Streams in the Desert

A story is told of one Mrs. Judy Oloo, a teacher of Desert Streams School, Kibera who is driven by a passion to see children secure for themselves a bright future.

Judy started the school in 2005 with only her as the teacher and one child — by now has 13 teachers and 182 children up to Class Eight. Starting from humble beginnings she says, it has been a journey of a step at a time and it is clear that she has not reached her destiny. With a lot of perseverance and determination she has been able to come this far and like the school’s motto she is “Determined to Excel”.

Facing many challenges like teachers walking away due to greener pastures in terms of salaries and also food, water and firewood being hard to get and that many pupils do not pay fees, giving up would have been an option but she has chosen to still hold on.

desert streams

Mrs Judy Oloo, the principal, in her office

Mrs. Oloo notes that most of the pupils come from homes where the parent is single, or do not have jobs or worse yet, homes where abuse is common; unfortunately this affects the children and especially girls who often suffer sexual abuse. It is unfortunate that these children are going through all this plus lack of food. Going to school is something to look forward to; at least they find porridge and food. The hope of brighter days lays percolating in their hearts.

Many of the parents are illiterate, so there is no motivation for the children. It is worse for those that are single and as a result harbor bitterness in their hearts and so do not encourage their children and sometimes will mercilessly punish them even for small mistakes. What of some who do not even know what class their child is in?

In all this confusion, some of the children achieve very good marks, some well-wishers give sponsorship for the most needy, and a good foundation of faith is also laid. Unlike a number of schools in the surrounding slums, the principal has a cause to rejoice because Desert Streams has been registered. She is able to get money by selling calendars with photos of the children to their parents. She says that the teachers are sponsored through Springs of Africa; the fees they collect would not be sufficient.

Mrs. Judy has hope and faith that the school will continue to develop.

~ Rahab Muchunu

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