is a multitude of people from close to
whereof the majority have Nilotic or Bantu origin.
English is the official language, while
is the national language. As so many
countries in Africa, also Kenya is a so called
'development country', where the
income per head
is 1.500 US$ a year - against USA's 36'200 US$ a
year… (2000 estimates), and the
rate 67.2 per 1.000 births against USA's
6.7... But then it has to be said that both
income and mortality is extremely 'unfairly'
small group on top is very rich, while maybe 80 per cent of the
of 30 million people are living on a pure basic
Kenya is also among the countries in the
world with the biggest population growth, and
to half the population are children below the age
of 15. It is therefore possible to classify
Kenya as a "young nation", but the
problem is that these children soon grow up to an
age where they need an
income - and jobs are hard
to get! Generally,
it is correct to say that the lower income people have,
the higher infant mortality rate you will find. This
means that in the slums and most of the countryside
quite a number of small children die because of malnutrition
and diseases. But if you ask the many tourists visiting
Kenya every year what they know best about Kenya, chances
are very high that they will mention safari tours in
the national parks, visiting Mombasa and the many swimming
resorts and hotels at the coast, and maybe climbing
Mt Kenya (5.200 metres). But then you just touch the
fringes of the Kenyan society!
We do not like to reveal too much of the children's private life - they
also have a right to be protected. But still we feel it is important to
give other people an insight of whom we are dealing with. Ultimately,
this will benefit the children. The cases below are genuine cases that
all are in our programs, but without mentioning of names.
A is a boy born 1995. He comes from
a sort of one-parent family, where the father only occasionally used to
come home, and ultimately disappeared. The mother is therefore sole responsible
to get the income in order to support the family. This she does by washing
clothes for the people in the middleclass areas nearby the slums, and
other sorts of casual work. But she does not earn enough to keep her 8
children and herself with regular food. A therefore, together with many
of his siblings, came into the Maisha Mema program at
Clubhouse, and began 2001 in
the Pre-Unit class in a better school nearby the slums. He will go
to Standard 3 in January 2004. A family in Norway
B is a girl born 1992.
She lost her
father some time ago. Due to the abject poverty at her home place near
Kisumu, she came to an uncle in the Soweto slums in Nairobi. Unfortunately,
this uncle, who is a widower, only saw her as a cheap slave-worker to
keep his house for himself and his children. In May 2000, after having
known B through our club-house-activities in the Soweto slums, we put
her in the Pre-Unit class in the same school as A. Problem was, she would
be a bit on and off in the school, since the uncle would hold her back
many times. He also kicked out her upper two front teeth
2000, she therefore came to live with the
Maisha Mema family in Doonholm.
She is now a very happy and lovable girl, and will go to
Standard 4 in January 2004.
in Switzerland sponsors her.
C is a boy born 1985.
His father is
a Congolese, while his mother is a Kenyan. After having to flee from Congo
while C was very young, the family settled first in Uganda, and from 1994/1995
in Kenya. The father has worked as a singer. The mother died in 1997,
and the father later moved in with another Kenyan lady who had three girls.
C therefore lived with his father, stepmother and these stepsisters.
relationship between C and his stepmother and -sisters has not been good,
as he is not too much wanted in the home. But in school, he has done well.
The biggest problem has been school-fees, and the headmaster of the school
approached us whether we could do something. We decided to sponsor him
through last year of Primary school. From August 2001, he also came living
with us in the Maisha Mema family in Doonholm.
In the exams in November
2001, he did very well, and attended Secondary school in a boarding
school. He will go to Form 3 in January 2004. He is sponsored by a
student in Norway.
D is a boy born around 1995.
coming very faithfully to the Clubhouse in Soweto. D used to be a quite
frightened boy, and would even pee in his pants if he thought somebody
would beat him. The mother seemed to enjoy beating him, and the father,
who was more than 30 years older than the mother, is dead. The
is therefore a kind of refuge place for him. Here he learns how to read
and write, joins in games and sports, does some drawing and other enjoyable
things. And he knew that if he continued faithfully coming to the Clubhouse
and showing persistency in learning, he would get the chance to be sponsored
to school. And this has really happened! In June 2002, he started in Pre-Unit
in a City Council school. Through with Standard 1 in November
2003, he became number 5 out of 47 pupils in his class.
He will go to Standard 2 in January 2004. He is
sponsored by a family in Norway.
For most of the
children in the slums, circumstances have brought
about their misery. When given a chance,
most of them will try doing their best. That
is also the reason we think it is so important to
various activities for the children. Most of
them are talented in something, being it football,
art and craft, singing, dancing, or subjects in
school. By giving them a chance, we develop
their talents, and help them getting a Better
many of the children, future starts in