Veronica is one of the six children who were selected by the project for sponsorship in class 1 of the Nursery School at Embakasi in 2012. That sponsorship will be available to Veronica throughout her education. It could take her through 3 years at Nursery school, to Primary School (8 years) and, if she qualifies, into Secondary School (4 years) and beyond. Should she fail to make it to Secondary school, or to College following secondary school, she will be eligible for support to undertake two years of vocational skills training. Veronica is the only child of Angela, a single mother in her twenties.
Angela, her mother
I first met Angela earlier this year when I was visiting the Embakasi project. Her daughter had just started in the Nursery class and a visit to meet her and some other parents had been arranged.
It was a very hot day and Angela was not at home when we called. We met her pushing a wheelbarrow loaded up with buckets of charcoal. That is how she, a single mother living in the Embakasi slum, tries to makes a living, selling charcoal to slum residents. Charcoal is used for cooking.
It’s hard work and the returns are thin. Angela cannot afford to buy a bag of charcoal outright. Instead it is supplied by a middle-man who requires payment once the contents have been sold.
Angela’s home is a corrugated tin hut, of which she is proud. It can be locked up – important to secure the charcoal.
Angela is absolutely delighted – and proud – that her daughter has been given an opportunity she never had.
Embakasi, east of Nairobi, has a growing middle-class area, but there is also a very poor area close to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the railway and an industrial area where casual work is available intermittently for the unskilled labourers living in the nearby shanty slum. This is where most of the sponsored children in the Nursery and State Primary School live.
The small Methodist Church at Embakasi had been trying to provide nursery education to children in the area, but for many families in casual low-paid work it isn’t possible to pay even the very low fees being charged, and the nursery was on the verge of closing when Karibuni was first approached.
Karibuni Children is fully supporting 18 of the poorest children in the nursery, by providing food, uniforms and nursery fees and there are 68 fee-paying children there. The staff includes teachers, cooks and a caretaker/messenger.