Families living in poverty in Kariobangi, Nairobi face a difficult decision of where to keep their young children during the working day. They typically have one of the two options :
- Leave their children home alone for up to 7 hours of the day
- Drop off their child at an unlicensed, congested preschool with untrained teachers/caregivers for a fee
In the two cases, the healthy growth & development of the children is compromised. When they enter primary school they are already behind and at a greater risk of school failure. This often result in them being locked in an intergenerational cycle of poverty that is near impossible to escape. This is the problem that Hands of Love Educational Centre is solving for by providing quality early childhood care and education, – in safe and inspiring environment, nutrition and health services, as well as nurturing families. We believe that by doing this we can change the trajectory of a child’s life forever and in this way, build a stronger community.
Early Childhood Education
Hands of Love Educational Centre employs a child-centred and holistic approach to early childhood care and education. our curriculum aligns with the Kenya Early Childhood Development Service Standard Guidelines and the Kenya Institute of Education Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) syllabus. We place particular emphasis on, problem-solving, and social-emotional learning. As opposed to over emphasizing on academic skills that is common in Kenya system. This way kids who leave Hands of love are ready for primary school and beyond. We seek to foster a lifelong love of learning in the kids and families we serve. Please see the core foundations of our curriculum here.
Nutrition and Health Program
For children to learn they need a well-nourished and healthy body. Unfortunately, many of our children come from families where they do not get enough food and have limited access to health services. This is why we have an expanding Health and Nutrition program for which includes the following:
- Providing two meals a day (breakfast & Lunch) six days a week. In 2016 we served over 73,000 nutritious breakfasts and lunches at a cost of US$o.2 per meal.
- We conduct regular health screenings (including dental and eye clinics), facilitate hospital visits to children who are sick, and oversee administration of medicines (For a majority of children the centre is the only way they can access proper health services.
- Kariobangi experiences regular outbreaks of Cholera and other water and sanitation related diseases. When this happens, we work hard to ensure our children remain safe engaging in sensitization and preventative campaigns.
Children cannot succeed without loving and supportive families. Unfortunately, many children at the centre come from families where they do not receive the love, care and support they need to grow and blossom. Our work therefore, includes support families and participation including:
- Our teachers reach out warmly to parents, involving them in their kid’s schooling and alerting them to the importance of their children’s school experiences. They also share techniques parents can use to support their children’s learning at home.
- A significant number of our parents (mostly teenage mothers) lack proper parenting skills. The centre engages them in learning better parenting skills and attitudes. We have organized in collaboration with Lea Toto Program seminars and Counselling Sessions for these parents.
- Provide resources to families in need. This has in the past included giving foodstuff, household items and funds that help families in difficult situations get back on their feet. We have helped families move when there was flooding in Kariobangi, women escape from abusive partners and in collaboration with other partners helped others get employment.
- We play a valuable custodial role in the lives of kids, keeping them safe and well nourished.This allows parents to work more securely, in turn improving the family’s general welfare and outlook.