Kijiji has interacted more with the caregivers and has had limited interaction with children. The interaction has been through school and home visits. However, there has been a need to get all the children together in regular meetings at the office to enable them interact with each other, share experiences on common challenges they face and find solution among themselves. In these meetings, they would also get career guidance, general life skills guidance and how to face challenges youth encounter in hostile environment such as in Kibera.
The children in upper classes met on 20th April, 2018. This was an ideal time since the schools were closed for April holidays. The first batch of youth attending vocational training also attended. The youth at the college include Edwin Ochwele, Esther Achieng, Tony Magak, Samson Otieno and Kilian Ngala. The college they attend is called Kolping Vocational Training College. They gladly shared the experience of college life with their younger brothers and sisters. Their talk inspired the children who vowed to work hard to attain grades that will allow them enter college.
During the meeting, the youth were also fortunate to have Tracy Khakhali, one of the first KCU beneficiaries set to graduate on 5th May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in education from Tangaza University College, talk to them. Tracy encouraged the youth to use their current circumstances as motivation to work hard and change their situations. Born in Kibera, Tracy prides herself as having worked against all odds to make it to college. She also talked to the youth on effective studying habits that eventually enable them to score good grades.
Tracy too, was an inspiration to the youth who were elated by her achievement.
The youth also got a chance to listen to Joyce, KCU Field Coordinator who talked about behavior change for positive development. Joyce mainly talked about the need for patience and taking personal initiatives for personal growth. She discouraged the youth against peer pressure that eventually lead to negative behaviour such as drug abuse and early sexual relationships. She advised them to always engage in positive activities such as study groups to enable them spend their school holidays effectively.
After refreshments, everyone got a chance to contribute to the meeting. Most remarkable was an advice from Fatuma Abdi, a fourth student (12th grade) from Shadrack Kimalel Secondary School who said that most youth her age were already in active sexual relationships that were negatively affecting their studies. Some were opting out of school to get married while others got unplanned pregnancies thereby burdening their caregivers. Fatuma urged her peers to remain patient and focus on education which will eventually improve their lives. She said that they should do things at the at right time.
Another positive note came from Lucas Kepha who urged fellow youth to always have confidence while doing exams. Lucas observed that many students fail not because they are not prepared enough but because they lack confidence in handling questions hence panicking. Lucas urged fellow youth to prepare well for exams by studying widely and mastering content.
The session was facilitated by Moses Omondi who welcomed the youth to the meeting. Moses being a trained teacher and having grown up in Kibera was able to make the youth feel at home.
After the meeting the youth agreed to meet during school holidays to share more on the challenges they face and create a lasting bond.
Before they left the girls were given sanitary towels by Leah Atieno. Sanitary towels are out of reach for girls in informal settlements and the girls end up loosing about a week of learning time every month.