1. Maji Mazuri Kiserian Schools
Education and talent development is a strong focus at Maji Mazuri. Learning is ongoing at the Kiserian school. The primary school has a population of 101 pupils and the high school has a population of 26 students.
2. Maji Mazuri Kiserian Farm
Under the guidance of a farm consultant, there has been lots of activities ongoing in the farm.
Green House Growing: Of the two green houses one is currently growing tomatoes; the crop is a month old. Weeding is ongoing in this green house. The second green house has been prepared and cupsicums (“pilipili hoho’) will be planted in a week’s time.
Other activities include:
- Cows: The farm currently has three milk-producing cows and three calves. Grazing is regulated to just with Maji Mazuri land and zero grazing. Milk production is good and the cows are in good health. In addition, the cows make it possible for the pupils and students to learn practical agriculture.
- Hay: Made possible through funding by MMUSA and friends, Hay has been planted on three acres of land, partial fencing done and the rest of the fencing will be done over the next two weeks, this includes new fencing for the whole hay area and reinforcing the barbed wire fence of the whole project and replacing the worn poles.
- Banana farming is ongoing on a small scale.
- Farm animals: On small scale rabbits, geese, turkeys and guinea pig are also reared on the farm.
3. Planned activities
- General repairs on the fence and new fencing for the rest of the hay project.
- Ploughing of part of the farm meant for cupsicums and other vegetables.
Maji Mazuri Children’s Centre
The year started on a high note as the Children’s Centre had two new admissions to High School. As of 2015 the Children’s Centre has two form 4 (end of high school) candidates and four class 8 (end of primary school) candidates where we hope that they will do exceptionally well and join good secondary schools and tertiary institutions respectively.
One of the banks in Kenya by name CFC Stanbic bank funded a proposal of tiling the Kitchen and a badly worn out Special Needs Education classroom and went further to cover materials for painting the classrooms. Resource mobilization for the funds to cover labour for the painting is ongoing. The Water Services Trust Fund also funded painting of a Dormitory and one classroom and the children are now enjoying studying in a conducive classroom. The painting of animals on the walls also ensures easy learning for the students.
The children at the Children’s Centre and from the community continue to receive physiotherapy. Three children from the surrounding community who have been attending the physiotherapy sessions had delayed developmental milestones and can now walk. The rest continue to improve and the parents are very appreciative of the services offered to the children. The Centre has admitted two new children who are also in need of special care. As part of rehabilitation measures the Children’s Centre involved an orthopedic surgeon to look into the needs of the physically challenged children and a few materials like Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) were acquired that could fit some of the children for effective rehabilitation. The surgeon also recommended that the home needs a regular occupational therapist to ensure full rehabilitation and empowerment of the children.
The children’s Centre will also receive rehabilitation equipment from the Association for People with disabilities through provision of Special seats courtesy of Water Services Trust Fund. This will go a step forward to ensure correct sitting posture and easy mobility of the children.
The Centre also donated wheelchairs to Thika Level 5 Hospital. The hospital expressed appreciation as they were in dire need of wheelchairs and has now offered partnership through provision of a regular physiotherapist and occupational therapist at a fee that is still being discussed.
The children were invited for a prom party courtesy of a neighboring children’s home. This was a good opportunity to shine, laugh, dance and interact with other children. The children also got swimming sessions courtesy of Kasarani Aquatic stadium and a cake each month to celebrate birthdays from Valentines cake house. This is a significant event since most of the children have not celebrated their birthdays before and also signifies celebrating their new lives full of hope for a better future.
The computer college gained full accreditation with the Computer Society of Kenya thus the students will be examined through the Organization.
Maji Mazuri Projects in Mathare
1. Headstart School
The school has experienced huge growth and development in the past few years. The pupils’ population has grown from 254 pupils in January 2014 to the current 502 pupils in February 2015. This has been realized through better academic performance in the national examinations (KCPE) over the past years and our holistic nature of services which includes feeding program and talent development activities.
The feeding program has highly motivated many parents to admit their children in our school since they are guaranteed of a meal a day in the school. The program has also encouraged pupils to attend classes regularly which has translated to good academic performance in all classes. With almost 90% of all the pupils in the school coming from very poor backgrounds, these pupils look up to the one meal they get in school.
On the other hand the talent development program popularly known as the “Teenz group” has greatly helped in equipping these pupils with the necessary basic life skills to help them overcome numerous daily life challenges they are facing e.g. peer pressure, early exposure to drug abuse, early marriages, and domestic violence. The program has also made learning exciting by introducing various activities like singing and dancing, theatre groups, football games and other talent development activities which motivates pupils to attend school.
The school has also set up a small computer lab were pupils are introduced to basic computer skills. This motivates pupils a lot as they have the opportunity to gain computer experience at a tender age.
