My name is John David a student from St. Charles Lwanga children Centre. I grew up in Kibera (Largest slum in Nairobi) without a father, my mother got sick and I shifted to live with my elderly grandmother in Ruai. My grandmother had no job to cater for our daily and our basic needs. It pained me so much how she used to move from one place to another in search of job. She took me to school but life didn't change in fact it become worse as she could not afford the school fees. It is due to these challenges I dropped out of school and run into the streets in search of food and a job which could help me take care of my mother and grandmother. For me to fit in the street life I had to use of very harmful drugs like bhang, khat, glue and many others. I stayed in that harmful environment for about 4 years, I lost focus on education and gave up in life. I cursed each day of my life because it was full of challenges. My grandmother took her efforts of searching for me and only found me in Dandora slums, a very arrogant and dirty boy. She took me back home where I joined a nearby school. It was while in Ruai that I met Brother Kennedy who welcomed me to his school. In the school I am very happy with my fellow students and am able to get three meals a day which I didn't get back at home. The Centre is a home for us, where we find love and care which we don’t get in our families. May God Bless Brother Kennedy for giving hope back in my life. Through the guidance and counseling offered at the Centre I am able to heal from the wounds of self-denial and hatred. I am happy at school as am able to exercise my talent as a comedian. I would like to be an artist where I would use my music to teach other children on the dangers of drugs.
This video is of the St Charles Lwanga School Choir under the direction of Geoffrey the school choir director.
Geoffrey is a student of Betty Jane Cameron.
It is so heart warming to hear the beautiful voices of the Lwanga school children.
Last week the Centre organized for self-directed learning in the form of a symposium where the children were to demonstrate in action what they learn in class. They got to show their different capabilities in various fields example in sciences, languages and other educative demonstrations. This was a wonderful moment for the students and the teachers as this helped our students to understand better what is taught in class and also the teacher was able to evaluate their students. It was a lot of fun for both the students and the entire staff. The photos below show the students showing their skills.
This week we had an academic clinic day for the form ones and twos. Their guardians interacted one on one with the teachers to find out the performance of their sons and daughters in class. They discussed at length on how to improve their strengths on their studies and their talents. The photos below show the teachers discussing on the child’s academic progress.
We also had a motivational talk which was well facilitated by Father Oronjo who is a brother to Brother Kennedy. It was an inspiring moment where he taught the students on virtues of faith, hope and charity.
The poultry project has been productive as we collect eggs daily with which we make income. It has also created a job opportunity to one of our former student who is taking care of the chicken and also our garden where we have planted some vegetables. The project has encouraged the students in their learning, as they are able to work out their agricultural practicals well.
The garden vegetables are used in feeding the children though the yields have not been much due to poor soil drainage and diseases amongst others challenges. We therefore request for Green house farming which requires less land and the yields are much to boost our feeding program .The green house will also create some employment to our children who complete school and have not yet joined their tertiary education.
The journalism club members have a project of production of a school magazine. The project aims at promoting the different talents in our children, marketing the school and also earn some income which will be used by the children in their learning. The project will cost 300 USD for its publication. We therefore are appealing for assistance in raising the funds for the magazine publication.
Report prepared by: Florence Maina
Click here to learn about the latest fundraiser organized by Inverness County Cares, in Nova Scotia, Canada.
A short video/Power Point concerning the St Charles Lwanga School has been posted to YouTube.
You Tube video of Br Kennedy's presentation, Democratic education in Africa – How to teach equality in an unequal society- at the IDEC@EUDEC – INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION CONFERENCE
June 6-10th 2016 in Mikkeli, Finland-
This is a link to Br Kennedy's presentation at the conference
ST. CHARLES LWANGA CHILDREN CENTRE AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
It has been a wonderful week of the term and all programs are running on well. Learning activities have been very effective with the teachers and students attending well to their classes. Other programs such as clubs, are also in progress which helps in the development and shaping of the various talents we have at school.
We have a major challenge with the latrines since we have three latrines, which are shared by the children: the girls have one latrine as well as the boys and the other latrine is used by the staff members. We are requesting for kind support in construction and renovation of the existing latrines, which will help in improving the school hygienic levels and also reduce time wasted by the students as they queue at the latrines. The cost of constructing the latrine is $3,500 USD.
We are faced by the challenge of our classroom floors where they need urgent renovation. The current condition of the floor makes it hard to do the cleaning and also for the students to write properly as the desks are not stable on the floor.
Brother Kennedy visited Finland for one week where he attended the IDEC conference (International Democratic Education Conference) and made a presentation on Democratic education in Africa. In his speech he expressed the need of a democratic school in Kenya where children are active participants and co-creators of their own learning. He also expressed the academic inequality in our schools, where most school locks out the poor children who do not perform well, those who do not conform to the expected behaviour of our society. These are the children our schools are throwing out in the streets as they did not get the set pass marks to the next level .He expressed the value of these children as people who teach us tolerance, patience and contentment in our lives.
