|TEMPORARY CLASS ON PROGRESS
||THE CLASSES ARE ALMOST GETTING COMPLETE
||THE DESKS AT THE CENTER
|PUPILS WAITING THEIR NEW CHAIRS AND TABLES
||CLASS FIVE ARE HAPPILY STUDYING IN THEIR NEW DESKS
||CLASS THREE PUPILS ARE NOW USING THEIR TEMPORARY CLASS
|THE ROOF IS NOW READY AND THE WORKERS ARE CHATTING
||FUNDI AT WORK||THE JIKOS READY TO BE USED|
|PAINTING THE PARTITION WALL||THE NEW ROOF BEING FIXED
||WALL PARTITION ON PROGRESS
Building Classrooms and Hope in Kenya
Retired Ottawa teacher seeks to help orphans, children of single parents
By Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen March 5, 2011
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com
David Hall is raising $150,000 to refurbish and expand a school in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi.
The Ottawa Citizen
A retired high-school science teacher hopes to raise $150,000 for a school in Kenya set up for AIDS orphans and the children of single parents.
David Hall is working with the Kibera YMCA on a campaign to build eight new classrooms at the elementary school, which is located in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. An estimated one million people, including 50,000 AIDS orphans, currently live in a cramped area of 2.5 square kilometres and most have little or no access to basic necessities, such as electricity, toilets, sewage disposal and clean drinking water.
The Kibera Y was first established as a vocational school in 1983. Today, it has preschool classes, primary Grades 1 to 7 and tailoring lessons for older students (Grade 8 is to be added next year). The school also runs free meal programs for its 200 students, many of whom are AIDS orphans or come from single-parent families, often headed by women. By offering child care and school programs, the hope is that single mothers will be able to find some work during the day.
Hall went to Kenya last July to volunteer with School for All, an Ottawa-based humanitarian organization that provides teacher training in refugee camps and other places where displaced people are living.After visiting the Kibera Y school, he worked with staff to hammer out a three-year plan before returning home to get the ball rolling."My job was to come back and match that plan with a fundraising plan," he said.
The first step is improving the school's basic infrastructure by upgrading sanitation facilities, refurbishing current school buildings and ensuring students have access to clean water. Hall said taking these steps should help the school get certified, which means the Kenyan government will pay for its teachers, and graduates would be eligible for high school.
"The young people will maybe have a chance to get out of the slums, hopefully, and even go to university," Hall said.
The second step will be raising money to build eight new classrooms and subsidize school fees, meal programs and uniforms for the students.
Hall said individuals and groups can make tax-deductible donations and he's also looking for nine groups to sponsor a classroom, at a cost of $10,000 apiece. Woodroffe High School has already agreed to participate and Hall said he's hoping other schools will get involved.
The plan is to build four new classrooms in 2012 and another four the year after, by which time the school will have doubled its population.
Once complete, Hall said the school will teach children during the day and be open to adults in the evening and on weekends to improve their job skills.
Hall, 72, retired from Laurentian High School about six years ago and says he inherited social activism from his own father.
He added the need in Kibera is overwhelming, but working on the school project makes him feel like he's making a difference.
"As a young person I thought I could change the world, but I realized the change in the world is one person, one family at a time and especially since my background is teaching, it has to be in giving children the opportunity to have a life that has some hope and some promise of a better world."