In Kenya primary education is free, however school books, school uniforms (which are mandatory), chairs, desks and often building fees have to be paid for. Many disadvantaged families are unable to pay for such expenses, which unfortunately preclude many children from attending school and thus block their potential way out of poverty.
New Life Africa School offers free schooling to 550 children and youth. Many of the students come from the streets or from the slum area, and several have neither parents nor any other relatives to pay the expenses for them to attend a public school.
The school consists of a nursery school with three class levels and class one to eight (primary school), which is completed with a final examination. At the school there is also an adult class, where with little or no former schooling can receive teaching despite age. All students at the school receive two meals per day, which for some students is the only food they get in a day. All students are given school uniforms, shoes and school books etc. and as one of the only schools in Nakuru the students have computer classes.
Once completing class eight, some students are sponsored to attend secondary school and higher education. A point system is used to assess which students are to receive continued sponsorship, in order that only those who with certainty can make it through secondary school will get this opportunity.
Secondary school and higher education
Most commonly, secondary and higher education in Kenya takes place in boarding schools. Having completed class eight at New Life Africa School, some youth will receive continued sponsorship to four years of secondary school and possibly higher education as well. A point system is used to assess which students are to receive continued sponsorship, in order that only those who are certain to make it through secondary school will get this opportunity.
Once the youth have completed secondary school they are offered higher education either at a college or a university. All the children from the Children’s Home are offered suitable education even if they do not meet the requirements to continue to secondary school. There are many different practical courses that the youth can choose between, that do not require a secondary school certificate. Qualifying for these courses does not require the student to have a secondary school certificate. All children from the Children’s Home are sponsored until they have completed an education and are self-sustainable. An exit process is then employed for the youth from the Children’s Home and the support is reduced over a period of three months where after they have to start caring for themselves.
Tumaini Nursery School
The nursery school is placed on the same compound as the day crisis centre Tumaini Jipya, which means “new hope” and is situated close to the dumpsite in Nakuru. The nursery, which was started in 2009, consists of three classes at different levels, each with their own room. Approximately 60 children are all sponsored through NLAI and they receive schooling and meals. The children get health check-ups, receive medicine every three months for worms etc. and in some cases hospital expenses will be paid for by NLAI.
The children’s parents live in extreme poverty in the slums around the dumpsite. According to Kenya’s school system a child must have attended nursery school in order to be accepted to class one in primary school. Nursery schools in Kenya are most commonly private schools where school fees must be paid. Many children from disadvantaged families do not therefore have the opportunity to attend nursery school, and therefore do not have access to primary school.
Children in other schools
NLAI also sponsor children to enable them to attend local primary schools. Primarily, these are the children from New Life Africa Tumaini Nursery School, who are moving on in the school system. These children do not attend New Life Africa School as it is situated too far from the dumpsite area where the children live.