Profiles of the 4 Kanzi Schools
In Kenya, primary schools cater for children from two years old through to Standard Eight. The final primary year, Standard Eight would normally have 14-year-old children but, in reality, there are also much older students who have either had late access or interruptions to education. In Standard Eight, children take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), which they must pass if they have any hope of gaining a secondary school place. Competition is stiff as there are approximately 40% more children than there are places in secondary schools. An added difficulty for children from Kibera is that secondary education is not free, which means it is virtually impossible for them to gain a place unless they can secure a scholarship from a donor.
Education is the key to unlocking the door out of the slum and this is why education is at the heart of Kanzi-Kibera Friends.
Gifted Hands School (270 children)
This is the biggest of the five schools with grounds that are able to handle extensive development compared to the other schools. Currently, there are ten classrooms in four blocks. Two of the blocks are older and made of mud walls that are worn with gaps appearing in them. The roof consists of rusty corrugated iron sheets. The other two blocks are new and made of timber with new corrugated iron sheets for both the walls and the roof. The new classrooms are bigger, well lit and finished with plywood on the inside. Gifted Hands also has a kitchen, staffroom and an office. The kitchen, which is currently awaiting major repair, is where the food for all five schools is prepared before distribution.
All primary school levels are present at this school, from pre-primary to Standard Eight. Gifted Hands are having their first ever Standard Eight, which is the graduation class before secondary school. These 23 children will sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in November with the hope of going into a secondary school away from the slums in 2013.
Linda Academy (112 Children)
Set on a hill yet still tightly surrounded by people’s shacks, Linda Academy specialises in younger children. The youngest children are just four months old. Linda Academy has a day care department, where mothers going out to look for work bring their babies early in the morning for the four staff to take care of them between their teaching commitments. The rest of the school is nursery (3-4 years), pre-primary (5-6 years) through to Standard Five (10-11 years). Linda Academy has one large hall that is divided into four classes by cloth and temporary timber screens. Other rooms include a baby room ten by ten foot, which is the cleanest room; however, it still lacks enough ventilation. One more room for the 10 nursery school children completes the structural profile of Linda Academy.
Cana Junior Academy (98 children)
The school has one room, which is about 20 by 20 foot and is divided into four with temporary screens. There isn’t ventilation or sufficient light for children to learn comfortably. A little electric bulb only very dimly lights up on side. Three teachers assist all 9b children who are between Standard One and Standard Four.
Fruitful Academy (65 children)
Set on a hill but crowded by other shacks, Fruitful Academy is a three-room structure around a little yard with vegetables planted in soil-filled upright sacks. Fruitful Academy is perhaps the smallest and has the youngest age range. There is one classroom, which is 20 by 20 foot, with no window. This classroom is divided into two and very dark. Fruitful Academy has two other rooms; one is dedicated to baby care because they, like Linda take care of babies, only months old. At any one time there are between 5 and eight babies spending the whole day here. The other room house children between Nursery, pre-primary and Standard One. The room doubles as an office/resource centre and a shop for handmade African beaded accessories. The proprietor and her daughters are very creative with their hands and work hard. The proceeds from their curios go into buying food for the children.