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Faces of Malezi School

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Miss the previous update about building the Malezi School? Read it here.

“Every day I wake up early to search for a job of doing laundry so I can feed my five children and also afford them an education because I am convinced the future of my children lies in their education.”
— Beatrice Akinyi

Beatrice, a resident of the Kitui Ndogo slum in Nairobi, Kenya, continues, "In addition, when you look around here [the slum], you’ll see so many young people staggering due to the influence of drugs. This is where we’re bringing up our children and we must make them concentrate in education so that they do not get influenced by what they see. Through education, I'm sure they’ll have a different perspective."

Beatrice (pictured above right with Teacher Grace Kavoi of the Malezi School and Chryspin Affifu, Programs Director of CEPACET) like many others in this slum, lives in a 8 x 10' room with the rest of her seven member family.

We sat down with her recently to get her thoughts about the school we plan to build in the community, to understand its potential impact from the perspective of a beneficiary.

Transforming Poverty Through Education

Beatrice's comments about education, in terms of how it could improve her children's future, are frequently overhead in Kitui Ndogo, which has been without a school for its entire 50-year history. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Without it, you are typically resigned to taking menial labor that barely affords life in a slum.

She says something that is important and something I come back to again and again about the plan for our school in her community.

Beatrice says education can help prevent her children from getting involved with drugs and falling prey to the negative influence of the environment. When you are eating only once or twice in a day and going to bed hungry, not receiving support from the government, living in a cramped space in a highly unsanitary area and looking to a bleak future—alcohol, drugs, and crime start to become reasonable choices, especially when others around you are choosing for these things and you have not being educated.

Values-based education, therefore, is something we will focus on strongly in the school's curriculum. We want to encourage the students to be responsible, self-respecting human beings, who do the right thing even if their environment encourages them to do the wrong thing. It's very possible.

We particularly envision students who graduate from the school, in the same service spirit the school is being founded in, carrying the values they picked up back into the community and become agents of change, just like Teacher Grace. The school then would become something more than a school—a space of transformation that will reach well beyond the borders of the physical structure.

I love this dream. It's one of the main reasons I'm involved with it. And it's immensely doable.

Continue to next update about building the Malezi Centre.