Ag Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Darren Schemmer, visited St Patrick’s Primary School and Thika Working Children Centre in Thika, Kiambu County on July 30, 2014 where he got a taste of Action for Children in Conflict (AfCiC) education empowerment, economic empowerment and school feeding programme.
AfCiC recognises that education is a human right with immense power to reform and in 2005; they introduced the school feeding programme at St Patrick’s Primary School to ensure that pupils stay in school at all times. They also introduced a Child Health Club in the school for the purpose of educating and empowering the pupils on child rights.
In the club, the pupils hold weekly fora discussing issues affecting them in their community and come up with ways of dealing and tackling the issues. They also educate the other pupils in the school by informing them about their rights during parade time. This has helped the pupils build their knowledge, skills and means to transform their lives in both the school and community level.
During the visit, the commissioner engaged the club members in a discussion about their rights and was impressed with the level of confidence and awareness the pupil had concerning their rights as children and encouraged them to inform the other children in the community about child rights.
“It’s pleasant to see how much the pupils know about their rights in the community. This is an excellent opportunity and platform for children to discuss and learn about their rights and know how to tackle the issues affecting them and the society as a whole”
The discussion echoed Mahatma Gandhi’s words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Apart from empowerment and capacity building, the club introduced the Go Green Project where pupils grow vegetables to supplement the school diet hence improving their nutrition.
The commissioner also visited the Thika Working Children Centre which serves as an information hub for all working children in the Thika Sub-County. In addition to simple arithmetic, reading, writing and speaking skills the centre also trains these children on various topics such as self awareness, HIV/AIDS, group dynamics, entrepreneurship skills and reproductive health.
He encouraged the AfCiC staff to keep up the good work with the promise of visiting the programme sites in the near future.