When Kathy and Gary left their home in Winnipeg, Canada, last autumn, they were looking forward to encountering the animals and the people of Kenya on a safari of a lifetime. What they were not expecting was to be agents of change in a school in one of Nairobi’s busiest slums.
A last-minute opportunity came up to personally deliver Freedom Through Learning school supplies at Morningstar Youth Education Centre, a vibrant school community of 235 students crammed into a few small tin buildings on a sloping part of the Kangemi slum. The story of their original visit is here. Kathy and Gary were touched by the positive enthusiasm of the Morningstar education team which so obviously shines through in the students.
Kathy and Gary could see that the building space was running short and something would have to change.
The parents of the school community do the very best they can to support the education of their children, but even the modest cost of pencils, notebooks, uniforms and supplementary fees puts a strain on the finances. With existing resources, Morningstar has been able to construct 8 connected structures with cement floors, tin walls and ceilings, plus desks and home made blackboards. Kathy and Gary could see that the building space was running short and something would have to change. Most parents in the slum subsist on less than $1.25US per day from small enterprises activities such as grain milling, fruit selling, umbrella repairs and so forth. The construction of any new classrooms would need a bit of help from some friends.
Upon their return to Canada, Kathy and Gary immediately set about planning a fundraiser to assist in the construction of a new classroom. “We called it a Bud & Spud & Steak Fundraiser,” says Gary. The couple spent months planning activities including draws, silent auction and video screens that would play images of Morningstar students. Ticket sales involved many friends and supporters who were willing to walk the streets and make the calls that would ultimately lead to a new classroom for Kenyan kids.
“We are blessed with good friends and we knew they would come through,” says Kathy.
“We are blessed with good friends and we knew they would come through,” says Kathy. The event was a complete success, raising enough to secure the necessary adjacent property and construct the new school building, complete with new school supplies! If all the preparations go as planned, the new school building will be constructed in September of 2013, in time for the new school year.