Candlelight Program--Nairobi, Kenya


This fundraiser is sponsored by Nate Harper and Dylan Klein. Nate studies psychology at the University of Tennessee.  Dylan studies political science at San Diego State University with a minor in leadership studies. Both are seniors in college and close friends who grew up together in Davis, California.

We need your help in raising monies and supplies for the Candlelight Program in Nairobi, Kenya.  Loosely affiliated with Sahaya International, the Candlelight Program was started in 2004 by Fred and Alice Afwai to provide education to children living in the Matopeni slum in the capital city of Nairobi, Kenya.  An “informal settlement”, Matopeni residents live in desperate poverty without access to clean water, sanitation, basic healthcare or formal education.  The Afwais opened the Candlelight Primary School with 3 students in 2004 with the goal of enrolling 50 students per year.  Unwilling to turn away children, the school is currently serving over 420 students from preschool through the eighth grade.   The school has gained a reputation not only for its focus on academics but also for providing life skills, vocational training and leadership development to help its students succeed.

Although the Candlelight Primary School was initially started to provide schooling to children, it quickly became clear that the students had other unmet needs.  The school runs a nutrition program for over 100 students which not only provides the students with healthy meals, but also keeps them enrolled in classes where they might otherwise be forced to leave school to work.  Overwhelmed by the number of orphans enrolling in the school in Matopeni, the Afwais decided in 2012 to open Hope Children’s Home.  The home provides education, food, medical care and clothing to orphans and other vulnerable children.  The mission of the home is to provide a safe haven for children and to support each child’s physical, social, emotional and spiritual well being.

Although the Candlelight Program has received assistance from various partners and charities over the years, this assistance is not sufficient to meet their needs and they face many current challenges.  The Candlelight Primary School needs financial help to support their education programs as well as their daily nutrition program.  The school currently employs 12 teachers and the Afwais must frequently borrow money to pay their salaries.  The school buildings are old and in much need of repair in order to provide for a safe teaching environment for the growing number of students the school serves.  The school is also in great need of desks, basic school supplies and technology items such as LCD projectors and laptops to teach the children basic computing skills.   The Hope Children’s Home has similar needs, but also struggles to provide housing and medical care to the children it serves.

We have been invited by Fred and Alice Afwai to travel to Kenya and volunteer in the Candlelight Primary School and Hope Children’s Home.  We will be paying all of our own travel expenses and will be in Kenya from June 18th through July 24th.  We will be volunteering our time to work, teach, mentor as well as share our life experiences with the children and serve as positive role models.  We have been especially asked to teach lessons in leadership (Dylan’s forte!) and develop activities to foster empowerment.  The Afwais have also asked us to share our experiences from previous volunteer engagements to help them strengthen their programs as well as help them document their current programs in text, photos and video.

Of course, after the day is done, we hope to have fun with the children and will thus be bringing a small slice of American childhood with us including pop rocks, Jello, bubbles and balloons. We will also teach the children our favorite childhood card games including Uno, Go Fish and Old Maid.  Let us know if you can think of any other easy ideas that will inspire a smile!

We are hosting this fundraiser to raise monies and some supplies to benefit both the Candlelight Primary School and Hope Children’s Home.  We have asked the Afwais what we can contribute that will benefit their programs.  The Afwais have expressed a great need for clothing, blankets and school supplies.  In order to support the local Matopeni economy (and save on shipping costs), we would like to purchase these items once we arrive in Nairobi.  We are therefore asking primarily for monetary donations.  Our promise is that every dollar will be put to good use.  

There are, however, some single, larger items that would greatly benefit the Candlelight Program that we are hoping to either purchase here or receive as donations and will hand carry to Kenya with us.

*Laptop computers and tablets : These items would help us teach basic computing skills to the older youth and help them to be competitive in the job market.                                                                                   
*LCD Projectors:  We are hoping to buy 2 projectors to help facilitate classroom learning.        

*Lab / Science Equipment:  Microscopes and other equipment to teach basic primary school science.
*Video camera and digital camera:  These items will help us document the Candlelight Program so that we can help them improve their fundraising campaign.

We will keep you informed of our fundraising efforts and monies raised prior to leaving for Kenya.  Upon our return, we will provide everyone an update (with pictures!) detailing how the monetary donations and supplies were put to use.  The following link will provide you with more information about the Candlelight program, its mission, values and goals:
Candlelight Program

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us:                                                                       

Dylan Klein (530) 574—0064


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Dylan Klein
Davis, CA

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