Umoja Early Child Development School
Umoja (‘United’ in Swahili) is an Early Child Development (ECD) School for children aged 4-7. It has 95 pupils who attend from the local community in Boyani. It’s a very happy place where the children enjoy learning and playing together, preparing them for Primary School. Meal-a-Day provides money for a feeding programme and education at the ECD. The feeding programme ensures that children, who otherwise may not have adequate meals, receive two meals each school day, which helps with their education and their general health. Meal-a-Day therefore provides 34,200 meals each year to the children at Umoja. The education is also of a high standard with approximately 75% of the children achieving above national average marks for their age group. Given the interest from the local community the school could possibly be twice as big if the facilities and budget allowed.
Plentiful food, affordable uniforms and school places are considered the norm in the UK. Some children in the Boyani area aren’t able to attend an ECD school due to a lack of money to buy uniforms or simply the fact that not enough ECDs exist. Affordability of uniforms is a problem across Kenya with children commonly sent home if they don’t have a uniform or if the parents can’t afford the required termly top-up of school running costs. At Umoja, however, places are allocated to the most needy in the area with the family’s circumstances being the main deciding factor.
It was heartening to arrive there recently with Zakayo, a brother and regional elder from Mombasa, and to meet members of the ECD’s Board of Governors and staff to assess the work and to meet the children. The parents are clearly overjoyed to have their children at the school and gave us a very warm welcome with traditional dances. We also enjoyed performances from all of the year groups. The parents were very happy to learn that, thanks to your generous donations, the school has funding for 2016. The smiles on the children’s faces remind you that Meal-a-Day helps those in greatest need with a good start in life.
- Opened: 1997 at Kokotoni Market and moved to present site 4km away in 2006/7
- Location: Boyani (Kenya), 20km from Mombasa off the highway to Nairobi
- Project: Fully funded early child development school (approx. equivalent to UK nursery/infants)
- Number of Children: 95, aged 4 – 7 in 3 classes
- Staff: 3 teachers, 2 cooks, 2 watchers / caretakers
- Facilities: Church hall divided into two class spaces, classroom, small meeting room, kitchen, store, latrines
- Recent Developments: Mains water recenrlt supplied to the area with a standpipe project
- Cost: £13,000 per year including feeding programme, staff salaries, learning material
- Cost per child: £136 per year, or 70p per day (term time)