Nutrition for better learning
School feeding has been run by ConnectSwiss in two schools: Kigama Primary and Kakemer Pre-schools for over 10 years. Children receive a daily cup of porridge made with milk. This is hugely important for school attendance during “hungry” periods (when maize from harvests has run out) as children do not skip school to look for food when they know that they will get a nourishing cup of porridge.
Secondary school fees with the cost of books, meals, and uniforms still exceed 600 francs a year. When, in some villages, 80% of families are trying to live on less than one franc a day it becomes impossible to educate children beyond primary school.
To address this we opened our own mixed secondary day school in Vihiga County, Kenya, which follows the Kenyan curriculum with international standards. We provide a positive learning environment, breakfast, lunch, textbooks and all the materials needed. With extra curricular activities including films, books and sports, we do our best to make this village school a unique learning opportunity for teenagers.
Upskilling in rural areas
This small sewing school in Teso North has incredibly enthusiastic students, especially older women who wanted to learn a new skill to help clothe their families. At the end of the year all students are given an attendance certificate to show they had acquired new dress making skills. They also receive material to make school uniforms for underprivileged special needs children at St. Luke’s Special Needs School.
SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL
A unique opportunity
Today more than 80 children are registered at St Luke’s special needs school built with our Swiss partner, Don du Choeur. There is no other school in Teso North that assists special needs children and without this school, most of the children would remain at home with no assistance or hope of any learning.
St Luke’s is managed by the Government, but was built by ConnectSwiss from funds raised by Don du Choeur and opened in 2014. It was thought the school would serve up to 50 special needs children from the area but by 2020, already had over 80 pupils with various special needs such as Down’s Syndrome, learning difficulties as well as physical disabilities like deafness.
Jumpstart for school readiness
Although primary school is free, classes often have 60 to 70 pupils in one classroom and the schools therefore require a satisfactory level of "school readiness" for enrollment. Pre-primary school remains fee paying and the poorest children are unable to attend.
We opened our secondary school to provide a high-quality education for bright but poor students. Our focus is on providing an excellent learning environment with partial or full subsidies. The students consistently perform exceptionally well, the school results are 1st in the sub-county of Emuhaya.
Young people who would otherwise be at home unemployed can come to one of our centres to be trained in basic computer skills. Many young people have been able to find jobs in nearby towns using the skills learned at these centres.
These centres are also places where activities for younger children can be run after school or during school holidays. We work with two local government schools giving primary school children their first introduction to computers and secondary school students enjoy computer studies as an extra curriculum subject. They also have access to board games, chess, puzzles, mastermind and more!
Education is the only permanent development. The 2009 Kenya population census* showed that approximately 10% of youth have never attended any form of school and another 65% have incomplete secondary education. Of the less than 50% of high school students who do complete their secondary education, 45% of them obtain such low grades that they end up in the informal sector where wages are very low.
INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE SCHOOL
people finish secondary education*
1 in 5
Children equipped with life transforming skills and knowledge through education are able to build themselves, their communities and their economy a bright future.
* "High school drop-out rate threatens Vision 2030 goal." Business Daily - 12 February 2013
Providing more opportunities
At a glance:
- Free Certificate training in computer skills, first aid and leadership.
- A safe place to socialise and play sports.
- Small library with reference books for students.
- All are welcome, but the centres target young people who cannot afford high school fees and unemployed youth.
50 chf / month
over 4 years will cover a young person's high school education
Primary schools are overflowing with children while resources remain very limited. This is especially true in rural areas where school facilities are inadequate or even non-existant. We have been getting alongside government schools in order to maximise children’s health and learning.
Helping government schools
At a glance:
- Classroom construction & renovations.
- Toilet construction for adequate sanitation.
- Assistance with basic materials such as textbooks and pencils.
- School feeding. A daily cup of porridge with milk and sugar helps boost grades and attendance.
- Tree planting for school income and education.
That's why we opened the "Jumpstart" Pre-Primary for 25 children who had not been able to attend otherwise. The school's philosophy is to encourage learning through play and to build each child's self-confidence. Many learning materials and books were donated but furniture and school supplies are bought locally. The children receive daily morning porridge for breakfast and a nutritious lunch to give the best start possible to these young lives.
We also donate materials, books and furniture to pre-primary classes in local schools.