Welcome to the Candlelight School
( video made by Alliance for Youth Achievement)
Candlelight School was started in 2004 in Matopeni, an informal settlement in Embakasi Central constituency. This area is located to the eastern parts of the capital, Nairobi. The constituency has a population of 621,000 according to the 2009 Kenya Population and housing census conducted by the Kenya bureau of statistics. Only 12 per cent of this population is involved in economic activities that generate income while the remaining percentage comprising of the majority poor lack anything meaningful to do.
The poverty levels among the households in this area are alarmingly high. This has a direct consequence on the ability of such households to effectively meet the needs of their members, including food and access to competent healthcare and quality education. This cruel reality is the reason behind the founding of Candlelight school. Initially started to fill the gap left by the government in the provision of education, other needs immediately emerged including lack of food.
At inception the school was catering for 3 children. The number has since increased so significantly to 420, ranging from baby class to grad 8. Most of them are orphans or very destitute families, that are not able to pay the fees. This reality has put a lot pressure on the resources available, including the physical infrastructure and other amenities that are vital for their upkeep while at Candlelight School. Though we have received assistance from other partners over the years, the level and consistency of this assistance has been unable to match the needs. it is because of such that we started the sewing project to assist the management in partly addressing some of the needs. But additional support is very much appreciated. You can make a donation to help cover the salary of a teacher (click here for more information on the teachers). To donate, click here.
Mission, Vision and Objectives of the school
The mission of the school is to be a model institution for educational and character development of a child effectively able to face the challenges of the future.
The school’s vision is to provide an environment for learners to thrive and to set pace for others to follow.
The school operates on these key objectives:
- To churn out holistic learners with the knowledge, skills and competencies to face the future.
- To be a model in the provision of quality, affordable informal education.
- To address the gaps and challenges in the provision of education from poverty stricken households
- Education- This is the core programme whose intention is to provide the necessary quality access to education for al children irrespective of family background.
- Leadership, mentorship and life skills development-This programme brings the future reality to the focus of the learners, develops their skills towards tackling the challenges of their time, and mentors them around their passions.
- Nutritional support programme- This programme is meant to ensure enrolment, retention and performance of the children. It is also a strategy for addressing issues around child delinquency and child labour.
- Economic livelihood support programme-under this programme, we are implementing a bag sewing project located within the school premises. This project currently has 4 employees whose children are at the school. The bags are made and sold outside the country, based on orders we receive from friends.
- The nutritional support programme currently caters for 100 children. Compared to the available resources, this number provides another programmatic challenge whose response requires synergies from both local and international circles.
- The school currently employs 12 teachers who work on a salary. Each takes home an average salary of US$ 100 per month. With the performance of the school in the national examinations having improved tremendously in the last three years, there is added pressure on the management to continue motivating them. Meeting their salaries has been rather erratic, forcing us to engage in borrowing to sustain them. A long term sustainable partnership with an organization(s) will probably help in addressing this.
- Over the years the support received has been channelled to developing the physical infrastructure to cater for the ever-increasing number of disadvantaged children who require our attention. However, putting the finishing including plastering, painting, ceiling, doors, windows and desks has opened another frontier for us to continue fighting the challenges. This requires about US $25,000.
- The bag sewing project has continued to be on a ‘peasant like’ operation, with focus mainly on meeting the orders of our customers in the diaspora. We are exploring partnerships that can inject in some expertise and resources to re-engineer its fortunes both locally and internationally. Resources are required in branding and trademark registration, diversification and incorporation of modern effective marketing technologies. This will have the added benefit of expanding the market and ensure we maximize on our return on investment. Our aim is to support the other programmes to run uninterrupted while also providing a sound livelihood source for the parents we employ. To put it on the growth path, it is estimated to require around US $1,000.
- There is an improved performance among all the children in the school. In 2012, out of a possible 500 points, 10 children scored above 300 points. A total of 34 children sat for the examination and 26 of them scored above the average mark of 250 points.
- Over the last one year we have recorded commendable improvements in infrastructure expansion. A total of 6 classrooms were constructed. With an average capacity of forty, this means a total of 240 children are accommodated every learning day of the week.
As an institution we are conscious of the level and enormity of resources required to put the project on a sustainable path. We acknowledge that some of the needs will require immediate/ short/ long term attention. We endeavour to continuously mobilize resources from all quarters and establish requisite partnerships whose combined effort will create a lasting impact on the children who look up to us for that much needed support.
We humbly welcome everyone as a partner in this noble endeavour.
You can support the Candlelight school!
Many thanks in advance for your support.
© Sahaya International, 2017