Case Studies  

Kenya is a multitude of people from close to 60 tribes, whereof the majority have Nilotic or Bantu origin.  English is the official language, while Kiswahili 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 infant mortality 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' divided.  A small group on top is very rich, while maybe 80 per cent of the population of 30 million people are living on a pure basic minimum. 

Kenya is also among the countries in the world with the biggest population growth, and close 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 sponsors him.

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…  In August 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.  A lady 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.  The 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 1995He is 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 Clubhouse 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 Life.

For many of the children, future starts in Clubhouse!

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