Joysprings Educational Centre, a primary school at the centre of Kenya’s biggest slum, is a dream come true. The Principal of the school, Mrs. Rose Wanyama, is a person to listen to as she shares her story of how she started the school.
I arrive at the institution a few minutes before our scheduled appointment, and am glad for a few minutes to go through the school compound where I see the well-furnished classrooms and offices.
their notice board, I note that the school performed exemplary well in last year’s national examination. I also interact with a few pupils who are out for their break.
After a few minutes of waiting, this enthusiastic principal welcomes me in to her office. With my notebook and camera ready, we start the interview. “I started the school in 2000 with only 4 children,” she begins. Motivated by her passion to help the hopeless children in the slum, Rose explains that she tries her best to sustain all of the pupils in school. Despite the financial challenges with the school being in a remote area, Rose recounts that she struggled to convince the parents to release their children for school. Furthermore, she dared not ask any of them for fees as responses like “ulimpata tu hapa” (you got them right here) would come her way.
After a few months, more pupils enrolled and they were forced to relocate to a more spacious place. Luckily, she managed to find a house near a railway line. Though it was a dangerous place for kids, it was spacious for the growing number of pupils.
Before long, the government ordered all those near the railway line to move. Madam Rose had no choice but to relocate again. “To keep the children in class, I secured a loan of Kshs 9,000 and started feeding them,” she narrates adding that, “Within a short time, the feeding program largely boosted enrollment to about 200.”
Unbelievably, the school now has baby class all the way through to standard eight, with more than 400 pupils and 20 teachers. Their graduates have performed well and many secure leadership positions in their respective high schools. This could be due to the excellent teaching, Christian foundation, and personal mentoring they receive during their years at Joysprings.
The school has several sponsors. World Food Program provides foodstuffs such as maize, yellow peas, cooking fat and salt for feeding the children. Donors of Springs of Africa and DOVE Africa also help with sponsorship and salaries for teachers.
“We are forever grateful for DOVE and we pray that God will bless all who support us to acquire quality education at Joy Springs Educational Centre,” one beneficiary said.
“Every dream is valid, and for sure, a journey of a thousand mile starts with one step,” notes Madam Rose as we conclude the interview.
By: Rahab Muchunu