The children (Watotos) who come to Mahali Pa Watoto all come from the surrounding villages Dagoretti being the main one. We do home visits with all applicants to assess genuine need and most have only one parent. We ask for a contribution of Ksh 500 (£3.50) per term towards food, and we also have some fee paying pupils. Our vision is for enough fee paying pupils for the school to support itself, and we can then move on and establish another one. They stay at the school for 3 years before progressing to one of the six local state schools.
Below are some stories of some of our children having caught up with them a few years (or sometimes more than a few) after they have left Mahali.
When this photo above left was taken Brian was 6 years old and near the end of his time at the school. the short report that follows was written by Atara Brown when she worked at the school as an Intern in 2009.
"He lives with his mother, father, and 6 other siblings in Muthiga. Muthiga is a slum community for displaced families. Brian’s family are victims of the post election violence and probably will never have the opportunity to return home.
Every morning Brian and his mother walk about 7 km to reach Mahali Pa Watoto. This is a family dedicated to educating their children. Even though the family has had a difficult past, compassion is not something they lack. Upon reaching Brian’s home, his mother feeds us a hearty meal of sweet potatoes and tea. Brian is a bit shy but a kind child. His favourite colour is red and he likes cats. When Brian grows up he wants to be God. (I asked him if he was sure because that seems like a pretty big job!) He assured me that this is what he wanted because he thinks God is good.
Brian 'graduated' at the end of 2010 and is now in a state school. We found him on a visit in 2016 and took a picture here left. His Mum always 'beams' when we ak her how he is doing.
August 2016 After successfully completing school with good scores, James has spent a year at the school as a teaching assisant and is now waiting to hear about university, starting in Acountancy in January 2017.
July 2012 James scored exceptionally well (as expected) and we are now helping him and another pupil in their education at the next stage. The school is working and 2 of the first group of 12 have made it through to the next stage. Others will continue with vocational training.
February 2012 we are pleased to report that James is now studying at a state school for his GCSE's. He is one of the first to come right through from mahali to the state senior school.
In November 2014 James spoke to all the parents and children at their graduation. It was a special moment to see how he has grown into a man, demonstrating his confidence and intelligence. While waiting to go to University James has been volunteering as a support teacher at the school
Margaret came to the school aged 9 in 2003, in the early days when our pupils were aged 4 to 12. She then went on to the standard 8 years of school and has just left aged 18.
Her English is good and she will now look for work.
She came to see me clutching a small black plastic bag containing a picture of her when she attended the school - I took a photo of the photo taken in 2003 and its here on the left. She always wore a head scarf and still does, so its easy to find her in the photo on the right front row. Standing next to her is Jane Thomas the founder of the school.