Kiang’ombe School, or as it is known locally, Ameena Centre, is located in a once isolated and desperate community near Thika, Kenya. Hundreds of young children struggled daily for their basic needs with no opportunity for education and little hope for their future. In September 2011, Village elders and local leaders, energized by the possibility for something positive in their community, offered Ameena Project the free use of their abandoned school. Located in heart of Kiang’ombe, the schoolhouse was built by the community but had been vacant for years due to lack of financial resources. Kenyan teachers, personally trained by Ian and Anne May, lead this program in vision and implementation.
The powerful combination of regular nourishment, academic instruction, and structured social activities is something most children in the western world enjoy. Children in extreme poverty literally come alive when they are given these three basic elements of healthy development. Since the beginning of January, 2012 this program has been fully operating at our current capacity. Over seventy children were enrolled and receiving two meals per day and an engaging preschool education in a safe environment.
In 2014, the government of Kenyan titled all land in the Kiang’ombe slum. At this time, Ameena Centre was moved (literally, by hand) to the other edge of the community to a plot specifically set aside for us. In 2015, piped water was added to the site. In 2016, additional classrooms were built and Ameena Centre expanded to include Grade 1 students.
Life has been terribly difficult in Kiang’ombe. Unemployment is staggeringly high, generational poverty is a chronic reality, and disease is rampant. Most days the women have to search for work, leaving children alone all day. If lucky, a mom returns home with a dollar or two, along with a small amount of food for her family. Having a school for these children has a tremendous impact on both the children who attend and the community as a whole. Children are happy, healthy, and safe while parents are able to look for work without being consumed with worry over the well-being of their little ones. Ameena Centre has succesfully sent graduates of it’s program on to public school since December 2012.
To see the exact location of this program click HERE.