Chema Vision School
Fundraising Goal: $100k.
Problem to solve: In 2019, The Kenyan Ministry of Education ordered all learning institutions not in compliance with the government’s safety guidelines to be shut. In early 2020, Chema Vision School did not have the resources to upgrade their school facility and was forced to vacate leaving no school for 155 children.
Current Status and need: A new, safe school has been established, 48 students have returned to school, additional furniture, books, supplies and 1-year operating costs for 2021 are needed.
School Location: Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa.
Who will benefit: 155 vulnerable children (80 boys and 75 girls, ages 2.5-15)
Funds needed by: January 30, 2021
The Chema Vision School is sponsored by Julian Prolman an emerging, “artist provocateur” aka The Great White Buffaloand his social enterprise, Eco Fashion House Ministry of Tomorrow (MOT).
As an advocate for social and environmental justice Julian uses the power of art to transcend earthly boundaries by creating spiritually centered, provocative works of art aimed at generating positive change.
In 2012 Julian established MOT with the company’s flagship, vegan bag factory located in Nairobi, Kenya, minutes outside of Kibera. MOT recruits tailors from Kibera as part of its fair wage, job creation endeavor.
“We heard about the situation at Chema and felt compelled to do all we could to help the school reopen” said Julian Prolman, President of Ministry of Tomorrow.
Through initial donations, Ministry of Tomorrow was able to raise enough funds to reopen the school in a safe new location that meets Nairobi building codes. As part of the government’s response to Covid, so far two grades have been allowed to return to school (48 children are currently back in school) but there are more than 123 additional students waiting to start the new semester in January. Ministry of Tomorrow is seeking $100K to cover the 2021 budget that includes additional desks and chairs, supplies, books and a daily meal program for the students.
About Chema Vision School
Situated at the heart of Kibera, one of the biggest slums in Africa is the Chema Vision School that serves some of Kibera’s most vulnerable children (orphans and children of single parents without a source income to pay for school fees)
With a population of more than 250,000 people, Kibera suffers from inadequate housing, overcrowding, poor sanitation and extreme poverty. “Education is a major challenge for children born in the Kibera slum because quality education is costly,” says Mary Muthini, Director of the Chema Vision School and Co-Founder.
For the past 10 years, Mary Muthini and her colleague Joseph Cheruiyot have been directing the Chema Vision School. Apart from being founders, they are both teachers. Mary is an English teacher and Joseph is a mathematics teacher who is also in charge of academics.
In 2009, Mary was working at a local private school when she realized that many other children were missing out on education because they could not afford to pay tuition. Being a mother and teacher with a big heart, Mary decided to start a new school where marginalized children could have a chance for a better future along with a healthy daily meal. “My goal was to help the children with the greatest needs to have access to quality education,” said Mary Muthini.
Mary sought the support of her colleague and fellow teacher Joseph Cheruiyot, who also shared the same sentiments. “I was very happy to partner with Mary to provide affordable education to those in need,” said Joseph Cheruiyot. “Kibera also has an influx of homeless children. We envisioned Chema as a way to help these children by getting them to school and providing a nourishing meal,” he added.
With the little savings they had, Mary and Joseph rented a building and bought some stationery to get things started. “That is how the Chema Vision School was born. Our next step was moving from door to door looking for children in the slums who could not afford going to school. We were shocked to find children as old as 10 years who had never been to school,” recalls Mary. “The challenging bit was also convincing parents and guardians to let their children come to school”. Mary and Joseph also knew they had to establish a feeding program for the school. “Food is a very important requirement because you cannot teach hungry children. A well-fed child will concentrate better in class,” said Mary.
In the first month, the school had enrolled 6 children who were provided with free education. “We also dug deeper into our pockets and bought food. This attracted more children who would come for food and the number rose to 45 the following month, and over time the student count grew to 155 children with pupils ranging from Kindergarten to Standard eight (8th grade). “In addition to advancing the children to graduate from high school, the school created employment opportunities for 11 qualified teachers and one cook. With continued employment they can support their families,” said Mary.
One of the most important aspects of the school is guidance and counseling sessions for all the children, with a special focus on girls regarding sexual education. Girls in slums live in abject poverty, lack proper guidance and are sometimes pushed to early marriages and prostitution. “We provide vital information at the different stages of adolescence so girls can take control of their lives,” adds Mary.
A limited number of parents contribute to the school fees but most have no source of income. At the moment, the Chema Vision School relies on donations to fund the majority of the students.
There are three ways to donate:
1. Donate directly to Chema- GoFundMe
2. Until all the funds are raised 50% of all art sales from Art of the Great White Buffalo will be donated to Chema
3. Until all the funds are raised, 50% of all products purchased at Ministry of Tomorrow will be donated to Chema.