Tusaidie Watoto was started by the small Methodist Church in Kibra when the four small rooms they were letting to families as homes, became vacant. The 4 rooms became 2 classrooms and they started in 1997 with 20 children from the Kibra slum. As the numbers grew, the church became the baby class. All the rooms are of basic construction and there is a small play area which is now paved. The provision of water at the project has been improved and drinking water separated from washing up and hand washing. However, high prices have to be paid for clean water from local entrepreneurs and the supply is vulnerable! A school in the UK has raised money for an extra water tank to safeguard the provision of water for cooking and drinking.
In 2016 the nearby railway line was scheduled for widening and one third of the compound and church have been requisitioned by the Government. They lost their pit latrines and water tanks which have had to be re-positioned making the site even more cramped.
The children live in the Kibra shanty slum which is reputed to be the largest and worst of all the slums in Africa where thousands of people live in 3 square miles without any basic amenities. Half of those aged 15 – 40 years living in the slum are said to be HIV positive and there are many orphans. Some of the children have parents or guardians who do their best for their children, but are so poor that they cannot educate them and this is when children turn to the streets to survive. Others have unstable or inadequate parents and come to the nursery in a state of gross neglect. Some have a lone parent, or disabled parents, and some live with an older sibling who may be as young as 12, or elderly unsupported grandmothers. Karibuni supports 50 children in the nursery, 141 children at local primary schools, 56 children at secondary school, and now 11 at university and 8 in college – a total of 266 children. The nursery children have porridge in the morning and lunch every day; the primary children go to the nursery for lunch Monday – Friday. There are 11 full-time members of staff – a Social Worker, teachers, cooks, caretaker and security guard. Karibuni Children is effectively the only source of funding for this project.
Erick Obudho, one of the first children to be taken into the Tuaidie Watoto Nursery 20 years ago, has been employed onto KPMG’s graduate programme in Nairobi as an Audit Associate – a very competitive scheme.
He is the eldest in a family of five whose parents are casual workers in the Kibra slum. Karibuni supported him through the nursery, primary and secondary school and onto Strathmore University where he gained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. He came 4th in his region in Economics in his 3rd year exams and achieved an A grade overall.
He also formed and is now Chair of the Kibra Karibuni Alumni Group and mentors 13 boys and 8 girls in the project.
Find out more about Erick and his journey to KPMG
When the Trustees visit the nursery school, they are always entertained by the children! Here is a short clip of the enthusiastic performance they saw recently!