Education is Everything
David’s 3rd Photo Blog from East Africa
Most Kenyan parents know that the only hope that their children have of escaping poverty is through an education. So parents who live in Nairobi’s most squalid slums—that are unimaginable by Western standards—go to work every day on the outside, working at the lowest-paying jobs in order to earn enough for their children to attend school.
Primary school, which includes grades 1-8, is theoretically free in Kenya, but not in reality. Parents must pay for books, paper, pencils, and school uniforms. For many, that burden is too big. Because teachers are underpaid and classes are overcrowded, students often don’t make progress unless parents can pay their children’s teachers for after-school classes or private tutoring.
So I’m glad Heaven’s Family’s Education Ministry has been assisting several private Christian schools in Kenya, including Jocada Academy, located in one of Nairobi’s largest slums. The founder is a saint named Carolyn Irasundra, who has been my friend for quite a few years.
If Carolyn’s school existed in the U.S., the school “building” would be condemned. It is constructed of rusted tin sheets, rough lumber and tree branches—just like so many of the slum houses where the students live. The “classrooms” have no windows. The floors are rough concrete, and the simple desks are made of rough-cut lumber.
Educationally, things are improving as our Education Ministry finds more $20-per-month child sponsors, which enables Jocada Academy to provide school books, supplement tuition for extremely poor children, and attract better teachers through higher wages. We’d really like to dramatically improve the school building as well.
Below are some portraits I took today of Jocada students who need sponsors, as well as a photo of the school entrance and a view of the street just outside the school entrance. As horrible as those photos make it look, in reality it is significantly worse when you see it (and smell it) in person.
If you would like to sponsor a student at Jocada Academy, just click here. Your investment can change a child’s life.