Kilifi, KENYA: Orphans and under privileged children mostly from single parent families in Mtwapa, Kilifi County have started benefiting from free education programs, through a school project started by a Canadian citizen who frequently visits the area.
Kirk Anthony from Victoria, Canada, says the school project in Maweni area of Mtwapa, is just finishing up and currently 52 children have been enrolled.
Anthony says he got motivated to start the project in the area when he saw about 40 children squeezed in a single classroom with no desks and all other important learning materials.
“I bought them all new desks, papers and pens. I returned back to Canada and I was told by a friend who lives in the village that the school was closed down and the children would have no school to go to come January, so I took it upon myself to use my life savings just to build the school,” said Anthony.
Anthony revealed that he has spent more than sh.700,000 for the project and he is appealing for well wishers and donors to come on board and help him make the kids get proper education.
He says St. Anthony Academy School currently has two teachers attending to all the students, and he uses his own money to pay them but what worries him the most, is lack of funds to start a lunch program for the children.
For now he is building a kitchen at the school that will enable him start a feeding project at the school
He revealed that he normally visits each child’s home and meets their parents to see their living conditions before he takes the kid to his school.
“We don’t want children who have television and their parents drive cars, this school is for children that are really in need, some of the children that we’ve seen and visited are orphaned children, sometimes we see 9 children in one room sleeping on a mat on the floor,” he added.
Michael Mwarua Ali a resident of Maweni who donated the land for the project, applauded the school project saying it will better lives and education standards for the less fortunate kids.
Mwarua urged the government to chip in and help fund the project adding that it has a great impact in lives of many children in that community.
“We would like the government and well wishers to help paying teachers, and we wanted to start a school feeding program for the kids, because many of them survive on one meal a day, we want to upgrade this school upto Class eight, for now we have three classrooms but only two are functioning,” said Mwaruwa.
At the moment the school only has baby class, KG 1 and KG2.
Members of the community in Maweni area have welcomed the school project, saying that they were living in poor conditions and so the school has lifted a huge burden from them.
Emelda Jalala, a baby class teacher at St Anthony academy, says they normally tell parents to encourage their kids to focus on education despite challenges in their families.
Mtwapa is one of the fast growing cities in Kilifi County and coastal region as a whole, and it is surrounded by many private schools where fortunate families take their kids, a different situation portrayed at St. Anthony Academy in Maweni, Mtwapa.