Update: We are collecting donations on our CrowdRise page, please go there to contribue. Check out this article, which outlines a chance of a lifetime opportunity to get involved with the school beyond just donating.
Building off the beautiful spirit created with the sewage project, Love is the Answer, we present Care is the Solution—a plan to construct a school to serve 200 out of the approximately 2,000 children currently not receiving formal education in the Kituii Ndogo slum, one of the harshest and most underserved in Nairobi, Kenya.
More than a school
The Malezi (trans. 'care for/nurture') School will not just be a place where children come to learn how to read and write. It will also be a space for character transformation, where in addition to formal curriculum, students will received value-based life skills training to nurture their latent potential and create future community leaders and change agents.
The Kituii Ndogo slum is beset by numerous, complex challenges. Unsafe, unsanitary living conditions. Extreme poverty. No government support. And the lack of education there breeds social ignorance, which often leads to crime, death in some cases, and especially with the girls, prostitution.
More fundamentally, lack of education creates a sense of hopelessness and resignation in terms of the slum residents caring enough to take initiative and attempt to work toward community solutions. The vision of the school is to directly address this issue by reinforcing the value of community service and a moral life.
Consider the director and head teacher of the school, Grace Kavoi.
She trained as a teacher, her husband (while still living) was a police officer, both could have afforded to live in a middle-class neighborhood and live a relatively comfortable life.
About 10 years ago, Grace convinced her husband to move into the Kituii slum noticing the children there were being neglected by their parents, left home all day, and not receiving any kind of education. What started off as a free daycare center for the kids, evolved into a tiny, makeshift classroom where she now voluntarily teaches about 60 children.
Consider the values of somebody who makes a decision like this. The sacrifice. The love. The commitment. The dedication.
Grace (indeed) is inspirational and the chief source of inspiration for the school and the hope for the kind of service minded individual and community leader Malezi will develop.
Why isn't the city government supporting this slum, why isn't there a government school?
Slums generally, particularly this one, are neglected by the city government, basic services are not provided despite residents being tax payers. We can speculate about all the reasons why, the bottom line is that slums and their residents are not a priority of the government.
Even if there were a "free" government school near Kituii, none of our children would be able to go. Government schools charge for admission and food, costs that immediately rule out any child living in poverty from attending.
The Malezi school is picking up where the government leaves off and will offer highly affordable, low cost education.
Sustainability and Savings Plan
An exciting aspect of the school is the plan for 100% self-reliance, after the initial investment.
Malezi will be an owned property, no rent payment will be due to a landlord.
We will insist on a token school fee for each parent to commit to, going no lower than 100 Kenyan Shillings/month ($1.20). This will provide income to the school and force the issue of parental involvement. You find that parents have not gone through an education process themselves and don't see the reason why their children should—if parents don't value education, their children won't either.
The budget includes a purchase of a 10,000 litre water tank to enable the school to sell water to the surrounding residents—being centrally located, this project will do well. We project profits nearing $360/month and when combined with school fees, overhead for the school will be covered.
Malezi will be brought into being by the generosity of others. In that same spirit, the school will commit to a savings plan and put aside any and all monthly profits for needy residents of the community, children with special needs, another school, etc.
An Experiment of Love
There are millions and millions of poor and neglected children in the world. The children of Kituii Ndogo are no different, no more special, no more deserving than any of the others.
The Malezi school is being launched in a spirit of solidarity and connectedness with the underserved children of the world. We share our success with the understanding that in the interconnected web of humanity—when one changes, all change.
This school is founded in love.
With love for the students, their situation, and fate. With love for humanity. With love for what's possible.
There is no other way this project can come into being.
We're not asking for your money.
What we're looking for is your heartfelt inspiration. That's what the project is being founded in and what will make it a reality and lasting success.
That could be in the form of a donation, a note of support, an idea to make the project better, sharing this page with family, organizing a small fundraiser, etc.
Total amount to launch: $25,000 (see detailed budget).
If you would like to send a check, please email allowthenow[at]gmail[dot]com with subject line 'Malezi School.'