Brother Norman who is one of the staff members and in charge of boarding at the Centre lost his father and some of our students and staff members accompanied him for the burial, which was on 18th June 2016. It was during this time that we took a walk around the village where we met this poor child drawing water from a spring for her elderly grandmother. The child was very hungry from school and was expected to carry a very huge bucket of water home. She was out of school, as she had not paid her school fees. We accompanied the child to her home as the staff members helped her carry the huge bucket of water home where we met the grandmother. Our staff members made kind contribution towards the family which would aid the child in buying her some books, going back to school, uniform and shoes.
The staff members helping the child carry her water home .The bucket of water was quite heavy and she was expected to carry it up the hill to her home.
We also meet other needy children from the village who are in dire need of school uniforms, school fees, school bags, shoes and basic needs amongst other needs.
Visitor from Equity Bank
We got a visit from Equity Bank, the manager of Equity Bank, Ruai, and his colleague. They encouraged the students to work hard and get good grades. They promised to be coming to the school to give talks on career guidance and financial management. The pictures below show them with the Director Brother John Kennedy, talking to the students.
We wish to express our condolence to the families of Brother Norman and Rosemary Owuor who lost their fathers. Rosemary is one of our Centre board member and her dad has been sick for a while at the hospital where he passed on. The body will be laid to rest on 2nd July 2016 in Kisumu. Let’s join together and pray for these families during this painful moment of their lives.
Report prepared by: Florence Maina
St. Charles Lwanga Children Centre
Report on School Activities
Learning is in progress with teachers and the students attending their classes effectively. We have sixteen volunteer teachers who are tirelessly assisting the children in their studies and also in other school activities. The government has also sent three teachers to do their teaching practice in our school which will boost our learning process.
We had an academic clinic with the guardians of our form three and four children . The main objective of the academic clinic was to encourage the students on their studies and give them hope for a brighter tomorrow. The children visited the subject teachers with their guardians as shown in the photos below .
We appreciate Madam Caroline for her great gesture of donating sanitary towels to our girls .She read from our website fabiola’s story who was expressing the need of sanitary towels to our girls .Happiness was evident in the girls faces as this is one of their necessity . The sanitary towels will help in raising the self –esteem and confidence in our girls.
It is during the rainy season and the season is accompanied by mad ,flooding water and cold .To respond to the flooding water ,we have poured ballast which absorbs the stagnating water .This has helped in promoting the students cleanliness and also reduce the breeding places for the mosquitoes .
Poultry farming is a project that was started by SCAWS ROOST ( sleeping children organization) in 2015. The project has been productive as we collect eggs daily which we sell to make an income .It has also created a job opportunity to one of our former student who was our head boy and is now in charge of the project .It has boosted the agricultural practical’s as the students can learn the basic of poultry farming.
Major challenges .
We have a challenge in raising the teachers stipend which acts as a motivation and an appreciation to our teachers .The volunteer teachers are doing a great job in shaping the behavior of our children ..The other challenge is in feeding the poultry ,disease control and cannibalism as the space is also not enough. We therefore request for assistance in supporting the teaching staff and the poultry farming .
We appreciate the efforts made by Brother Kennedy and all our benefactors for supporting us in our school activities .May God bless you .
Report prepared by :
DEC@EUDEC – INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION CONFERENCE
June 6-10th 2016 in Mikkeli, Finland
Brother Kennedy will be speaking at this conference. His bio from the conference website is below.
Br John Kennedy is a brother of the congregation of St Charles Lwanga. He has attended the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the administrator and founder of the St Charles Lwanga Children’s Centre and Secondary School in Ruai, Nairobi, Kenya.
On December 8th, 2012, director Brother Kennedy Omondi received his diploma in Leadership and Community Development from St Francis Xavier University and the Coady International Institute, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has also a diploma on advocacy and religious studies.
The Coady International Institute’s 19-week diploma provides a critical and reflective framework for experienced development practitioners to enhance their leadership competencies and their abilities to motivate and support people in creating a better world for future generations. The program is inspired by cutting-edge action research and deeply rooted in a community-driven approach that draws on over 50 years of experience. The program strengthens the capacity of development leaders to ask the questions confronting development and social justice today – and proposes pragmatic strategies for change. Throughout the program a collaborative relationship is fostered among facilitators and participants to draw out lessons and insights from their rich and diverse experiences.
“My motto is to make people come from grass to grace.”
Also featured at the conference are Justo Mendez & Ana Yris Founders and directors of Nuestra Escuela, Puerto Rico and solid defenders of public education.
Ana Yris Guzmán Torres is co-founder and Executive Director of Nuestra Escuela (Our School), alongside with her husband and president Justo Méndez Arámburu. Nuestra Escuela is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2000, that offers alternative educational services to young people who have left school without completing their high school education. Nuestra Escuela has several educational centres in Puerto Rico and a sister school in Nairobi, Kenia, named Shule Yetu. Being able to work and participate in the creation of a new services model that meets the talents and needs of young people is their greatest inspiration. Both Ana Yris and Justo have been solid defenders of public education, sharing practices, experiences and ideas with Puerto Rico’s public education system and policy makers.