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Electricity means School Starts Early!

Written by Joel Cooper
February 10, 2014

It is very difficult for children to receive a good education in rural East Africa. A large percentage of these economically struggling communities lack funding even for basic necessities like decent classrooms, school lunches, and running water.  Many teachers who recently graduate from universities in relatively modern cities become discouraged at the thought of having to leave the amenities there for the less developed countryside.

Thanks to the generous donors of CWS, along with support from the local community, Gikandu Primary School Northeast of Nairobi, Kenya, has received vital infrastructure improvements that have rescued the overall learning environment. CWS constructed a fence around the school to protect students from alcoholics who would sometimes trespass and scare away children.

“People would come shouting and making a lot of noise,” said senior teacher, David Ngao. Now everyone feels safe, teachers are excited to teach, and students are excited to learn. “Our kids are very happy—especially class eight,” said deputy head teacher, Margaret Munyeki. “They are here by 5:30 [a.m.] together with their teacher… because there is electricity.”

This electricity, specifically, was installed using funds donated personally by a CWS Africa employee. Inspired by this donation, parents and the local community came together to further upgrade the school’s electrical system. At first, electricity was not high on the school’s wish list, but after CWS started to show its support, students became so encouraged that they began traveling to school using only the light of their lamps in the early morning hours to maximize the time they had to learn.

“In the village where the children come from, there is no electricity,” said Sarah Bureti, CWS Africa School Safe Zones coordinator. “The home environment is not conducive.  In most cases it is just a small room—just a little house.” One can imagine what it must mean to these children, who come from so little, to now have a modern school that clearly conveys the importance of the education occurring within its walls.

And the students are not the only ones who are motivated.  “I commit myself to be with them early in the morning, up to the evening,” Ngao continued. “When the children do examinations they can see that they now improve from the previous performance.” Motivated by supportive parents and community, tireless teachers like Ngao, and CWS Africa, Gikandu students will never take their education for granted. They may not all have an ideal home life, but every child from both economic extremes deserves an equal opportunity to learn.

Joel Cooper serves as a Global Mission Intern with Church World Service East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. He serves as communications intern.

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