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Chinese charity rebuilds school to offer slum children hope

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Charles Kuta has been out of school for the past two years since a fire gutted his school deep in the sprawling Mathare slums in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Schools in Kenya closed for holidays | Coastweek  

The 17-year-old was hoping to sit for the final exams in primary school in 2016 but was forced to defer his dream of joining secondary school.

Caso Upendo Primary School located at the heart of Mathare slums was burnt to the ground after a fire broke out in the neighboring temporary structures.

Due to congestion and lack of roads through the informal settlement, county firefighters were unable to reach in time to save the school.

As a result, about 400 students were sent home while their peers in more upmarket localities continued with their studies.

So when Chinese charity organization, Dream Building Service Association (DBSA), funded the reconstruction of the school, students were elated at the prospect of rejoining formal education.

The DBSA partnered with Chinese firms including KEDA ceramics to rebuild the school at a cost of 55,000 U.S. dollars.

The school which has since been renamed KEDA DBSA School reopened its door on Friday, making it one of the few permanent structures in the sprawling slums associated with violent crime.

Liu Yimenghan, director of the DBSA, told Xinhua at the school that the aim of his organization is to play a role in uplifting the lives of the less fortunate members of Kenyan society.

Liu said in Nairobi that through his charitable work he hopes to change the perception of Chinese in Kenya.

“We want to show that Chinese are in Kenya for benefit of Kenyans so as to achieve win-win relationship,” Liu added.

The DBSA which was formed four years ago also has a school feeding program in Nairobi slums. “We are currently feeding 1,700 students in slum schools to help them keep in school,” he added


ISIOLO (Xinhua) -- A boy is seen outside his home in Isiolo county, Aug. 11, 2018. Schools in Kenya closed for holidays in early August. School term dates and holidays in Kenya are determined by the Ministry of Education.  XINHUA PHOTO: CRYSTAL



The DBSA has partnered with the China Red Cross Foundation and the Chinese Welfare Society Foundation to make the dreams of Kenyans come true regardless of their social economic background.

Liu came to Kenya as an 11 year old after his mother relocated to Kenya to pursue business.

He said the DBSA is already operating two other schools in Mathare slums and plans to expand its philanthropic activities to rural areas.

Sammy Nyatota, the principal of KEDA DBSA School, said the Chinese donors are “a light” that has come to the Mathare slums.

Nyatota said that without the help of the Chinese, the school would not have been rebuilt. “We did not have funds required to finance construction of new school buildings,” he said.

“We expect to attract even more students now that we have a school with modern infrastructure,” he added.

The principal added that children in slums are denied access to quality education and this affects their future.

He noted that Chinese are now seen as genuine friends of Kenya due to the transformation they have carried out in the slum.

He observed that through the Chinese help, the transition rate from primary to secondary school is likely to improve. Ryan Ochieng also hopes to rejoin class courtesy of the new KEDA DBSA School.

The 14-year-old has been out of school since the school was razed to ground in 2016. He told Xinhua that both his parents are casual laborers with inconsistent income and therefore could not afford to join another school.

“I never thought I would have an opportunity to purse my dream of becoming a doctor. Now with the help of Chinese help, I am one step closer to realize my goals.” Ochieng said.



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