Kibera is Kenya’s largest slum, situated on the outskirts of Nairobi. Reports regarding the number of inhabitants vary but generally put it at between one and two million people. As you approach Kibera the stench of rotting sewage hits your senses before you are even inside. Despite the large areas of uninhabited land that surround Kibera, it is almost impossible to get a view of the whole of the slum as the tiny tin roofs stretch on as far as the eye can see. The brown roofs blend into one vast, eternal tin vista and it is easy to forget that each one represents a family, a human story, and a struggle for survival. Its inhabitants call it The Chocolate City.
Surrounding the slums are deserted areas of landscape piled high with rubbish. Small children in their tatty school uniforms hold hands and sing as they dance on top of the fetid garbage.
As you cross the threshold from the rubbish tips into the streets of Kibera you step into another world. The unpaved, dirt “streets” are only a few feet wide and down their middle run open sewers. Houses are made of mud with rough walls and tiny doors that open into unlit, dank and cramped rooms. People in Kibera often lack access to water, sanitation and electricity. Many of its inhabitants live on less than a dollar a day.
THE SEVEN NURSERY SCHOOL IN KIBERA
In February 2010 Seven opened a nursery school in Kibera in the hopes of giving a few of its smallest inhabitants a good start in life.
On what began as a research trip for a book she was writing on branding, Jasmine Montgomery, CEO of Seven Brands, found herself in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, where she met three young Kiberan community workers with a vision. Santos, John and Moses grew up on the streets of Kibera the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest slums in the world. They had a vision for a nursery that would offer families with small children and single parent families a safe place to leave their children while the parents went out to earn money.
Jasmine was deeply touched by Santos, Moses and John’s love for Kibera and their plans to create better lives for the children of Kibera, many of whom are from families living on less than a dollar a day. Seven Brands agreed to provide the funds for the building of the school whilst Santos and his colleagues oversaw the project using local labour and creating employment in Kibera. After 3 months of hard work, using builders who live in Kibera, the Seven Kibera Nursery opened its doors in February 2010. It now gives 50 children the chance of a better future and their mothers and fathers the opportunity to go to work knowing that their children are somewhere safe.
ST FRANCIS SCHOOL TOY DRIVE
There are few toys in Kibera. On her first trip into Kibera, Jasmine saw a little girl clutching an empty Cadbury’s drinking chocolate pot. It was purple and slightly anthropomorphic in shape and the child was cuddling it and stroking it like a doll. This little girl was one of the reasons Seven decided to get involved.
Back in the UK, the Seven team and a local school called St Francis have come together to collect toys for the children. St Francis School had a ‘Harvest of Toys’, asking each of their 350 pupils to donate a toy for the children of the Seven Nursery and to write a message to a Kiberan child to accompany their donation.
In addition to the toys we donated at the Seven Nursery, we also gave toys to a neighboring local school within Kibera. Bringing toys to the children of Kibera is a long term goal that we have only just begun to fulfill.
Some of the children had to be shown what to do with toys as they had never been given one before.
It is our ambition one day to see a graduate of our nursery school go to university and to see all our kids have an education that will lift them out of poverty. For now, we live by the motto of the school…
Hapa na hapa hujaza kibaba
Little by little the vessel is filled
If you would like to help us support the kids of Kibera please contact us: