Orphans of Kenya
Although there are tens of thousands of orphaned children in Kenya, two of the greatest concentrations are in the Kibera and Mathare slum areas in Nairobi. The Nadine Griffey Academy of Kenya will focus on these two areas in selecting the twenty children who will enter the boarding school on a full scholarship basis.Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, has an estimated population over 900,000. Roads and alleyways are littered with garbage and human waste. The filth and sewage run-off goes through open ditches and runs into the Nairobi River which is used by others downstream to wash clothes.
Mathare is the second largest slum area in Nairobi with an estimated population over 500,000. Most of the population not only lives below poverty level, but in many cases are so extremely poor that mere survival is a day by day matter. Families often live in small one room structures with no heat, electricity, toilets or water and often are so poor that they have no beds and sleep on the floor. If you walk through the alleys, you see young children with old used plastic coke bottles full of water from some distant public source.Apart from extreme poverty in both Kibera and Mathare, there are thousands of children whose parents both died of Aids. If these children are lucky, they will have some relative still alive who will try to take care of them. This is where you find an aunt or grandmother raising eight or nine children who have all lost their mothers and fathers.
While Kenya now offers a form of free education, there are two serious remaining problems for children in the slum areas. First, dealing with the so-called “free education,” there are still minimal costs which thousands of families simply cannot afford, and their children never attend school. Second, for those families who can afford this minimum cost, there is a serious lack of teachers and, consequently, the children are bunched together in classes of from 125 to 150 students.There are, of course, many wonderful churches that are doing their best to provide some form of education for those who cannot afford to attend the public schools. If you walk down through some of the small alleys, you will find these schools in small tin buildings with no windows or lights. There is often a sewage ditch running within two feet of the school. These are the fortunate children because these informal church schools will at least provide one good meal per day.
It is from these surroundings that the Nadine Griffey Academy of Kenya will select the 20 orphaned children to attend boarding schools. Although we cannot solve the terrible problems inherent in the Kibera and Mathare slum areas, we can and will provide at least a few of the children with an opportunity for a better life.