We offer a sponsorship model to help students pay for school fees, uniforms, school supplies and other basics that children need to attend school in Kenya. We combine this support with targeted tutoring, mentoring, healthcare and food support providing the types of services that any child, anywhere in the world, needs in order to be a successful student. We follow our students through school, keeping them engaged and helping them along the way.
Each child is evaluated on a case-by-case basis with sponsorship eligibility determined by local social workers through a series of interviews, home visits, community meetings and other methods. Our limited resources force us to choose children whose life trajectories we believe will be most impacted by the opportunity to attend school. Factors that we consider include: academic potential, living circumstances, financial circumstances and willingness to learn.
When a child has been forced to the streets by hunger, an abusive home, drugs, or a simple lack of school fees, there is no refuge. In 2014, the Simama Project took over a two-month old transition home for street children founded by Karenza Howard-Williams. Today, the Simama Transition Home is designed to replicate a traditional family home by providing health, education, psychosocial services, basic love, affection and the stability that allow children to thrive.
At the Simama Project, we believe that there is no substitute for the stability and long-term support that comes with a permanent family and home. Because of this, it is always our priority to work with children and their families to reunite them when possible, or strengthen their relationships even when reunification is impossible. The objective of the house is to help “transition” children coming from difficult situations, so we are constantly looking for additional long term solutions such as living with dependable relatives and friends, foster care and, as a last resort, continued care at local non-profit or governmental organization.
It’s pretty hard to do anything when you’re hungry, especially learn. Unsurprisingly, many children in Kenya leave school because they are too hungry to pay attention, turning to the streets to satiate their starving bellies. This realization served as an impetus for our pilot school feeding program, which was started in July 2014 at Likii Primary School.
The program is designed to be self-sustaining and the parents each contribute approximately less than a dollar per month for each student. This provides the student with a meal of porridge each school day. It also allows us to identify students at risk of dropping out and help them stay in school. It is our goal to incentivize primary education for the families of Likii that have the least financial resources. Having the food program in the school will hopefully attract children to the classroom as opposed to the streets.
As a pilot program we are working to properly evaluate its impact and hope to replicate the program in other local schools. Similar to the transition home, the school feeding program supports the Simama Project’s core mission of encouraging and supporting the attainment of education among Nanyuki’s poor populations.