Education plays a huge role in the development of a child’s future, and we endeavour to use a number of programmes and resources to ensure that all the children we work with have both access to education, as well as the best chance possible of staying in school once they are there. Our Education Empowerment programme at AfCiC is built on a number of key objectives, which were formed via the introduction of the School Dropout Prevention Programme (SDPP) in 2007. They are;
1. To prevent children from dropping out of school
2. To give school children more power to face challenges
3. To improve the education level in public primary school
4. To see less number of children on the streets
At AfCiC, we have a number of programmes in place which help us to work towards these objectives;
School Feeding Programs
AfCiC has identified three schools in the district, St. Patricks, Garissa Road and Karibaribi, that are extremely poor. Hunger is often a reason cited by street children as to why they felt it necessary to come to the streets, and with this in mind, we provide feeding programs in these three schools, where over 1000 children are provided with well-cooked and nutritious meals, and kitchen staff are paid (by AfCiC) to ensure the smooth roll-out of this programme.
Bransgore Rotary feeds Karibaribi.
School Holiday Clubs
School holiday club take place during the school holidays (April, August and December), and were started in 2008 as a reaction to the large numbers of children seen on the streets in Thika during these times. The club at Garissa Road Primary School provides a safe space for the children, and engages them in fun, non-formal education activities, as well as providing a nutritious daily meal. The club attracts children from different schools in the municipality, and as well as the basic provisions described above, the clubs provide excellent life skills education, basic literacy and numeracy, on-site counseling, a free dental service, community fire safety training, and other sports and recreational activities. Along with the feeding programmes, the holiday club also provides us with an opportunity to guage any really serious needs in some of the children, whereby some of our other programmes may be relevant for them. We would be delighted to welcome volunteers to help with these clubs, or with any other work that we do – if you are interested, please click here.
School uniform, fees and equipment
Like hunger, an inability to buy school uniform, pay school fees, or get the right school books, can be the catalyst for a child to drop out of school and go to the streets. We pay for those most in need to attain uniforms, and it is through the holiday club and school feeding programmes that we are able to identify the most at risk children in these areas.
The Prison Program
This program was started in 2009 as AfCiC provided play therapy sessions to children, normally under 5 years old, who had to accompany their mother to prison. Later, this scheme developed to provide for any children left at home, with AfCiC acting as an intermediary between home and prison.
AfCiC now provides numerous methods of support and counselling to both the mother and the child in these situations, both in and out of prison. They include;
- Home visits
- Professional counseling
- School uniforms and nursery tuition fees
- Networking and collaboration with other local organisations
- Link to families and children
- Safety and protection of children left with carers/guardians
- Economic empowerment for women released, as well as their older children
It is clear from our work with vulnerable children that a child reaches a critical point when they drop out of school, and that this drop out can help to be prevented from within the school itself if teachers are provided with special training and knowledge on the child’s’ issues. With the help of a local agency, we conduct training sessions with local teachers on topics ranging from teamwork skills to child rights to help equip teachers.
Despite the enactment of the Children’s Act in 2001, there are still many barriers to children securing their rights in Kenya, especially the right to Education. We therefore conduct a series of advocacy workshops to tackle these issues, working with the children themselves, teachers, social workers and health practitioners on children’s rights, child sexual abuse and parental responsibilities. We even help children with their debating skills once a year.