LIGHTING STUDENTS' LIVES IN KENYA
LIGHTING STUDENTS' LIVES IN KENYA
In 2014, Watts of Love joined forces with Kenya Children’s Fund to provide each student enrolled in the Kinyago-Dandora School [KDS] with a new solar light. The school is located in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya—East Africa’s most populous city and the largest urban slum on the continent.
Just outside of Nairobi lays the village of Dandora, which sits on top of what is widely regarded as the largest active garbage dump site on Earth. Here, the dirt roads are obscured by mounds of garbage and debris and it is not uncommon for a family of six to share a small, single-room shack.
There is no running water in the village, no electricity and not a single toilet flushes. In the rainy season, Dandora becomes overrun with sludge and flooded garbage, and all year round, it smells of decay.
Armed guards traveled with the team at all times while in the garbage dumps in Dandora.
“When I first entered the Dandora dump site, I had the feeling that for the first time in my life, I had entered a place that all humanity, dignity, joy and hope had been completely eradicated. I was wrong,” said founder Kevin Kuster
“Giving a light to this grandmother pictured above who is currently raising 10 grandchildren all by herself was one of the most meaningful and humbling experiences of my life,” says founding member Kevin Kuster. “You can’t experience such extreme poverty and not be radically changed.”
But one beacon of hope remains a constant in this community, and that is the Kinyago-Dandora School (KDS) run by the compassionate people behind Kenya Children’s Fund. Serving approximately 800 local students from preschool to high school, the KDS curriculum is considered among the best in all of Nairobi, providing education, nutrition, medical and spiritual care for the impoverished children of Dandora.
Although all the windows at Kinyago-Dandora have bars on them and a few have broken glass, there is a hope, focus, drive and understanding from each student because they know their education is a complete gift.
In the moment of taking pictures, I never find it hard to create the images. However, when I relive the moment as I do when I write about my experience, it absolutely crushes me emotionally.” - Kevin Kuster
WOL team members learned that attending KDS, where children have access to two square meals, a nurse, and unbelievable opportunity, is like winning the lottery in this part of the world.
After distributing 1,000 solar lights and sending each child and teacher home with a lantern for their family, these students can continue learning when the school day ends and the sun goes down. They no longer strain to read a textbook page or learn a trade like sewing in near darkness. At last, KDS has access to the solar tools needed to foster optimal success.
Even though this school is located in a very dark and dangerous place, cheers of joy, laughter and love can often be heard from within this courtyard. Without a high school education, locals face little chance for employment. In Kenya, more than 40% of the population is unemployed, according to the World Bank. Without the distinguished education provided by schools like KDS, all too often, children are forced into demoralizing trades like theft and prostitution in their effort to survive.
Despite consistently being ranked among the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world, according to the watchdog group Transparency International, Kenya provides shelter to nearly a quarter million refugees from Somalia, Uganda and Sudan who have fled varying degrees of terror in their home countries.
Kenya Children’s Fund envisions a better, brighter future for these ambitious boys and girls, and the Watts of Love team feels very fortunate to have been a part of improving their lives.
THANK YOU KENYA CHILDREN'S FUND
Watts of Love would like to thank our wonderful partners at Kenya Children’s Fund for their support in making this distribution possible for the entire student body of KDS. We would especially like to extend our deepest gratitude to Ginger Palm for helping us achieve such immense success during our first-ever solar mission trip in Africa. We truly can’t wait to go back!
For more information, on KFC visit kenyachildrensfund.org
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