Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Dream On the Brink!

This is Moses Waithaka Nyokabi

Moses waithaka is among the many children living at the Mathare IDP chief's camp. I met him on Sartuday the 15th, when we visited the camp. From a distance I could sense an air of difference about him. The difference is all out there for everyone to see, since when the rest of the kids are scrambling for the goodies that we have, Moses is keeping his cool and stands at the back of the queue where he is the last person! This gets me interested and gets him to talk.

After a 20 minutes chat, this is what I learn about this young man! Moses is a form two student, by the virtue of him being in form one last year. he has not yet reported to school since the start of this year. Reason, his mom, Lucy Nyokabi, cannot afford to pay his school fees. Moses is one of the many unlucky students who were caught in the post poll violence! they were displaced and now he just hopes that one day he will be able to go back to school. he tells me he got a sponsor who only promised to pay for one year of schooling then after that he has to look for ways to pay the rest. However, this sponsor, will only pay the fees under one condition: that Moses, gets all his personal effects (school uniform, water bucket, shoes, toiletries, pocket money, among other personal effects) by himself!

Moses is now in a dillemma because he wants to go to school but he cannot even afford the basic necessities! he is supposed to report to Kangemi Boys High School, the question is "HOW?"

This is an appeal to friends and wellwishers to help this young man pursue his dream. A dream to get his family out of squalor; a dream to get an education and improve his lot; a dream to help other unfortunate kids just like him in future! Life at the IDP camp is dislussioning, and they only depend on rations for survival!

Help save a young and youthful dream from sinking into the oblivion!

Moses tries out the Towers of Hanoi challenge -competing against Njeri as Dr. Bridgit looks on!

Moses at the IDP chief's camp, mathare
If you wanna help please contact any one of the following:
Isaac Musyoka CEK treasurer 254 722 381 218,
Dr. Bridgit Syombua CEK president 254 721 724 850,
Peter Kanja CEK Vice president 254 722 961 307,
Dr. Evalyn Mwihia CEK Secretary 254 721 417 716,
Caitlin Sanford CE US 254 724 141 959,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


CEK Volunteers posed for a photo during the 2007 Annual General Meeting

Hello everyone!

Late last year, December 9th, to be exact, CEK held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) - cum - activity day. The place - ESME World class schools in Waithaka, Kikuyu district, which is in the outskirts of the Nairobi city. The school is owned by one James Njeru, a Cosmos Education bona fide member who hosted us, at a fee. Quite a number of CEK members attended and it was a day to behold! We had fun, bonded, and brainstormed on the various activities to be carried this year. One of our volunteers, Justa, invited us to visit her former high school, Kieni Girls in Embu, and even volunteered to do the follow up with the school administration on CEK behalf. Everyone was ecstatic about this and we agreed that this year visiting Embu will be one of our major projects!

See below pictures taken during the event!

.....and rule no. 3 is......It is the Most serious of all! u can forget rule no.1 & no. 2, but u can't forget this one!!

Cosmos Education, Science Education for the Developing World!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008


"Youth are the Future, Education is the key!"

Amidst all the uncertainty facing the IDP's at the Chief's camp. mathare, this little boy could afford a smile - hopeful that the future will look nothing like what is at the moment!
It finally happened! Cosmos Education Kenya volunteers visited the chief's camp in mathare, one of the sprawling slums in Nairobi, last Sartuday the 15th of March 2008. As always, the volunteers were entusiastic about the visit at the camp. It was a day after a night of heavy rains and with a bad drainage system in the Camp, there was mud all over and the Unicef tent were we carried out our sessions was all messy, but we endured all the same. After two weeks of preparations and planning, nothing could stop us. we were determined to make an impact in the lives of the displaced children, who at the moment their only hope remains the Kenya Red Cross, Mama na dada (An NGO which actively does outreach activities in the camp), Unicef, Cosmos Education Kenya, and other like minded humanitarian and outreach organizations.

Legend has it that the Towers of Hanoi....Isaac explains The story behind the Towers of Hanoi, as Bridgit puts the game in place!

After meeting in our downtown office at 9am, we hired a Matatu which took us to the camp. On our arrival, you could tell from the curious IDP's that to them every visitor brings with them a new hope. I was even amazed that some of the children could remember our volunteers who had done a pre-visit. I couldn't hide my joy on seeing the children recognize Bridgit, Kevin, and Justa - they really made a great first impression!
Njeri and Moses try the Towers of Hanoi challenge as Bridgit looks on
After a brief singing and interacting with the curious children, we finally assembled in the not so accommodating Unicef tent where we did our introduction. We had worked out a mechanism such that all our activities were synchronized and each session eased onto the next and this way we ensured that our young audience did not get bored. Unlike in the past, we did not break into groups, rather we opted to tackle the kids in one big group - which at one point seemed headed to the rocks! The kids were kind of unrully and naughty, but they afforded us their attention regardless!

