The East African country of Kenya received independence from the British in 1963, and has since faced numerous struggles in most sectors of its governance. During the elections of 2007/2008, numerous ethnic clashes took place and forced many to seek refuge in other parts of the country by setting up IDP camps (internally displaced people) as refugees within their own country. A rural area of Maai Mahiu became the safe haven for those escaping persecution to set up tents and establish a new home. Soon after, Habitat for Humanity built small stone homes for the people within the camps that serve as basic shelter. The strength of the community continued to shine as they all contributed what little money they had to purchasing the land from the government and naming it the Village of Vumilia (meaning patience and resilience). However, Vumilia, Maai Mahiu is still faced with numerous struggles.
The largest, and perhaps most important, has been the lack of quality and affordable education for Vumilia, as well as Kenyans in general. This in turn has caused many to only complete the equivalent of an eighth grade education. Although Kenya instituted a free public education through government subsidies, the enrollment rose to larger than what the Kenyan government could afford, thus causing schools to charge large fees to make up for the gap. Less than half of Kenyans can afford the school fees beyond eighth grade, causing the enrollment for secondary school to be less than 50% in Kenya. However, even those who attend secondary school oftentimes earn diplomas for jobs the Kenyan economy cannot or does not support, thus causing even the under 50% of educated Kenyans to be unemployed and living in slums. This is where Kawelle’s story begins.
Kawelle has decided to take initiative and create sustainable change by educating Kenyan youth in an up-and-coming trade in Kenya that the country’s economy can support. We work with local leaders and youth in Vumilia, Maai Mahiu and built/operate an IT center and school that focuses on the education of basic computer skills, advanced curriculum in web design, and encompasses an internet cafe for the entire community to utilize the tools of the world-wide-web. The IT center provides a trade Vumilia believes has created change within their community, and can be attended by all, including those who cannot attend secondary school due to fees or unacceptable grades. The center is now totally self-sustaining, 100% solar powered, and the first building in Vumilia with electricity. We have taken on the responsibility of producing knowledgeable youth who can work sustainable jobs and trades that succeed in the Kenyan economy and the world alike.