The Rotary Education Centre was born of a dream to build a solid structure for the Kibera community to learn and share ideas and a generous donation of £500 (56,839 Kenyan Shillings) from the Blandford Stour Rotary Club.
After much discussion about how best to use the funds, we decided to buy a small plot of land in Kibera which could be built upon. Land is hard to find in the slum, but we managed to find a good area, which is close to the current classroom/library set-up. We then started our plans to build an Education Centre that would become a place where the children can always go to, a facility that Mpira Mtaani will own and be responsible for. We worked hard to raise funds to pay for materials, labour and tools in order to start building on the land.
The project has been a huge success; the total amount of money we raised is 5,000 GBP 645,315. KES. As well as our schools, many friends, family, parents and colleagues from England and Kenya have also generously donated money and resources. We have been overwhelmed by how much support and enthusiasm we have had from people we know and even people we do not know.
The building was finally finished in August 2010 and since then, hundreds of very happy children have been using the facility for extra tuition, playing games, watching educational DVDs and simply a place to see their friends and feel safe. Vincent said that many children feel like it is ‘their second home’. The building is light and well-designed and consequently, it has proved to be a wonderful space for the children to use. The floor has been tiled and electricity has been put in. However, there are many occasions when they cannot rely on electricity and have to use kerosene lamps, 17 of which were donated by children at The Banda School.
On Sunday 3rd October we had our ‘Official Opening’. A group of parents, guests and visitors watched many of the children perform a variety of songs, poems and dances to celebrate the opening of the Centre. The volunteer teachers made a speech and we were all very moved by how grateful and positive the children were. It was very uplifting and extremely rewarding.
Many of the children who come to the Centre are from very underprivileged backgrounds or single parent families where education is not a priority, compared to having enough food and water. Mpira Mtaani (KIMTA) provides free tuition and a place where the children can study in the evenings. We recently have installed a television and play all the Priemership football matches, giving children a real sense of family and fun, removed from conditions t home. Mpira Mtaani (KIMTA) has made a difference to their lives and we will strive to continue to benefit many more children in the future.
We hope that this will be an on-going project as there are still many things we would like to be able to provide. For example, an outside seating area with shade netting for the community to use, guttering and a tank to provide the children with drinking water, more shelves and desks for the children to work at. Donations towards this education centre are enabled through our 'Support Kimta' page on the website.