Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet Ushirika Primary school cum Bio centre

An overview of the school compound
Located in the interior of Kibera, lies Ushirika primary school, in the Laini Saba ward. A location only accessed by walking, even when privileged with a car, you can only drive so far. “As a person dealing with community members, you have to walk  to reach all areas,’’ says my supervisor as we venture into Kibera with the January’s scorching sun right ahead of us.

Computer lab and library under construction

Finally, after about one hour of walking we reach our destination, welcomed by the happy screams and laughter of children. The Kibera environment is packed with small crowds headed in different directions,the chocking stench of numerous heaps of garbage on the road side, drainage filled with sewerage, houses made from mud and iron sheets and tractors that were busy with the road construction. We were welcomed by three gentlemen who were members of the school’s board. They gave us a tour around the school explaining what the institution is all about.
Ushirika primary school is located in a small area of land in a malformed shape .The structure of the classes in the school are made in such a way that there are classes on the ground floor and others on the first floor. There are other lower classes located on either side of a small corridor all the way leading to the staff room and offices of the bazaar. Another building led by a wooden stair case leads you to other offices of the school.

An interview with one of the board members
“The school started in 1998 as a dropping  Centre for children that acted more of a daycare for teenage mothers who had dropped out of school. As the number of children amplified, they then started teaching these youngsters. It gradually transformed into a Centre where early childhood education was offered. It advanced to a nursery school in the next three to four years and further into a school that offers education all the way to standard eight,” says Bernard one of the board members. They have so far had four yeas of their students sitting for the Kenya certificate of primary education.

In the year 2014, the board members sat down. Seeing that Kenya and at large the world is moving to the digital side, they decided to firstly, construct a computer laboratory cum library that serves both the community and school children. With support from Umande Trust, their dreams were valid. Umande Trust agreed to fund the construction of the building and in buying the school computers. Secondly, being in the domain of Bio digesters constructed around Kenya under the supervision of Umande Trust, a bio digester is constructed right under the computer laboratory that could help the school in lighting, cooking and in the lab. Finally, the school serves the community by constructing toilets and bathrooms for both the school and community members on either side of the lab.

In conclusion, “We have further partnered with a schools in Australia and Netherlands for an online exchange program for these children,” Bernard says as he stares into the horizon filled with the many iron sheet rooftops below us. The program is meant to give the children a chance to interact and share their ideas such as their cultures, knowledge, education, problems, achievements and the like. “We believe this will make learning interesting and easier and will improve our academics and grades,” he concludes.

By Jill Apiyo.
Community Partnership Intern.