Evalyn distributing some grapes she got from the camp to the kids

The topics covered ranged from the infamous Towers of Hanoi to the paper folding challenge. We did the hyena, chicken, and Ugali, all these laced with songs and dance - the Banana song was the most requested and our volunteer Kevin Kinyua with one of CEK's newest, Nina, kept the kids peeling, slashing and eating "banana" This way, Caitlin's void (note that she had travelled to Tanzania on an assignment) was adequately covered!

Now lets do this, Bridgit gets Moses to try out the Towers of Hanoi challenge as Isaac looks on

Being an Intern at the UNEP, I was careful not to leave out the environment! I talked to the kids on the importance of keeping our environment clean, taking care of trees, and planting new ones. The kids seemed aware of the fact that trees purify our air and induce rain!!!!

We need to keep our environment clean and hospitable to everyone!

After spending a sizeable amount of the morning teaching and singing, we then treated them to a cup of juice and biscuits. We also donated excersise books and pencils for them to write on come Monday morning.

Justa, Kevin, Dickson, and Nina doing the "I pepeta" song!

Once everything was said and done, and everyone was ready to go back and enjoy the rest of their weekend, we could not help reflecting on what really had been achieved so far. One thing we were convinced of , though. We had gone there with one thing in mind: To Inspire, Empower, and Engage, but I had a feeling that we had done more than just that. We had touched the lives of a very sensitive group in our society at this time when the country is still smarting from the post poll violence and its effect. Our hearts reached out to them and we are definately going back to pick up from there..........all the way to the future, which is intricately embeded in the youthful virality of the youth - as long as they are given the key: EDUCATION!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Help support a student to attend secondary school

Dear readers,

You may remember the MCEDO-Beijing school where Cosmos Education Kenya held the Holiday Science Learning Camp in August 2007. We have learned that all 15 of the pupils in standard 8 have passed the national primary school exam, which qualifies the students to attend secondary school.

This is a huge achievement for an informal school that does not have certified teachers. The students all worked extremely hard to pass the national exam and get a chance to go to secondary school. They all deserve the chance to continue their education.

We like to think that the week long camp held by Cosmos Education Kenya likely prepared the students for success in some key science topics. We are fundraising to try to send at least a few students to boarding school up country. Boarding school in the norm for secondary school in Kenya, and would remove the students from the unhealthy environment of the slum. The alternative is that they will stay around looking for work, ending their education at age 14. The students have been accepted to two secondary schools in central Kenya, where they would live on campus. The cost of one year tuition, including board and meals is 18,000 Kenyan Shillings, which is US$ 268.65.

If you, or anyone you know could help support a student to go to school please email caitlinATcosmoseducationDOTorg

You will be able to send funds through Paypal and we will deposit it directly in the bank account of the school, or you can wire money directly to the school's bank in Kenya.
In case anyone would like to support a student through all four years, my colleagues Perter Kanja and Evalyn Mwihia have agreed to continue with the logistics of paying the fees during this time. Also let us know if you are able to support half ( US$ 136) or one third ( $90) of tuition and we can pair people together to cover the cost to support one student.

Education is the best gift we can give. I know these children will be so grateful for the chance to keep learning, even for one more year. And with the added bonus that they will get to move out of the slum. If you ever have benefited from a scholarship or a student loan, this is a great chance to give back to someone who really needs help.

Please pass this on to anyone else that may be interested, and let us know about any organizations that might be able to help. The next term starts in April.

Thank you,

The Cosmos Education Kenya team

Monday, March 3, 2008

Visit to Chief's Camp and Mathare

On Saturday members from Cosmos Education Kenya visited the Chief's IDP Camp located near Mathare and Huruma slums in Nairobi. At the camp we learned that about 500 people were living there, including 200 children. The people staying in the camp come from a mix of tribes. Most of them were staying in the Mathare area and lost their homes or had to leave due to ethnic violence. Many of the children are young and have not yet been to school. Some were attending school, but now many do not feel comfortable in their old schools, or cannot afford to return.

At the camp we met with members of an organization called Mama na Dada that is organizing counseling, teaching, and other forms of support to people staying in the camp, especially children. Cosmos Education Kenya hopes to partner with Mama na Dada to organize a weekend of science and environmental education for the kids at Chief's camp.

CEK's Justa with kids at the camp

This weekend Mama na Dada had organized a football (soccer) tournament in Mathare to promote peace. We watched the game and Kanja held a dancing contest for the children. You can find more photos of the excursion at: