In the massive slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, known as Kibera, in the midst of dire poverty and hopelessness there is a beacon of light known as the Seed School.
It is where some 200 children and youth have the opportunity to begin their education, their escape and pathway forward to a better life.
But first, it is their most basic, immediate need which must be met – ensuring they are not famished, literally on the verge of malnutrition, before they even begin to focus and concentrate on their schoolwork.
That’s why, since 2019, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been able to provide grant funding to feed the entire student body twice daily each school day.
Seed Foundation executive director Patrick Odongo who oversees the school’s operations reports that with the support from Bread and Water for Africa® school administrators are able to rely on and budget for the cost of the meals “for the school term, and beyond.”
Each week, he is able to purchase basic food items such as beans and rice, ground corn to prepare “ugali” (a Kenyan staple, similar to thickened grits), vegetables and fruits to prepare the meals, likely the only meals the students receive on a regular basis.
“Children at the Seed School were provided with two hot meals throughout the term,” he told us. “This enabled a healthy growth and effective attention and concentration in class.”
The cost per meal? Just 50 Kenyan shillings, which amounts to 33 cents per child.
Among these children who arrive at school each weekday morning looking forward to a filling breakfast and lunch, eager to fill their minds with knowledge once their bellies are full is Stephen Oduor, a single-parented child in a family of six children who as Patrick says always “wears a great smile.
“That is because he is proud to have a second home in the Seed School that provides him with an education, two meals each day and great friends he has made throughout the school term.”
Stephen is in his fifth year at the Seed School during which time Patrick notes that “Bread and Water for Africa ® has continued to support our mission in Kenya.
“This has enabled us to smoothly realize our goals towards educating the children of Kibera and feeding them today for a better generation tomorrow.”
But it is not just Seed School students like Stephen who are grateful to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa ® for helping enable them to attend school, but their parents as well.
“I can personally attest to the positive improvements that my daughter, who just finished her last examination from primary school, got,” says Seed School parent Sumaiya Ndagire.
“When she joined the Seed School eight years ago, she was young and very shy, not knowing a word of English [the official language of Kenya],” Sumaiya told us. “Today, she can freely express herself and communicate in both English and Kiswahili.
“Her time at the Seed School was spent without me worrying too much, as I was very much assured through her regular studies and the school meals she received.
“I am very much pleased with this change my daughter has achieved.”
Patrick notes that since receiving support from Bread and Water for Africa ®, “the long chain of beneficiaries continues to grow.
“The grants received from Bread and Water for Africa® are a great asset to us in propelling the objectives of the school towards fulfilling our mission.
“The community members here have solid hope in our program to be the lead for the future of their children and towards a self-reliant community.”