Nyalenda is one of the biggest slums in Kisumu. Like many other slums in Kenya, Nyalenda is associated with negative aspects of life such as low literacy levels, lack of clean water and poor sanitation.But the story of Nyalenda is now being re-written through the Face of Nyalenda initiative. Spearheaded by Ms. Winnie Juma, the initiative that started off in September 2016 had great support from the community collecting about 1, 000 books that day.
“Growing up in Nyalenda was never about talent. It was all about the books I missed, and the opportunities that could have led me to where I wanted to be,” Ms. Winnie Juma shared. Orphaned at a young age, her aunt took her in. Winnie’s aunt offered the youth a place to read and broaden their minds with a colloction of books she owned. Ms. Winnie Juma recounts that while growing up, they used to congregate at the only homestead with electricity in Nyalenda to undertake their homework.
“It has never escaped my mind that someone was willing to give us space to undertake our homework. That simple gesture gave me the inspiration to do what I am doing today. Through this project, I have stretched out my hand to hold the hands of many children. I clearly remember that not long ago, somebody stretched out his hand for me to hold by giving space to me and others to undertake homework,” she said.
The project has already attracted over 20 students, with about 3, 000 books in their library. Speaking on their unmatched need for more books, Winnie points out some of the most important items are dictionaries and kamusis which are very important in the development of English and Swahili languages.
Thier are plans to host a Face of Nyalenda Talent Show in December, this year. With the program expanding, the initiative hopes to move on into a larger space in Koloo area so as to serve more students.
Ms. Winnie Juma was born and bred in Nyalenda. A graduate of Nairobi Aviation College Kisumu campus, she hopes to pursue a degree in the same course at the University of Nairobi.
In two years, Winnie intends to buy land and have not only a fully fledged library but a resource center.
This article was written by Peter Oliver Ochieng’.