Before the advent of free primary education in January 2003, the cost of sending children to primary school was prohibitive. Because few families in the slums could afford the school fees, children were sent to the streets to sell groundnuts or to get money for food by any means possible.
Although primary education is now financially supported by the Government of Kenya, MPC supports the four schools through the provision of additional teachers and funds to enable students to participate in extra-curricular activities such as music, sport and occasional outings.
Primary School Education caters for over 5,000 children ranging in age from 4 years to 16 years. The school system in Kenya is very exam orientated. This is difficult for the slum children because of the lack of facilities and stimulation at home. MPC has introduced Child-Centred Education where the emphasis is on the individual child, the building of self-esteem, learning through play and discovery, and a positive approach through music, art and acrobatics.
All the MPC schools, in conjunction with the World Food Programme, serve a hot meal daily to the children. In addition we serve porridge at the short break time in the morning to all the smallest children. This is a wonderful incentive for the children to come to school, as very often there is little food at home. The four MPC-operated schools are:
Kayaba school is located in the very heart of the Kayaba slum. Back in 1985 when first constructed, it had an enrolment of 200 children that has grown very fast over the years and now caters for over 1200 children. A very fine new permanent school has been constructed by the German Government in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Kenya. It was occupied for the first time at the beginning of the third term 2010.
St Bakhita’s school is located on the same site as Head Office and Skills Training Centre. It has an enrolment of about 1000 pupils. The classrooms are built of iron sheets. Access to the school has been improved with the recent completion of the road and new bridge over the Ngong River. The river remains heavily polluted because of the rubbish and sewage that is frequently dumped into it. With one of our partners, Child Fund Kenya, we are implementing a safe water program in this school along with the other MPC schools. Education for safe water is vital, especially since there is currently an outbreak of cholera in the nearby slum villages.
Largest of our primary schools with an enrolment of over 1320 children, St Elizabeth is known for its excellent performance in the national school choir competition. The Lunga Lunga choir also has the distinction of producing a CD of their music.This school has now been in existence for fifteen years, having started back in 1991. St Elizabeth's is also being rebuilt by the German Government and will be ready for occupation in 2011. In the meantime it continues to operate in the temporary classrooms on the same site as the new building.
St Catherine's Primary School
Has an enrolment of about 1000 children. It is situated on the same site as the Mary Immaculate Clinic and the Mary Immaculate Rehabilitation Centre. In recent years St Catherines students have been excelling in football, both girls and boys. They hold the Kerrigan Cup tropies for both competitions for two years in a row. The Kerrigan Cup is an annual competition run within MPC for the schools and rehabilitation centre, and is sponsored by the Waves Trust in the UK.