The wave of impact that Covid-19 has caused throughout the globe is considerable and our ministry is no exception. We have felt the brunt of it over the last 12 months at our Kibera primary school location. This school has always been tight quarters from the start and so it is not surprising that the government has not approved the use of it as a primary school during the events of the global pandemic.
Our bulding has undergone massive improvements in the last couple of years and our student population was growing! Those of you that have supported us for some time now may even remember a time when our tin and wood building caught fire. Because of the instruction and training that some of our team members were able to provide our staff, they were able to vent the roof and control the fire while also saving every soul inside. During the last year, we have been able to make improvements to the flooring, windows and other finishing touches. Upgrading to cement block, tile floors, and adding windows was such a blessing to this location!
Because kibera is an incredibly cramped slum, space comes at a premium. Due to the small footprint of this school's foundation, the classrooms had to be small to accomodate all grade levels. This was never ideal but we made it work...until now. With new COVID-19 safety measure's in place, the Kenya government has not authorized the use of our Kibera school building as a primary school since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we don't know when or even if we will ever be allowed to re-open as primary school. So, we've been regrouping and working with the proper authorities to approve the use of this space for another purpose, a purpose God had placed on our hearts years ago; a trade school!
As is so often true about ministry work in a place like Kenya, we consistently ask the Lord to guide our steps and sometimes He has plans that we can't see until we are forced to rethink the use of our resources. We saw good fruit coming from the Kibera primary school so there was no reason to shut it down and convert it to the Trade School. But as we've been left unable to reopen this primary school, it's become clear that the best way to make lemonade out lemons is to convert this space into a Trade School for our older children. This will mean a smaller student population but will provide a high degree of investment in those students plus, the government approves of the plan.
Meanwhile, our resident cook, Rose, continues to do a fantastic job maintaining the building. Her son Moses has been attending our South B location during the absence of school in our Kibera location. Our student population has sought out other schools with larger classrooms that can accommodate the new governement regulations.
This pandemic may be causing a bump in the road for our students but it will not keep us from our mission: to radically change the slums of Nairobi with the love and hope of Jesus Christ! A dream of ours has always been to create a space where students could receive practical work training as well as spiritual mentorship before they leave our ministry and head out into the workforce. We provide this through our high school program and those students work toward their high school diploma for four years. Unfortunately, not all of our 8th grade graduates are academics. We have been praying for a way to create an avenue for those students that are more tactile and mechanically minded. This tradeschool dream would provide training and mentorship for those eighth grade students that do not receive a high score on their KCPE examination but are hardworking and able to study under a mentor in an apprenticeship!
Would you join us as we pray about the possibility of transforming our vacant Kibera primary school into a tradeschool that would be a pipeline for success? We are currently looking into whether the government will greenlight this project for us and allow several students per classroom to come and learn a trade.
We are praying for the Lord's direction as we seek to utilize our resources to the best of our ability!