In the Kibera slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, our partner, the Seed Foundation, operates its Seed School which serves as an educational oasis in the midst or sheer and unimaginable poverty.
Without it, it is highly doubtful that the 200 children who attend the primary school would not only not be getting an education, but instead would be wasting their days away toiling long hours for a few Kenyan shillings (less than one penny) a day to help support their family, if they could even find work.
And thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, for the past few years we have been able to provide grant funding to allow the school to serve two meals to students every day classes are in session.
Seed Foundation program manager Patrick Odongo reported in January that with the support from Bread and Water for Africa® school administrators are able to budget for the cost of the meals “for the school term, and beyond.”
Each week, they are 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.”
In Kibera, the largest slum on the entire African continent with an estimated population of between 500,000 and 1 million, the vast majority of residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $2 per day.
“There are few schools, and most people cannot afford education for their children,” states the Kibera Wikipedia page.
The students are the poorest of poor with Patrick telling us, “The children positioned in the greatest need within the communities were carefully screened and selected.”
Working in Kibera for years, Patrick is a realist and knows that “many times worthy programs stall and fail due to extended stagnation caused by a lack of resources. This eventually leads to organizational closure.
“We have been greatly privileged to receive this grant from Bread and Water for Africa® to implement and sustain the feeding program for all the children attending school here.
“The beneficiaries of the program have achieved tremendous success and the transition rates into higher learning institutions beyond the Seed School is a manifestation of this.”
Patrick added, from his own personal observations, that the relatively high percentage of Seed School graduates who continue their education is due in large part to “the food provided to them which has greatly enhanced their growth, health and self-reliance – and the numbers of Kibera residents engaged in self-employment is increasing.”
And ultimately, “This is leading towards greater self-reliance and independence.”
Among them who are able to progress onto higher education is Zainabu who first arrived at the Seed School at what Patrick described as “a much-advanced age,” adding that “she managed to keep up and maintain a steady academic performance for the entire period of six years that she was studying at Seed School.”
He told us Zainabu is now moving on to a larger local public school where she will soon be sitting for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, the results of which will determine her future.
“We wish her well and with her determination we are hopeful she will get a very high score and be admitted into high school.”
When Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Bethelhem Tessema first visited the school and met with Patrick she asked him what we could do to assist the Seed Foundation its school operations, he was cautiously optimistic that we would provide support to the meals program.
“At the point of applying for this grant we were uncertain that the donor was going to fulfill our request and give us the opportunity to realize this goal,” Patrick told us later.
“We can now positively report with the great success stories we have achieved from the grant support from Bread and Water for Africa®,” he says today. “Children have been well fed enabling them to attend classes regularly at the Seed School and grow up in well and healthy ways.
“Our goals were met beyond our imagination.”