Thunder Foundation - For Raad & Children of Nairobi
Organized by: Al Sweis
The Thunder Foundation was set up in 2012 to raise awareness of the daily struggles which children in Kenya face in order to be educated and to survive. A year later, The Thunder Foundation decided to go a step further, and offer children a life changing opportunity...An Education. See our website for photos, children stories and project details: thethunderfoundation.org In August 2012 Raad Swais a Physical Education teacher from East Sussex moved to Kenya to work at a large private school, which was located next to one of the largest slums in Nairobi. He was so shocked by the appalling living conditions and complete lack of opportunities for those living in the slums, that he was determined to do all he could to help them, especially the children. At first Raad tried to help by handing out food, clothes and books but soon realized that this provided only short term benefits. With support from family and friends in England, The Thunder Foundation was established, and is now a UK registered charity. We began raising funds to start a small schools program for primary school aged children from the slums. In January 2014 The Thunder Foundation opened The Mutaratara Learning Centre, our first school, in a vacant property which was provided at a peppercorn rent. It started with 22 children selected from two areas from the Mutaratara district of the Nairobi slums. These two areas were chosen as no other aid agencies worked there. The school offers these 22 children free education, food and health care. It was hoped that in January 2015 these 22 children would move up a class and another group of children would begin their educational journey. However, we were informed by the local government that the school was not big enough for more children. We decided to continue with these children and not add classes but at the beginning of each new school year they will go up a class. As well as starting a school The Thunder Foundation fund football coaches every evening to coach 110 Nairobi street children who have no homes. This not only gives the children something to look forward to and focus on but it keeps them off the streets at times when they are most vulnerable, helping to keep them away from prostitution, drug addiction and alcoholism. The evening football also provides and encourages positive social interaction. Some of these young people have become extremely good football players and are now being scouted to play for larger Nairobi teams. We are now working to get these children into local schools. Current projects include: - Mutaratara Learning Centre - Kawangware Day Nursery - The Thunder Football Academy - Special Needs Children DID YOU KNOW? - Half of the children in Kawangware never attend school. Many children help their families earn money. - In Kenya, there is great disparity between rich and poor. The rich are very rich and the poor, very poor. Few are middle class. - The Thunder Foundation is run by volunteers and ALL money raised is sent to Kenya to help fund our projects. - In Nairobi, access to healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation, is a luxury for many. - An estimated four in ten children will have to leave education early and work to support their families. - Education in Kenya is fairly expensive and is a luxury to most families, many of whom live below the universal poverty line of 77 people a day. - In Kenya, over 1 million children are out of school, 2 million are orphaned and 700,000 live with a disability. - The UN estimates that there are over 60,000 homeless children in Nairobi. - Children with special needs are often locked away at home due to public shame. - One in eight Kenyans die before the age of eight because there's little money for good medical care. - A typical family of 7 will live in a 3m x 3m mud hut, with no windows, no water, no kitchen and no toilet. Kawangware is one of Africa’s biggest slums situated about 15km west of Nairobi in Kenya. It is a huge, sprawling city of makeshift homes crammed with hundreds of thousands of residents, struggling to survive on less than one dollar a day. The Kawangware slum lies between Lavington Estate and Dagoretti. It spans approximately 3km and has an ethnically diverse population of over 80,000 people, many of whom are children. Over 65 percent of the adult population have no permanent job and without access to education, some teenagers forget their dreams and turn to prostitution or crime to make money; others fall pregnant and continue their struggle to survive. Many children in the slum do not attend school. Water supplied by the city authority is not available every day. Safe drinking water in Kawangware is scarce and expensive. Water borne diseases, respiratory pneumonia, aspiratory pneumonia and malaria are prevalent as well as many and airborne diseases due to the poor drainage system. Many people in Kawangware are HIV-positive and caring for those with AIDS and the orphans left behind is overwhelming for the families and communities in the slum. Sadly this has resulted in an increase in the number of street children, prostitution, suicide and isolation of those infected. Children and Education in Kenya: Education in Kenya is fairly expensive and is a luxury most families cannot afford. Many families live below the universal poverty line of 77 people a day. Primary schools are free in Kenya but due to corruption this is often not the case. Secondary school is not funded by the government. Many families in Kenya are so poor that an estimated four in ten children will have to leave education before they reach secondary school, and are then forced to work to financially support their families. Girls often get married very young at the ages of 12-14 to reduce the burden at home. Also, HIV/AIDS has left many orphans to be raised by relatives, who cannot afford to pay school fees. Life for these families is very hard, and there is often not enough to eat. One in eight Kenyans die before the age of eight because there is not enough money for good medical care. About 30,000 children are living homeless on the streets of Nairobi.