Our day school located in the Kicheko slum areas of Mlolongo that provides education and daily nutrition to more than 100 vulnerable children who are in the age bracket of 3-12 years. Tumaini (Swahili for “hope”) encourages children who would otherwise not have access to education. The children are from families from the area that are not able to send them to school due to school fees, transportation, and lack of access to simple school materials. It also serves as a rescue center for older children who have never been to school or need preparation and rehabilitation for secondary school.
During the day in the slums, a lot of parents and caregivers are out doing various jobs to earn an income. A lot of children are left on their own, which can be very dangerous for small children. Because their parents or caregivers cannot afford to pay for the school fees, children lack active care during the day and are prone to bad influence, dirt, and abuse. The program gathers together the children from the slums and gives them care and education during the day until their mothers or guardians pick them up in the afternoon. These children are offered protection, they are introduced to early childhood education, they do outdoor games and are given at least one hot meal during daycare. Sometimes there is no food at home and this meal could be the only meal the child gets throughout day.
The goal of the program is to develop a full professional school where the children are prepared to join the main stream primary school institutions, which are supposed to be free for all children in Kenya, however, parents are faced with additional fees (e.g. exam fees, tuition fees, school uniforms, among other small costs). Many times this leads to a child being suspended from school and sometimes do not return.
The program offers one hot meal a day to these disadvantaged children in the day school. This activity meets a lot of challenges due to inflating food prices. Because 90 % of the family income in the slums is used for food, the price increase have hit these families especially hard. During the day the teacher takes up the responsibility of following up with the children who are HIV+ to make sure that they continue with their medical appointments and take their ARV drugs regularly.