Many of the children in the slum are around secondary school age. Most of the children have completed primary education with good results, but secondary education is expensive. This is due to tuition fees, the buying of uniforms and shoes, and also providing children with text books, exercise books, stationary and bags.
The volunteers set up a basic school within the slum, run and taught solely by volunteers. A small classroom was built:
The class usually contained around 54 children of almost equal gender mix. The children were aged between 13 and 19 with varying levels of ability. Each morning the volunteers and children met at the classroom at 9am. The morning usually consisted of 80 minutes of maths or science, a short break and 80 minutes of English.
Class would finish at 12pm, ready for lunch (see feeding programme project)
Teaching the children was fun and I think we all learned something. Yvonne and David took the younger school aged children and taught them seperately, while the remaining volunteers worked with the older children to keep their interest in learning alive.
The children learnt everything from metaphors, personification and rhyming couplets to the division and reproduction of cell structures.
Unfortunately, there became problems with the classroom. Political arguements within the slum beyond our control meant that the classroom was boarded up and we were forced to hold classes in an open field by the dump entrance:
It didn't take long before we realised that this wasn't enough for the children. They needed to be in a school that ended with qualifications and opportunity if they were ever to escape the poverty that Gioto held them hostage to.
It was at this point that it was decided that all the children should go to acreddited (proper) schools.
The volunteers split into groups; one group continued taking classes in the field, the other group worked tirelessly meeting with schools and community people to try and get these children accepted.
We worked out a deal with the parents of the children; if they could somehow come up with the money to pay for the tuition fees for the children, we would somehow come up with the money for everything else - uniforms/books/shoes/equipment etc.
It is at times like this that the generosity of friends and family shines through.
We all begged our relatives and close friends, in fact no, we begged anyone we knew (or didn't know) for any donation, any size, to help get these kids out of the slum and into a school. Slowly but surely our people responsed and money started to dribble in and the dream started to materialise. Meetings were held, pleading emails were sent and eventually and not too soon, all our children went to school.
Some children went back to primary school to repeat their exams, some went straight to secondary school and three of the older children went to driving school.
Continuing the education of the children is difficult. The project relies on parents keeping up with the tuition payments. It also means children must keep their uniform clean (difficult, living in garbage) as they only have one set of uniform. Their feet are still growing which will mean new shoes and exercise books will soon run out. Donations received go towards the 'upkeep' of the education programme, ensuring children are able to go to school and more importantly, stay in school.
Residents of Gioto have no access to clean water unless they buy it. Water in Kenya is precious and is delivered by huge trucks.
Volunteers at Gioto rely on donations from friends and family to purchase water for the people and have it delivered to the slum.
A water truck of this size costs 5,000 kenyan shillings.
This is the equivalent of approximately £40.
It will provide the entire slum with clean water for 4 DAYS.
Water truck day is a very busy and exciting day!
Currently funded by volunteers, Kate and Kyle, the feeding programme is a successful project providing food for many of Gioto's child population. Each day, the mother of Kelvin Maina (one of the children now in secondary school) walks up to the local church and cooks lunch the local children using ingredients provided by the volunteers. Lunch is provided at school for the secondary school children, but still the programme must continue for the younger pre-school children that need this nutrition the most.
Monday and Friday = Ugii and bananas - Ugii is a brown porridge like substance. The main ingredient is flour.
Tuesday and Thursday = Ugii only
Wednesday = Rice and beans.
Kate handing out the ugii Rice and beans!!
As often as possible the volunteers, along with help from the local community, provide large 'medical camps' for the residents. The camps provide medical assessments, advice, counselling, drugs, treatments, immunisations and vitamins for free. Qualified doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals are invited to help out on the day in return for payment.
The cost of the medical camp is outlined below:
This is the equivalent to roughly £152
Every medical camp held so far has been a great success.
Academic education is not the only kind of education that is provided for the children of Gioto. We understood that in a place such as this, it is easy to lose track of emotional wellbeing and personal development. Dandelion Kenya is a non-profit organisation designed to educate children on health, development and growth. The following is taken from Dandelion's website - http://dandelionkenya.org/ :
Dandelion currently works with the slum children to demonstrate these points. The development of the children is obvious to anyone observing frequent classes. To watch the children learn and grow is fascinating and inspiring.
As a former volunteer with IVHQ, Ryan Clements spent time in the slum working on an HIV programme. Whilst there, he initiated an original and promising programme, designed to aid the women of Gioto earn for themselves. The video below explains Ryan's vision;
Ryan works hard to ensure the success of his project. For more information visit http://fashionloveafrica.com/