During the 9 months since our last posting of the Watu Kwa Watu news the activities of our Charitable Trust were more then is similar period of earlier years, but have had a slightly different focus as a result of the Covid-19 pandemics.
First of all, the number of children and young adults, whom we were supporting in their studies and the start of their professional careers, has further increased. Pandemics-related deaths has increased the number of orphans, and has also greatly reduced the assistance by more distant relatives, who have been of help earlier. Also, a number of our beneficiaries have moved to secondary and other professional education, what has considerably increased their schooling costs. Luckily, we have found generous sponsors for several of them, mainly in Germany, mainly Hansen Foundation, but also in Kenya, Poland , USA and Switzerland. Unfortunately, however, the needs are much greater and any new sponsors would be very, very welcome and appreciated.
We have had several “success stories”, like the one of Sofia, described in the previous post, but also a couple of disappointing developments. We will present some of them in the following posts.
The second important development was the discontinuation, hopefully temporary, of the Draw your Dreams program, of supporting visual art education in the poor rural school and the slum schools. The rules of social distancing, and especially time pressures resulting from the need to make up the schooling time losses in the basic school subjects, have forced the schools to reduce the priority given to visual arts education.
The third change, was the further expansion of the feeding programs in the 3 Nairobi slum schools, made necessary by the greatly reduced incomes of the families of the school children. Many of these families belong to the informal sector, earning opportunities for which have very much deteriorated. Also, some of the sponsors of the feeding programs, were forced to discontinue their assistance, hopefully temporarily.
The main sponsor of the feeding programs continues to be the African Children Haven of Galveston, in Texas, USA, and our main partner in delivery of this program is Karuna Charitable Trust. The 3 Nairobi schools, which presently continue to be beneficiaries, are Starkid School and Rescue Center in the Githogoro slum, Overseers Education Center in Kangemi slum, and St Judah Education Center in Mathare slum. During the last 9 months the program has included feeding of children in the schools, and in the case of Starkid also in the orphanage (Rescue Center). In addition, the families of the poorest students, and the families of the school teachers and staff were receiving the food assistance to improve the overall family nutrition at home, or better to say to prevent the malnutrition and hunger. This additional program is being currently extended and expanded for another year. Some photographs documenting this assistance, are presented in the next posts.
In addition Watu kwa Watu provides other forms of assistance to schools, including the firewood for preparation of the school meals.
Another development in the Watu kwa Watu, was our first since early 2020 visit to beneficiaries and their schools in the interior of the country (outside Nairobi) in a longer round trip in October 2021. The main stops were Njoro, near Nakuru, and Kisumu, Bondo, Mbita Homa Bay and Migori in the Lake Victoria region. Some photographs will follow in the next posts.