Big Updates

2 05 2012

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After months of inactive web presence, Inspiration Centre is back in action on the web! Just because we haven’t posted anything lately doesn’t mean there hasn’t been big stuff happening at the IC, though. In fact, there are a lot of new and exciting things to share. So without further ado,

Sacco: Inspiration Centre started a Sacco (monthly saving) to encourage the spirit of savings. It’s very hard for people in the slum to save money. The Sacco encourages people (members of Inspirations Centre, Mathare residents and our students) to save as little as Ksh.200 ($3) per month. In its first month, our Sacco members have saved Ksh. 10,500 ($133). Way to go! We hope that the savings will help fund some community-strengthening projects. Moses is encouraging participants to target buying a van that can be used to generate some income.

New Company: We are in the process of registering a company called FLATTED FIFTH LTD. This company will be the vehicle to propel IC to greater heights and to also meet its budget. This is another exciting step in our path towards self-sufficiency. Income generating projects (like the kerosene pump, land ownership, and hopefully more) enable Inspiration Centre to send kids to school, put on art camps, host church, provide a safe place to hang out, and much more! We have already done a name search with the Kenyan government and the name was approved. Now we are working the modality of how business will be managed, directors, shareholders, etc. More updates to come.

Back to School: Boy does time fly! Our students are heading back to school this week for another term of classes. We wish them the best of luck and ask for prayers for perseverance and motivation with classes, peer pressure, and the stress of being away from home. As always, we have students that would benefit greatly from financial sponsorship. For more information, please contact us. And another thank you to those generous donors who already help this happen.

Facebook: Inspiration Centre now has a Facebook page, so get out there and “like” us!

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Back to School

2 05 2011

As April break comes to a close and our kids head back to school this week, Inspiration Centre students have been thinking about the challenges and hurdles they will face as they return to classes.

Pepe

  • Concerned for safety and security as he and his classmates trek to school in the morning.

Fridah

  • Challenged to cope well in school through rules, understanding in class and peer pressure.
  • Encourages fellow students to work hard

Lawrence

  • Lacks text books to be able to perform better

Quinta

  • Prays to have courage as she starts her practical classes of nursing, especially while going to wards and mortuaries
  • Feels great to see her friends at IC and the zeal they have in serving God
  • Challenges her fellow youths to be consistence and avoid bad company
  • Prays that God may help her to know her limits when in a relationship
  • Prays to overcome peer pressure

Collins

  • Needs to have a place where he can study in the evening
  • Wants to pass knowledge to others

Boyyee

  • Still feels challenged going back to school after staying out of school for four years.
  • Feels bad that his mother is facing daily challenges to make ends meet when he should be the one helping her out. Sometimes he feels that the school is the one keeping him from working to support his mother.

Sarah

  • Advises her friends not to follow the crowd
  • Challenges her friends to have “academic jealousy” during their time in school.
  • Challenges her friends with a quote “show me your friend and I will show you your character.” She advised her friends to choose wisely the company they keep while in school to avoid being enticed to bad behaviors.
  • Wants to keep God first

Nancy

  • Encouraged friends that it was never too late to redeem oneself in academics
  • Faced with bus fare challenges in going to college

Wambua

  • Struggles with the fact that his class has almost 90% of boys who are involved in drugs
  • Prays for strength in handling peer pressure in school
  • Feels bad that city boys who share the same understanding as him are the ones who are involved in drugs and are not sharp in class. The ones who happen to be serious in class and drug free are regarded as “rural boys.” He is forced to swallow the bitter peel of being a friend of “rural boys” to avoid getting into trouble.

Joel

  • Challenges friends to form good relationships and encouraged platonic friendships
  • Encourages everyone to avoid cheating in school exams

Babu

  • Feels pressured when he see his class mate cheating to pass their exams
  • Peer pressure

Samuel

  • He feels challenged when he see his parents going through various challenges to meet the needs at home.
  • Most of his fellow students smoke weed (bhang) a lot especially at around his home in Huruma.
  • He has hard time in understanding mathematics and he feels that this was as a result of having a bad foundation in primary school with a teacher who used to come to class drunk.
  • He needs text books but fears getting them from school because they could be stolen.

Tom

  • Thankful that he does not have to deal with school fee challenges because he got a scholarship.
  • Worried about peer pressure and lack of text books

Brighton

  • Faces school fees challenges which makes it hard for him to catch up in class while away.

Please continue to keep these students in your prayers throughout the new term. They need all the encouragement they can get, so leave a comment, and we’ll pass it on!

On Saturday, the Inspiration Centre family enjoyed one last day of fun with a pool party and picnic before students return to class.





HIV/AIDS Testing and Circumcision Day

29 04 2011

Kenya is one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The United Nations program on HIV and AIDS estimates that about 1.5 million people in country are living with HIV and a staggaring 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS (click here for more info on HIV/AIDS in Kenya). Tragically, this reality hits home for many people living in Mathare. Luckily, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of people infected in the last ten years. Much of this is due to increased education and awareness.

Inspiration Centre Mathare is doing our part to help educate our community about HIV/AIDS and encourage everyone to know their status. That is why we hosted a voluntary HIV/AIDS testing event yesterday in Mathare. Anyone who wanted to was welcomed to come and get their blood tested free of charge.

In Inspiration Centre style, we set up loud speakers and music to get the party started and attract people to the event.

Inspiration Centre director, Moses, gets tested in order to encourage others to break the silence and know their status.