However, the huge growth has come with numerous challenges including increased staffing cost, high operational costs especially connected to the feeding program and limited structural facilities (class rooms) to accommodate the high pupils population as well as absorb more who are looking for admission. The current school facility which is made of iron sheets and a storey building made of timber needs reinforcement to accommodate the huge number of pupils. Steel reinforcement has been done as a temporary measure and this year we will be fundraising with the hope of starting construction of a permanent building in phases. This will also create more space to admit other pupils looking for admissions as we seek to widen Maji Mazuri’s impact in Mathare Valley.
2. Community Centre
Construction of the four rooms is in its last stages. Final touches are going on now and the full financial as well as the construction report will be availed after the contractor hands over the finished building to Maji Mazuri.
3. Youth Program
ICT Training Centre
The youth ICT training Centre which offers free ICT training to youth from Mathare valley and environs has also recorded huge growth in the past one year. Early last year Maji Mazuri increased the number of students per intake for both levels of training in order to create more opportunity for the youth and meet the high demand of the training in the community.
In level one where youth are taught among other things basic computer packages, basic design skill and entrepreneurship, the number of youth per intake from rose from 30 youth to 50 youth creating 20 extra opportunities. The training at this level takes 3 months and the ICT Centre trains 4 groups of 50 youth each totaling to 200 youth in one year.
In level two where youth are taught among other things comprehensive ICT skills, web development and design, animation and other graphic designs we increased the intake number from 30 youth to 40 youth creating 10 extra opportunities. The training at this level takes six months and we are able to train two groups of 40 youth each year totaling to 80 youth in one year. After successful completion of the training the youth are fully equipped with competent skills to get jobs from corporate world as well as create their own jobs.
In total the training Centre graduates 280 youth from the community with competent and competitive skills to the market each year. It is a joy to see the youth securing good jobs with well know companies and others having started their own businesses and even created jobs for others.
However, the growth and the nature of our target group of vulnerable youth has brought some challenges. The growth has increased operational costs including electricity bills, water bills, internet bills and other utility bills. On the other hand our target group which are vulnerable youth from the community are only required to pay a minimal commitment fee which accumulatively is below the operational costs of the training Centre.
Youth Group Project
The youth group is doing very well in the implementation of their activities. The membership of the group has continued to grow with current membership of 60 youth. The youth have grouped themselves in talent development clubs where they nurture their talent and support each other. These talent clubs include music and poetry club, art and design club, multimedia club and drama club. The clubs helps members sharpen their talents/skills while the group at large creates a platform for the members to build their confidence.
The music club has already recorded a song which has penetrated in local radio stations and they are currently working on producing another song soon. The clubs got a big boost when Maji Mazuri UK team funded a recent proposal to buy basic equipments for the talent clubs. The equipments have already been bought and the youth are highly excited in the clubs activities.
Last year in September the youth launched the first ever motivational resource book titled “MY DRIVE IN LIFE” which has motivational stories of youth members in our group. The book aims at motivating other youth to keep positive no matter what challenges they are facing. The book was compiled by Nelleke from Netherlands who interviewed the youth and compiled the stories together in a book. This was a great achievement for the group for being the first group to launch a motivational book in the community.
However, the group also faces numerous challenges in their operations including funds to finance their activities, funds to support their needy members for trainings and scholarships and funds to buy necessary equipments for implementation of their program.
The green heroes’ project has continued to receive over whelming support from the local community. The group continues to carry their weekly garbage collections in the community as well as educating the community on importance of a clean and safe environment. This has grown their client base to about 200 households in the community. Through the group activities the community members are now more responsible for their environment and appreciate leaving in a clean environment.
In last year May the group invested the 3 million world environmental day prize in the Old Mutual Money market fund. The fund now generates small income which the group utilizes to fund some of their activities. However, the income generated through this investment is very small and the youth are planning to invest part of this money in several business ideas which will create jobs for some members and also generate profits to support the youth activities.
The group needs more protective gear during their clean ups and equipments to carry their activities e.g. wheel barrows, spades, rakes and carts.
We are very grateful to you, friend and supporter of Maji Mazuri, none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you for touching a life.
Daniel Wambua – Project Coordinator, Maji Mazuri Mathare Project
I joined Maji Mazuri in 2004 as a beneficiary in one of the projects. After finishing my high school education I volunteered at Maji Mazuri children Centre Kasarani in 2009 while I attended college studies sponsored by Maji Mazuri. In 2010 Maji Mazuri employed me as administrative assistant at Headstart academy. I am now the Projects Coordinator of all the Mathare Projects.
Being part of the organization has given me a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills in my career. This has developed my self-confidence and taught me how to work in a team. The organization has also developed me to the person I am today since I joined it as a young boy.
I see Maji Mazuri as an icon in the community that other organizations look to as an example to emulate. I am inspired by the organization’s grassroots focus, with local initiatives that have national and international impact. My future plans are to initiate sustainable projects which will continue to make a difference and impact the lives of the young ones and the community at large.
www.majimazuri.org. firstname.lastname@example.org. +254722466971. Find us @majimazuri on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.