The story so far…
In spite of the progress registered in Kenya, this country also has witnessed violence and internal strive after the 2008 elections. After registering so many victims, the different factions started useful negotiations that brought about the much needed stability. The results of the constitutional referendum of August 2010 give hope for stability.
Bondo District in Western Kenya is ranked amongst the poorest districts in Kenya and suffers from the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country. About 2,300 of the 7,000 school-age children in the area are orphans, living with relatives’ families. The economy is based on small-scale farming and on fishing.
Got Matar Secondary School
1. Got Matar Secondary School
The school is located in Bondo District, one of the poorest districts in Kenya, where the incidence of HIV/AIDS is extremely high (33% of school aged children are HIV/AIDS orphans in one locality of the district).In 2006 local residents decided that their highest priority was the building of a secondary school to enable children who qualify for entry into secondary school to continue their studies while staying close to their homes and asked some of their friends to assist them in that endeavour.
SONIA joined other organizations and individual funders to bring this project to fruition. In less than 4 years the school was completed; it was built in a modular fashion in order to allow for increasing school intake since 2007 and it consists of four large blocks for a total of 12 classrooms, a school office/teachers’ room, a library, a small multipurpose science laboratory and a computer training centre for an intake of 600 students. In 2008 a bursary fund was created to enrol HIV/AIDS-related orphans, which has been well functioning since then. On average, there are between 150-160 bursary awardees per year out of the 600 pupils in attendance. The local partners then started an Institute of Technology that offers training in practical skills and that, as a by-product, generates income for the bursary fund through sales of products and services. The training programmes offered include tailoring, nutrition, cooking and catering, carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electricity. Additional courses in hairdressing/beautician skills and in Automotive Engineering were added in 2015.
The Kenyan government has paid for construction of a multipurpose science laboratory as well as teachers’ housing units. It also financed the installation of a main electricity supply. The Ministry of Education employs the majority of the staff and meets a large part of the school’s operating costs. The first phase of construction of a dormitory for girls was completed in 2015, with initial funding from an Australian NGO, Bricks and Cartwheels. It can house about 100 girls. Apart from saving them from the risks of walking to and from school in the dark, it will reduce the heavy domestic calls on their time when they are at home. In 2011 a Women’s Centre was also constructed to provide counselling and training opportunities for women who have suffered domestic violence and intimidation or who have become destitute following unwanted pregnancies or widowhood. Training at the centre is intended to improve life skills as well as reproductive health and to help members become more financially independent.
2. Local Partner: Got Matar Development Group
Local residents founded the Got Matar Community Development Group (GMCDG), our local partner, in 2002. The main initial focus of the Group was on improving education in the community. In order to finance their educational programmes, in 2006 the Group formally invited some friends who had helped to fund improvements at their primary schools, to assist with overseas fund-raising in order to build a secondary school. The Group, that comprises extremely motivated and well organized individuals, has also raised funds locally. Individuals have contributed money to buy a bus that is used to take students on school visits and to transport sports teams to matches.