January 2017 Newsletter
2016 has proved to be a busy year for ChallengeAid. The year ended with thirty Schools of Hope (SoH) having been established, not just in the slums of Nairobi but also in Nyeri and the Aberdares (Central Kenya), Mombasa and even Arusha in Tanzania.
In terms of education ChallengeAid was involved in sending forty students to university last year from a total population of 1,800+ young people from the ages of 10 – 18.
The supervisors of each SoH received training as coaches in four targeted sports – cricket, rugby, football and volleyball. Tournaments have been held during the year where SoH’s have competed against each other. Pupils have also found themselves elevated to the Kenyan national team selection after performing in these tournaments.
This year saw the innovation of a “Mathare Got Talent” festival. Mathare is one of the largest slums in Nairobi which houses somewhere close to a million people and where we currently operate ten SoH. The talent festival included singing, dancing, and poetry recitation as well as small playlets reflecting the lives of young people living in informal slum settlements. The venue for “Mathare Got Talent” was the SoH in Kiamutisya, one of the 14 villages that make up the informal slum settlement of Mathare. Over 200 children, committee members and supervisors attended from the SoH’s. There was great talent, enthusiasm and energy among the children and the competition for the trophies became quite intense, though great fun. The overall winners were Kiamutisya but all the supervisors from the other SoH are already planning for next year’s competition !!!
The sanitary pad programme which started in late 2014 has had a huge impact on the number of girls attending. The percentage of boys to girls was 60 – 40% and this has been turned around to the current level of 60 – 40% with the majority now being girls.
SoH also operate a life skills programme tailored specifically to the lives of young people living in informal slum settlements with topics as HIV/Aids, personal sexual and drug abuse, essential hygiene being just some of the topics that are presented to the SoH pupils.
There has been an interesting development with our life skills classes in the School of Hope programme. There have been multiple reported cases of child molestation in the slums lately, both girls and boys have been affected. A young boy Nathaniel from the Eastern Part of Nairobi (close to Mathare) was kidnapped and murdered. Because of this and other reasons self-defence, fitness lessons and awareness training started in September at Madoya School of Hope. It was agreed to include boys in these lessons.
This training will be really useful in helping to equip children to stay safer.
A recent innovation is that some of the pupils from our SoH are creating woollen plaited wristbands for sale in this country to schools and adults who undergo activity Challenges to support the SoH programme.
A student gap year programme was also started this year where a British school leaver travelled to Kenya to volunteer his time in some of our SoH’s. He visited Mombasa, Nairobi and the Aberdares teaching English and other subjects as well as coaching sport.
Separate to our SoH programme, ChallengeAid also supports a pre-primary school for sixty children made vulnerable with HIV/Aids, many of whom are orphans. ChallengeAid provides a “maize posho” breakfast, a nutritious lunch, good teaching and staffing facilities with provision for four medical visits per year for each child being as they succumb to illness very easily due to having weak immunity systems.
In August seven teams of boys and girls from seven of our SoH’s based with CUM held a cricket tournament at Ayani Primary School in Kibera where 200 young people participated or spectated. It was a great success and the momentum with cricket is definitely growing thanks to our partnership with Kenya Cricket. Tumaini Gituamba took the honours on the day.