Ushirika School giving children in Kibera a chance at quality education
David Kitavi was born and raised in Kibera, and he saw education as a ticket from the slums. Thinking about giving children a better chance of having a better future, he decided to start a children’s center. The Youth Development Forum (YDF) becomes a reality and runs a number of projects including Ushirika School, that runs from Baby Class all the way to college. “There are many issues affecting children in Kibera such as alcoholism, absent parents and poverty. I realised that if you give education to a child, later they can contribute in positively impacting their communities. This is why I chose to empower children using education”, David explains.
During his journey, David faced a lot of challenges, especially related to fundraising. “We didn’t know how to approach potential funders, we didn’t know how to write good proposals and were very weak in networking with potential partners”, he remembers. Then, came the opportunity to do a Local Fundraising course held by Kenya Community Development Center (KCDF). “Those lessons were, perhaps, the greatest so far; we learnt the techniques of raising money from the members of the community and local organisations”, Kitavi explains. “At those times, at the school, there was no running water and there was lack of adequate toilet facilities. It was very tough time because we really desired to have a child friendly environment. Thankfully, we were able to fundraise and do more than we imagined”, he says.
Thanks to the CtGA training on local fundraising, the Youth Development Forum (YDF) was able to put its fundraising skills to practice by attracting other donors, who made possible for them to construct more classrooms in a three-store building, which was beyond their expectations, to accommodate and provide a conductive learning environment for the growing preschool population. The project supports needy preschool children with playing materials and offers opportunities for enjoyable learning and to promote a sense of identity and self-worth among the children.
Another positive result was that community members were involved in the ECDE care activities, which increases a sense of ownership. Through the enrollment of 126 children from the informal settlement, the project has been able to ensure that every young child is prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically for primary school and life itself.
Registered in 2009, Ushirika Children’s Center’s goal is to enhance quality education, ensure positive learning outcomes and advance steps towards realisation of inclusive basic education through high-impact interventions using community-led action for children.