One of our own boys gets his blood drawn

Overall, we had a great turnout — 30 people got tested! The procedure is simple, but the decision to get tested is a scary one. “The stigma associated with HIV/Aids makes it harder for people to come out and speak openly about their HIV status. Some people would rather blame it on witchcraft than come out and speak about it,” said Moses. But the benefits are undeniable. Getting tested for HIV is one of the best ways to stop its spread. “It is an honorable thing to teach our youth the responsibility of knowing their status, no matter how scary the process may be,” said Celmali Jaime, a volunteer who wished courage to all those getting tested.

In addition to voluntary testing, we also provided the opportunity for free circumcisions to any male who wished to take part. The World Health Organization has concluded that male circumcision reduces the risk of male infection by 60 percent. It is important to note that this procedure doesn’t make anyone immune to the disease, but it can play an important role in a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention program.

Seven very brave young men took advantage of the opportunity. Congratulations to them! It took courage undergo this painful procedure.

We would like to extend a special thanks to St. Vincent's Catholic Church for providing doctors and caregivers for the entire day. Without them, the day would not have been possible.

The event was such a success, we plan to do it every time the schools are on vacation. A big thanks to everyone who helped out and a round of applause for those with courage to know their status.

Simple translation: "I know my status"





An Undeterred Spirit

31 01 2011
Fridah is a girl that lives with a single parent (her mother) together with her older brother who just finished high school. Inspiration Centre started being actively involved in Fridah’s life five years ago. We discovered how talented she was especially in poetry, singing and public speaking. She is a girl who has not been distracted with various challenges in her life like the passing away of her dad. Despite going to school with tattered school uniform, Fridah had her eyes fixed on the end result, which according to her was to finish school. It is almost impossible to think of Fridah as a little girl because she is so mature in how she perceives life.
Fridah’s mom is a hawker and has no education to secure any meaningful employment. The darkest moment for Fridah was in 2007/8 during the elections in Kenya. She is from a tribe that wasn’t allowed to be in some parts of Mathare after the elections dispute. As a result of this, her family was forced to escape for their lives. When all things had settled and the peace treaty was signed, Inspiration Centre’s school sponsorship program allowed her to enroll in a boarding school. Fridah graduated from 8th grade on January 21, 2011. She was one of the best students in her school and she will be joining high school in three week’s time. Fridah’s story is an inspiration to us all. We wish her the best of luck as she continues to pursue her goal of education.

Fridah was given an award for preforming well on her final exams





An Educated Mathare

7 05 2010

Cutting off all of your beautiful hair is the ultimate sacrifice for education. That’s what our high school aged StarGirls had to do. (And no, you don’t have to feel bad because we StarGirls, hairless or hairful, will always look good!) And of course, I am proud to say… every StarGirl is now in school. It was a fight, yes, a hard one, to get the books, the uniforms, the bus fare, the pocket money, the tuition, the parent’s consent, and get these girls off to where they needed to be most… school. Truly, I am relieved to see them out of the slum and boarding at great schools that will challenge them. So… Can we now take a breather you ask… NO! The boys need their dose of education too!  Unlike the girls, most of our boys at Inspiration Center don’t board. They live at home and commute daily as day scholars.

Last Sunday, we all sat together to discuss some of the challenges of high school life. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Wambo- The exams are very challenging. I’m praying next term will be easier.

Lawrence- Being a day scholar is difficult. I find myself lacking time to study. Your peers influence you, there’s quarreling with parents, TV… so many distractions.

Sarah- Boarding life is hard. You have to learn to live with so many different characters. Some students aren’t serious… they’re playing around, making fun of you, even stealing toothbrushes! You have to learn how to manage your time and choose good friends.

Valentine- Last semester was rough. I was sent home because I was lacking school fees, and found out my mom had died. But pray that I won’t give up. I just found out that I did really well on one of my exams.

Boyee- Gossip. It’s tough being in a mixed gender boarding school. You can’t even greet a girl and the rumors start. And drugs are a huge issue. Some of the boys are using. Boarding school is more stressful than a day school.

MaryBeth- You sleep late, and then you have to wake up early… As early as 3 am!. The schedule is demanding.

Edwin- To be honest, when it comes to school, I haven’t been the greatest. Carelessness, rudeness, skipping school… I’ve been having these issues, and to add to the problem, sometimes I can’t pay school fees.

Fridah- Some students are selfish, and there is a lot of bullying. Sometimes you end up picking up bad habits. I need prayer for a better attitude. I need strength to do the right thing, even if it means losing friends.

Brighton- It’s about having a positive attitude. We need to not be lazy and not have negative attitudes towards school, and even towards the difficult subjects.

Sam- I got caught up in selling and using drugs. The work is so difficult. I don’t understand any of the material or all of these formulas. I thought that the relationship between Pi and radius was that they were brothers…

So which is more of a challenge…boarding, or day school? I say, both are tough enough. Please keep our youth in your prayers as they journey through the trials of teenage years and press to finish their secondary education. Thanks!





Asante Sana!

22 02 2010

Just a little note to say thank you to Judith Brison, who just committed to sending two of our girls (Mary and Molly) to primary school for the whole year. “Asante” to all our generous supporters who are helping us realize our goals of changing the lives of children and youth in Mathare.

There are plenty more kids who are struggling to pay for school fees this year. We can’t stress the importance of a good education for our kids, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come free here in Kenya. If you would like to help out, please contact Moses for more details (boyyee20us@yahoo.com).

Mary (in the checkered dress)

Molly (with the microphone)








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