The project is sited in Marimanti, the biggest town in the arid county of Tharaka which is classified as a ‘hardship area’. Rainfall is very sporadic, so the local people rely on Government handouts on a regular basis. Their main crops are sorghum and millet. HIV and AIDS remain a problem in the area and there are many orphans and single parent families.
The project started some years ago to feed and educate some of the children from those families at the primary schools in the area, mainly at Kamatungu School. Those children are now in their 20’s and have completed their education – some with degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Karibuni continues to sponsor children here and 6 of the very poorest children enter nursery each year and continue to the end of their education or practical training and there is now a total of 101 children and young people at various stages, as well as those who have completed and are working.
George Mwabu, the project leader, is an inspirational young man who sees needs and works to meet them. As well as running the Karibuni project, George set about raising the money locally to build a community centre. Money and gifts in lieu were all raised by local people – and George and his wife were the first donors. They were given a tree for roof timbers, sand and cement and most moving, one of the men who had been with the project and trained to be a mason, gave his labour free.
There is now a splendid centre and George has started a demonstration farm showing how water harvesting can revolutionise the area. They are successfully growing papaya, mangoes, potatoes, maize, cabbage, carrots and etc and keep hens, having built their own huge water tank! Local people are learning how to emulate their example by working alongside George and others, and slowly the area is improving. Clearly Karibuni’s support for this area is making a real difference!
Tharaka is only one of the 13 projects supported by Karibuni. The children chosen for nursery school and sponsorship throughout their education are from the very poorest families, all living in deprived conditions, and with very difficult family circumstances. For example, Jamila is four years old and has recently been sponsored by Karibuni to join the Meru Township Project.
She lives with her sick mother in the adjacent slum area. She is seen here in the project dining room where a nutritious meal is served at lunch time. Karibuni sets down one criterion for the selection of children to be sponsored: that they should be “the poorest of the poor”. Tribe and religion play no part in the decision. Hence this little girl is a Muslim who is attending the local Catholic school.
Costs to support a child in nursery are £20 a month, while by the
time they reach university it can be £75 a month. Can you help?