The Redemptorists Solidarity Office for Africa and Magadascar visited two projects implemented by the Redemptorists Misson of Kenya. The first project is the Nguruki Youth Polytechnic Development Project which seeks to deliver vocational and technical skills trainings along with entrepreneurship technology to the disadvantaged and poor rural youth in the Eastern Province of Kenya. The other project is the Iruma Educational Development Project which focuses on providing access to quality education for the disadvantaged children through the construction of classrooms, staff cottages, kitchen, toilets, furniture and refurbishment of school facilities. These two projects are being implemented in Iruma in the Mwinbi division of Maara District, Tharaka Country in the Eastern Province of Kenya.
Redemptorists in Kenya have been working in this area for more than twenty years. Their first involvement with the Iruma community was the successful water project that provided piped water to over 900 families in this rural area. Mobilisation of community was also pioneered by the Redemptorists in Kenya sourcing funds for community development projects especially on the construction of primary and secondary schools that offer education to the marginalised children across the mission area. The Polytechnic project was set up to change the repeated cycle of disadvantage faced by young people who are not able to complete the mainstream secondary school programme. Within this area, the Redemptorists are therefore seeking to transform the employment, income and livelihood prospect of this targeted rural youth population by empowering them to develop technical and life skills that will lead to employment, self-start business initiatives, transition skills for life in the city and quality of life choices that breaks the cycle of poverty. For all this to be a success, the Redemptorists Mission of Kenya has been refurbishing this Polytechnic Centre so as to bring favourable results especially to the most vulnerable youth.
The Iruma Educational Development Project has also been targeting the most vulnerable children who are not having proper access to quality education. The Redemptorists Mission of Kenya noted that, there was over 200 non-school going children in Iruma posing a challenge for the better future of children. Within this area, there are so many classrooms and furniture which are requiring repair, window panes, cement floors and plastering. In terms of sanitation facilities it was pointed out that there is an urgent need of proper facilities as the present ones are not fit for use. This led the health authorities threatening to close the school. However, Redemptorists Mission of Kenya has responded to this challenge by constructing 16 classrooms at St Alphonsus Primary School, Iruma Primary School and Makengi Primary School. In addition to that, these three primary schools are also benefiting with construction of staff cottages, flash system and Blair latrines, furniture and renovations of classrooms. Since the inception of this project there has been an increase by 25% of retention of students against counterproductive social practices. Some school teachers have no proper accommodation and construction of staff cottage has been appreciated. Within all these primary schools, sanitation facilities have dilapidated and the Redemptorists are working on construction of new latrines for the school children. The Redemptorists in Kenya are so much committed to providing free primary education for all especially those who are non-school going children. A lot of work is in progress in the service of the marginalised school children providing dignified educational facilities and decent sanitation facilities. More so, feeding program has also been initiated for children who are not able to get decent meal at home. All these interventions are done to the achievement of millennium development goal number 2 on achieving universal primary education. Thank you so much Redemptorists in Kenya for making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children and youth.