70% of Nairobi’s population live in slums (informal settlements). African slums are not child-friendly. Playing hide-and seek with disease, malnutrition, crime and drug abuse, young children are robbed of the joys of childhood. Such a hopeless existence continues into adulthood where “slum” residents are either unemployed or employed as temporary laborers earning less than 80 cents per day. A good education is out of the question for Kenyans who live in such desperate circumstances. Though there are many slums in Africa, we concentrate on a small slum in the centre of Nairobi: Ngando Slum.
While living in Nairobi, Skief and Florentine Houben felt overwhelmed by the suffocating poverty and the bad circumstances of children living in city slums. Therefore they decided to set up a school in cooperation with a well-qualified Kenyan teacher: Judy Nzomo. Together they felt the great need to intervene during the most crucial formative years of children between the ages of 1,5 – 6. Appropriate early education, nurturing and support would prepare them for a smooth transition to primary school. They believe this provides the children with a solid start to a brighter future no matter what their social and economic background is.
The lack of Early Childhood Development education in Kenya is one of the main reasons why ca. 25% of children do not attend Primary school. Only 28 % of children in Kenya attend nursery schools.