Kenyan Child Foundation - Registered Charity Number (RCN) 20100452 - Approved by the Charities Regulator

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The Kenyan Child Foundation, Author at Kenyan Child Foundation

The Kenyan Child Foundation: Developing New Horizons in Slums in Nairobi.

The Songa School: Developing New Horizons in Slums          

The Kenyan Child Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its second educational project in Nairobi, Kenya. The initiative will develop a teaching center for children living with disabilities in the Mukuru slums of Nairobi. Our vision is to construct a child-centered facility for over 200 students – classrooms, gardens, playground, cafeteria and care rooms – to offer opportunities to the children who need it most, named the Songa School.

Over 500,000 people live in the Mukuru Slums which are located a few kilometers away from the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. Stretching along the highly polluted Nairobi Ngong river and beside the municipal city dump, Mukuru is one of the largest slums in Nairobi and Africa. It is located inside the abandoned wasteland of a former industrial area of the city. Families here face huge barriers to formal education, basic amenities such as water are in extremely short supply and there is almost no access to sanitation facilities. Open sewerage runs along the streets.

The Kenyan Child Foundation aims to offer better educational opportunities to children living with disabilities in Mukuru, as they are some of the most socially disadvantaged people living in the slum. Due to stigma, children and people living with disabilities are sometimes seen as a source of fear and shame in Kenya, with some tribal cultures viewing disability as a curse. Faced with such adversity, people living with disabilities are five times more likely to be abused in slums in Kenya. Part of the Kenyan Child Foundation’s aim is to use education as a tool to dispel such beliefs, primarily by offering new educational opportunities to these children and through our advocacy work.

The construction project will be managed over a timeframe of 48 weeks and will comprise of new purpose-built educational facility of over 14,900 sq ft. The project aims to reach completion in Summer 2021. The Songa school derives its name from the Swahili, to advance. We believe that the students of this school will have the chance to build a better life for themselves with the education and tools they receive there.

The Kenyan Child Foundation is also pleased to announce that during the current Covid – 19 Global Pandemic our partners, doners & volunteers have continued to work with great success on this project that will make a real difference to the lives of the children living with disabilities in Mukuru, Nairobi.

The Kenyan Child Foundation would like to thank the partnership and operational expertise of the Mukuru Promotion Centre (MPC) who are beneficiaries of this educational project. Similarly, the Kenyan Child Foundation greatly appreciates the support from our donors and volunteers: without their resources and time, achieving these critical projects simply would not be possible.

Life in Kawese during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Life in Kawese during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the global outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020, life across Kenya has been affected similarly as in countries across Africa. When the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Kenya during late March, restrictions included a nationwide curfew. This was imposed across the country from March 27, limiting movement from 07:00 PM to 05:00 AM.

Schools have also been significantly affected. Our school, St. Patrick’s Kawese, like institutions across the country, was closed until October 2020. To ensure the safety of students and staff, strong hygiene measures have been implemented, some of which have been a challenge at the school. The provision of clean water for hand washing, a key defence against the disease, is a challenge when the majority of Kenyan households do not have access to running water. Basic utilities such as soap can be extremely difficult to afford for Kenyans.

Culturally, it is also important to consider that the people of Kawese are very sociable. People greet each other with handshakes and hugs and spend much of their time in groups for meals, ceremonies and celebrations.

The people of Kawese do not have access to a stable income or state-led supports to supplement their earnings during a pandemic. Subsistence farming is main source of livelihoods for the village. Faced with a night-time curfew and restricted movements through lockdown, the people’s capacity to make a living, and tend to their crops are significantly curtailed.

While in Ireland, many schools moved to online learning, internet access is widely unavailable in Rural Kenya. Many families do not have the devices to take part in remote schooling. Nevertheless, a more accessible approach was adopted to provide alternatives for ongoing curriculum delivery through radio broadcasting.

The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Kenya Broadcasting Company, broadcasted educational radio programs in English for around five hours per day from Monday to Friday. The programs provided lessons in English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Science, Hygiene and Nutrition and Civic Education.

At St Patrick’s Kawese, the Kenyan Child Foundation continued to provide the breakfast club and nutrition programme for the students so their health and immunity was protected during the pandemic. In October 2020, a partial reopening for the Standard 4 and Standard 8 grades was rolled out, including in St Patrick’s Kawese. The students in these grades are preparing for state examinations. Schools have now opened fully for all students and grades since January 2021.

Children in these grades are following strong hygiene protocols, including handwashing and wearing masks while at school. Seating arrangements have also been revised, with children being spread out across a range of classrooms to ensure social distancing is maximised indoors.

