Kibera, on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi, is the largest urban slum in Africa. Heavily polluted by human waste and garbage, estimates vary, but is estimated that up to 1 million people live together in wood and sheet metal shanty homes.
What are the challenges?
- Extreme poverty and high unemployment – most families survive through casual labour, with men walking around 14 miles each day to find work on construction sites in and around Nairobi.
- Risk of violence – with law and order partly maintained by gangs and vigilantes
- Poor housing, poor sanitation and little access to electricity
- Very few opportunities for a good quality, formal education
At the edge of Kibera, right next to the railway line which marks the outer boundary of the slum, lies Spurgeons Academy. It’s a primary school for the poorest and most vulnerable of Kibera’s citizens – orphaned children. And it’s much more than just a school. As well as education, the children receive two meals a day, loving care, medical support, and some even find a home, as those who really don’t have any extended family to care for them are fostered by families from the church connected to the school.
Spurgeons Academy provides primary schooling for over 400 children – all affected in some way by AIDS/HIV.
The key focus of the work is essential schooling, but there are also extra-curricular activities, including football, gymnastics and ballet, which engage the children. Children access an essential, basic education and some creative experiences. The brighter children go on to secondary. Less academic students have an opportunity for vocational training.