Nelson Mandela Day causes smiles in Kibera

July 21, 2011 3:08 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21- The South African High Commission along with several companies and partners paid a visit to an educational centre in Kibera on Thursday donating funds, food stuffs, school supplies and building materials as part of celebrating International Nelson Mandela Day.

The Hoywik (Humanity for Orphans, Youth and Widows Initiative Kenya) Educational Children’s Centre that caters for almost 250 orphans and disadvantaged children in Raila Village, benefited from a Sh2.4 million contribution from the South African High Commission, corporate donors and partners.

South African Ambassador Ndumiso Ntshinga said the funds would improve the facility’s physical infrastructure and strengthen the program’s ability to reach the community more efficiently.

“This cannot be a one-off project. This project is for kids up to class five. If you don’t provide class six tomorrow, class seven; another day what’s going to happen to those kids? So, they must keep on going. I’m glad that the private sector is here in full force, because it gives me confidence that we are going to be able to generate more resources,” he said.

Hoywik Educational Centre Director Zacchary Ngare said lack of funding has been a major hindrance for the centre which apart from providing education, initiates income generating activities for youth and widows in the area.

“We’ve been having a lot of challenges in addressing education within the community, especially on HIV/AIDS, orphans and other vulnerable children. We’ve been having a lot of challenges in accessing resources. You know in Kenya if you’re not well connected nobody can listen to you. Since we registered in 1998 we haven’t received this big support,” he said.

The school has Early Childhood Development classes up to class five, and Mr Ngare said there are plans to expand it into a secondary school in future.

Mandela Day was inaugurated in 2009 in South Africa and the United States to mark Nelson Mandela’s birthday – July 18.

The United Nations’ decision to declare July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day evolved it into a celebration for Mandela’s life and legacy.

Ambassador Ntshinga said Mandela Day is a call to action for people to take responsibility in making the world a better place by honouring the 67 years Mandela dedicated to humanitarian deeds.

“It is a day when we celebrate Nelson Mandela’s contribution to humanity and we call upon people across the globe to dedicate 67 minutes of their time for the well being of humanity. One thing that Mandela is known for is what he did for humanity; his selfless contribution to the well being of humanity.”


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