Bright Hope partners with Mathare Community Outreach (MCO), which operates in Mathare Valley. MCO focuses on two slums in this region; the first is one of the oldest, biggest, and worst slums in Nairobi, and second is a large slum in Kariobangi. These areas are characterized by abject poverty, rampant crime, lack of functional utilities, and a large number of single headed households. Social amenities such as public schools and health services are very limited. The living conditions are horrific. Too many people are living in tiny shelters made of galvanized iron sheets nailed together to make 6′ x 6′ cubicles. A dirty river of garbage and human waste runs through the middle of the slum and acts as its only sewage system.
MCO operates three schools for over 1,400 children and an orphanage in Kariobangi. The schools offer education from pre-school through Form 4 (high school). Bright Hope supports MCO through various programs including student school feeding program, vocational scholarships, teacher and administrative training, school management improvement through technology, and income generation development.
Through the generosity of Etihad Airways, four Bright Hope volunteers traveled to the Mathare Valley to assist in the maintenance of these schools and community support programs. The volunteers were able to achieve the following
- 25 extensive family surveys were conducted for a baseline study. These findings are extremely important to understand how they value education and their financial capability to pay for school tuition.
- 3 community leader interviews were completed. This information provides guidance on what level of support the community can give to schools.
- 10 vocational scholarship recipients were interviewed. This program has grown significantly and it is important to track the progress of each student. From these interviews we capture a true glimpse of what dreams are possible for young people to achieve within the urban slum paradigm.
- Evaluated teacher training program led by Dignitas Leadership. Over 45 teachers have been trained at the three schools during the last two years. Improving teaching skills is imperative if education is truly going to be the answer in solving poverty.