school.
My “main tasks“ as a volunteer:
– Finding out if, how, where, which and how many toilets we can build on the school grounds
– Identify and communicate educational opportunities to the children
In the CBSM office, I was able to obtain the relevant contacts and discuss the next steps. We made very good progress, especially with regard to training opportunities.
Since we were still without power even after a week (in the end 10 days), the existing laptop was no longer usable at some point. So it was off to the copy store and print – and write by hand. And thus was written and written and written….
Along the way, we were also able to discuss the first steps for the toilet construction with the architect.
From the second week I looked for another task and started to make loooong lists of needed things and to do those, which were possible for me personally on site, directly on site.
So it started… Countless painting templates were created and copied in the local copy store, broken clothes were mended, toys were procured and the kindergarten was painted.
Along the way, we were able to show the children who had finished school what career opportunities they have and the architect was able to present a first plan for high quality toilets.
…some now ask themselves – why can’t things like copies, painting, simple repairs be done on site itself…? Simple answer: There is no money. Kenya is especially in the provinces a very very poor country; which is far away from the western standard. Here one is already more than happy if the daily things of life like living, eating and school are affordable. Here, however, we often talk about living without a bed, rice as the daily main meal (and no breakfast) and the hope that one will get money from somewhere to pay the school fees.
School4life takes over the school and lunch fees for all those who cannot afford the fees due to private reasons (e.g. orphans). They want to provide a good and also safe future for all of them.
The Special Needs School is one of the few, if not the only facility for the disabled in the region. The caregivers here work wholeheartedly during the day to make life easier for the children.
For me it was or is still a matter of the heart to help the impaired children on site. So I organized a few last little things… Shoes, socks, uniforms for those whose parents cannot afford them. The joy of the children about the new (or first) shoes/clothes was the best thing I could get as a thank you – even if it tore my heart at the same time.
I am very very grateful for this experience and will definitely come back again!
Here I now know that both the own activities, the donations in kind as well as the money are in the right place and arrive 100% at the needy!