On February 14th 2007 a party of 14 people, six from Jersey and eight from Belfast went to Nairobi to see the progress of our new school in Kwan Jenga Slum and open “The Red Roof Academy”. Parents and children alike attended the opening celebration on 23rd, when the district officer of Embakasi declared the school officially open. A grand party was held afterwards with food and drink for everyone.
The first intake of children will be on May 7th when the new school term begins. Initially, there will be three classes of 20 children, with the numbers gradually increasing. Uniforms, books and equipment have already been purchased for the new intake so it will be great to get photos of the new children in “The Red Roof Academy”.
It was a close run thing to get the school ready in time, as quite a lot of the roof tiles had to be carried by hand from about half a mile away as the lorries could get no further on the bad roads. However, after working well into the night, all the concreting and tile laying was completed.
The 2007 Christmas party for the Mathare school children went really well this year, although again it was held in February! A huge bouncy castle was hired, a sight that the kids had never seen before! The look on their faces made it all worthwhile. Sausage and chips was followed by ice cream and then a magician and a clown supplied the entertainment. Each child received a party bag and a personal pencil case with their name embroided on it. These had been made by Glengormley High School back in Northern Ireland. Thanks guys!
The Sports Day, as usual was a great day out. Each member of the group took a small party of children and played football, netball, and other games with them. There was even a kite for the children to play with, which went down very well indeed. The Belfast party had brought four entire football kits and a variety of Liverpool and Man Utd shirts. These were split up amongst the most needy.
With the density of buildings in the Slums, there is not much space for games of any sort and the only chance the kids had to really break out was when they came down and used the hotel’s Sport Centre and playing fields. Unfortunately, the school is not allowed to use the centre without accompanying hotel guests but what time they had there they thoroughly enjoyed.
The NSSPT has just bought another piece of land in Mathare Slum so that a new school can be built and the117 children can be moved to this more secure plot. The reason for this is that the current location is not permanent and the school could be thrown out at anytime. The district officer, Hassan, who opened the Kwan Jenga School, was so impressed with our project that he donated a piece of land in the slum next to Kwan Jenga, called the Rubin Slum. This has been fenced off and reserved for future work when more money becomes available. Rubin currently only has one school.