" Kibera Smart Kids" CALD Project 2011

The Children of the Kibera Slums

They know their way around Kibera slums like the back of their hands. You might be forgiven to think their young innocent brains have a GPS.
They make their way well in this maze with amazing ease. Like sniffer dogs, they can sense lurking danger, something the oblivious stranger would not perceive.
They know which routes to avoid like plague.
They twist , wind and jump on the filthy pathway seemingly unmindful of the danger the raw sewer that runs in a shallow trench alongside and sometimes across it poses to them in this great slum they call home. The Children of the Kibera Slums

I want to make friends with them, without raising an eyebrow. I want to mesh softly with their lives without sympathizing or pitying them. I want to show unconditional positive regard. I want to understand them. I don’t want to give them gifts (I do not have any).Says Dan Otendo our project coordinator.

Children here are ‘very educated’ in the ways of the slums! The filthy rivulet that runs through the slum can be ‘combed’ for nails, bottle tops and such like metals which they sell to the recycling barons at 0.2 USD per kilo. After a day’s ‘shoveling bare hands in the slimy water, you can be lucky to earn yourself a quarter of a dollar.
Any other danger like waterborne diseases doesn’t matter as long as it can ensure one food on the table. It is no use staying healthy is you are going to starve to death.

Like tortoises, they know how to retreat quickly into their hard protective shell …until the danger subsides.It takes time to win their confidence, but after joining them in play, and sharing a few sweets I had in my hip bag, they warm up to me.

Behind this fascia of ostensible ignorance, is a mercurial and resilient generation of children with a potential that begs nurturing and tapping. Give them your camera phone; they will take these wonderful photos taken in turns by them. CALD wants to use information Technology to proactively give them a taste of better education and good exposure.

CALD in Kenya is developing the, Kibera Smart Kids School starting in the house of one of our member, currently he is having an influx of children from the underserved Kibera Slum. Technology is making up for their marginalization in education. Alas, the children can only come here after school and during weekends. The learners are self directed and encouraged to collaborate and communicate with each other and as much as possible. They are from poor families, but desire first class education.

Presently we have 5 workstations on the windows Multipoint server. The number of kids is growing larger and will continue growing, but it is worth the effort. we need a projector, 2 video and 4 still cameras and 15 other multipoint servers. This will not be enough, but will make even more of them use computers. Initially they are shy using computers, but when they start clicking by learning from each other in groups and learning basics like M.S Paint, auto collage, movie maker and blogs to share their life stories or information with the world, they will be exposed and have convidence to move to our planned education based courses.

Please join us….Tell this to a friend at your place of work, your church, your club or any other gathering. Anything not shared…be it success or failure, joy or sadness, drinks or food, victory, defeat or even time… is nothing!


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