This is a great welcome change for the people of Kawese and the teaching staff of the school. While Kenya faces a range of structural challenges to education, the pleasant climate allows students to be taught outdoors, which greatly minimises the spread of coronavirus. The children of the village are pleased to return to St Patrick’s Kawese. The Kenyan Child Foundation wishes all students and staff a safe and happy school year.




Outreach 2019

The summer outreach group were delighted once again to work in a spirit of partnership and collaboration with the teachers and pupils of St Patrick’s Primary School, Kawese.

Some highlights this year were:

  1. Teaching and learning in cooperation with the staff and pupils of St Patrick’s Primary School
  2. Presenting Women’s Health workshops for the families of the locality to include lessons on consent, general health, self esteem and reproduction.
  3. Setting up the new infant/nursery classroom with colourful equipment resources and furniture to promote child centred space and curriculum
  4. Meeting and updating the Board of Management of the School and the representatives of the Kenyan Department of Education and science.
  5. Planning for the annual school tour to Nairobi National Museum and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 30/07/19.
  6. Visiting the Mukuru Promotion Centre in Nairobi and observing the work of the staff, teachers and carers of St Catherine’s, Songa and the street children rehabilitation centre. We were welcomed by Sr. Mary Killeen, who has worked with the disadvantaged in the slums of Nairobi for over thirty years.
  7. Visiting the children’s homes in the area and the local secondary school, The Holy Ghost School, Sultan Hamud
  8. Celebrating with the staff and children at the Festival of Welcomes in the School alongside the Maasai and Kamba tribes, with singing, dancing as well as some rhymes and poems from each standard at the school. We even had a performance of Molly Malone from the Hollypark teachers.

The Kenyan Child Foundation commends our wonderful volunteers for their spirit of hard work  and diligence during the outreach trip. We are grateful for their assistance during our fundraising campaigns throughout the year. We appreciate their energy and good will during our travels this summer.

We wish them every success in their future studies and careers and hope that they may someday return with us to Kenya. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Ní neart go cur le chéile. Go raibh míle maith ag gach éinne.

Asanté sana.

Irish Ambassador visits St Patrick’s

The Kenyan Child Foundation was delighted to invite Dr. Vincent O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya and Somalia, to the grand opening of phase 3 of St. Patrick’s Primary school. He has been following the progress at the school since the beginning of the project in 2015. I am sure he envisioned a standard event with flags, ceremony and speeches.. but this was not to be!

The roads around the village of Kawese had been washed away by floods making them impassable so that cars, jeeps, even the local motorbikes or bodaboda could not make it along the paths to the school! There was no alternative – the Ambassador would have to travel by ox cart!

Dr. O’Neill had promised the children and their parents that he would attend their special event and on Sunday the 6th of May, he didn’t disappoint!!  You can imagine how surprised they all were to see him enter the compound in a trailer pulled by oxen! Not to mention, the many other visitors and dignitaries from the County Education Board who also had to wade through the floods to get to the school that day.

The Kenyan Child Foundation, the children of Kawese, their teachers and parents were honoured to have Dr. O’Neill officially open the 5 new classrooms as part of phase 3 at the school. He is a shining example to all who work overseas as representatives of the Irish Government and on behalf of the Irish people to promote development and education in Kenya.

“As Irish Ambassador to Kenya, I am very proud of the relationship between our two countries. We are friends. We are proud that Ireland has worked in a friendly spirit of partnership to help in the development for many, many years. The fact that this school is called St. Patrick’s will mean that you have a little piece of Ireland with you forever. But let’s not forget that it is really a celebration for the children here today. Because what we are celebrating is their futures and the way they can contribute to their communities, their families, and to Kenya in the future.”

  • Extract from speech made by Dr. O’Neill – May 6th

Dr. O’Neill has become something of a social media celebrity in Africa and here in Ireland on foot of his actions in Kawese this May. Social media went into overdrive when they saw an Irish ambassador prepared to travel by ox cart to meet and prioritise children and the Irish charity who support them in a remote community in Kenya. We thank him for his bravery and courage.

Asante Kwa Kutumia Muda Na Sisi Dr. O’Neill

Thank you for spending some time with us.

Article from Merrion Street about the Ambassador’s visit to Kawese





Accountancy Awards 2018

The Irish Accountancy awards were held in the Ballsbridge Hotel on the 26th of April 2018.

John McCarrick & Associates and The Kenyan Child Foundation were once again delighted to be named the winners of the Corporate and Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year.

The judges were “won over by the sheer scope of the Kenyan Child foundation initiative. It is ambitious in what it sought to achieve.” They were “impressed with the planning that went into it and the amount of work devoted to it to make it a reality.” They commended everyone at John McCarrick & Associates for the Kenyan Child Foundation initiative.