Kibera slum is a division of Nairobi, Kenya, and neighborhood of the city of Nairobi, only 3.1 mi from the city center. It is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa. The total population may be 500,000 to well over 1,000,000 depending on which slums are included in defining Kibera. Most of the Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day doing “casual labor or odd jobs.” Unemployment rates are high. Persons living with HIV in the slum are many, as are AIDS cases. There are few good pre schools, and most people cannot afford an education for their children. Clean water is scarce and therefore diseases caused by related poor hygiene are prevalent. A great majority of people living in the slum lack access to medical care.

* In some of Nairobi’s slum settlements, more than 52% of the population is under age 25.

* 43% of sexually active female adolescents living in Kibera reported that their first sexual experience was forced.

* Girls ages10 to 19 in the Kibera slum in Nairobi are more likely to be out of school than boys (43% versus 29%), and are less likely to have begun school on time (49% of girls as compared to 61% of boys beginning at age 6 or below).

* 54% of women and 23% of men living in Kibera have no reliable source of income.

The Ed Colina Foundation Initial Support in Kibera

Ed Colina first visited the streets and alleys of Kibera in April, 2007. As early as 2009, the Foundation began its financial support of a small preschool, Jitahidi (meaning “make an effort”) located in the Kibera slums. At that time, Jitahidi’s enrollment was approximately 80 students. The foundation began the support of Jitahidi School by providing books, some food and slowly began to extend support by purchasing kitchen equipment and providing a breakfast and lunch program for its 80 students. We also began the project of remodeling the structures adding cement floors, a new roof and classroom dividers in the expanding school. As the food program grew, so did the enrollment. The school currently serves 279 students. The Foundation paid school fees for any orphaned students and created an income generating activity.  Our goals for the school included sustainability and so, little by little, the Foundation withdrew its support and reduced contributions to teachers’ salaries, food costs and tuition assistance. The school, due to its increased enrolment, expanded to a church rental location and eventually was able to collect sufficient school fees to become self-sustaining. In January of 2016, The Ed Colina Foundation suspended its financial support to Jitahidi Kibera School and it continues to succeed on its own as a community preschool.

Opportunity for New Pre-School in Kibera

In 2015 the foundation received assistance from a high school classmate of Ed’s as well as a beginning-of-school donation from St. Henry District High School to begin another pre-school in Kibera, specifically in the Soweto area of the slum.  With these donations, we purchased pre-school tables, chairs, plates and cups for the new school.  We hired a Head Teacher who we previously worked with at Jitahidi.  We located a rental space, an evangelical church in the Soweto area.  We made minor renovations and constructed room dividers, dug a new latrine and worked with the church to share costs of renovations. Uniforms were also purchased for Class 1 students.

Land directly across from the church became available in early 2016 and after negotiations with the community and Chief, we purchased the small piece of land which had small dwellings on it.  After the inhabitants were given a month to relocate, we demolished these structures and built an iron sheet wall around the property.  Shortly after that, 4 other houses became available and were purchase with the assistance of Our Lady of Visitation School carnival donations.  We are grateful to the donors that made the purchase of the land possible as well as the donor family for the construction.  Recently we received a grant for additional materials, fire extinguishers, uniforms and more from La Madre de los Pobres, a California based “Foundation for the World’s Hungry”. We are very grateful.


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