Our Affiliated Project: The St. John’s Community Center in Nairobi, Kenya

 

Quick facts about the St. John’s Community Center:

  • Ages served: Children of all ages are served at the center.
  • Facility description: A complex of buildings surrounding the St. John’s Church at Pumwani, the center includes a primary school, a childcare clinic, an iron works/woodwork shop, an HIV/AIDS counseling clinic, a library and administrative offices.
  • Education: Instruction includes core academic subjects. Most children attend from preschool through middle school, though some go on to high school.
  • Academic year: In Kenya, the school year typically begins in January and ends in November, and is split into three sessions marked by one two-week break in April and another in August.
  • Nutrition: Children receive a nutritious meal each day.
  • Community outreach: In addition to much-needed assistance for children, the center also offers a “Home Industry” program for mothers in the community, which teaches life and vocational skills. Evening classes also provide education for adults, most of whom have never attended school.

Located in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa, Kenya is known for its fertile highlands, grassy savannahs, wildlife and its namesake peak, Mt. Kenya. Its economy relies heavily upon agriculture and tourism. Kenya is also a cradle of civilization, rich in cultural heritage and diversity. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty, resources, and culture, however, belie the poverty in which most of its residents live. Tragically, destitution and weak government institutions permit frequent violations of human rights. Kenya is also plagued by a severe shortage of healthcare workers, which contributes to lower life expectancies, high infant mortality rates and widespread preventable disease.

These maladies are perhaps most pronounced in Nairobi’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhood, Pumwani. Plagued by extreme poverty, disease and crime, this area is home to thousands of needy children who desperately need assistance. Many of these children live in slum conditions and suffer from malnutrition, abuse and neglect. For this reason, St. John’s Community Center serves as a safe haven and a beacon of hope. The center was established in the late 1950’s following a violent period known as the Mau Mau Uprising. Its mission is to provide long-term social services to the needy — regardless of age, tribal affiliation or faith. By providing for the children’s immediate needs as well as investing in their future through education, St. John’s Community Center offers these deserving children the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances they face.