Estimates of the size of Africa’s largest slum vary. It is, however, probable that up to 500,000 people call two and a half square miles of the Kibra slum in Nairobi ‘home’.
Karibuni's partnership with MCK Tusaidie Watoto Nursery School began in 1995. The school sits in the heart of the slum and is embedded into the local community. The site which houses three classrooms, a kitchen and a very small project office is quite tight, with limited play space for the children.
This is the largest project that Karibuni supports in terms of numbers of children supported each year. In total, since 1995, Karibuni has supported over 600 children from this project. In addition to the nursery children on site, many children at local state primary schools also return each day for their lunch, and on Saturdays. There is also a feeding programme on Saturdays and during school holidays. Children receive a good balanced diet – rice, maize, beans, vegetables and occasionally meat – and with approaching 130 children at primary school locally, the three cooks are kept busy.
Makena, the long-serving senior social worker is ably supported by her deputy Wycliffe, social worker Carol, three cooks and Elizabeth, the Head Teacher and her team of three teachers.
With Karibuni involvement spanning 25 years there are now a considerable number of alumni of the project, two of whom sit on the independent project board. During the trustee visit in 2020 some 80 project alumni returned to the pre-primary where their own educational journey began to meet us for lunch. It was a truly joyous occasion. One of those alumni was Wycliffe, who was taken into Karibuni support at Kibra in 1998, at age 5, as one of the first beneficiaries. He was supported through pre-primary, primary, secondary, and then the Technical University of Kenya where he graduated in Community and Public Health. After working for African Mission Healthcare and managing training of nurses in anaesthesia, in 2021 Wycliffe was appointed Deputy Social Worker at Tusaidie Watoto. Having himself come from the surrounding slum there can be no better mentor for the children beginning on the journey that he has himself undertaken.
At Kibra a Savings and Credit Community Organisation (SACCO) microfinance scheme is in operation. Small loans are made to groups of mutually supporting entrepreneurs drawn from the parents / guardians of the children Karibuni supports, who wish to start their own modest business. Funding was provided by Karibuni but the scheme is administered through the long-established Methodist Church SACCO. Training on business management, bookkeeping and other necessary skills is provided and there is ongoing support. The success rate is high and provides an opportunity for families to lift themselves out of poverty.