Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Education in the Slums

I’ll start by saying this; educating children living in the slums in schools in the slums is not an easy task. I am saying this out of my own and others experience. Statistics show, education wise, most students coming from Kibera who perform well academically study in schools are not Kibera. And also that most children staying in slums; and in poverty do not stay with their real parents. This greatly affect their academic performance in school since we all know that most guardians, if not all mistreat the children and sometimes they make them the bread winner in the family. They, most of the times have to concentrate more on how to cater for the family, and neglect unknowingly their school work  as this is the only way they can be sure of having a roof over their heads and something for their stomach. As much as I would love to say that all these are fictitious, believe it or not it’s all true and very painful to see a 12 year old child out in the cold 3a.m in the morning selling their bodies and goods of which they are expected to report to school the that morning. All these happen right under our noses.
Dalifa Yusuf - KGSA graduate & current student at Maseno University
Apart from being the bread winner of the family, most children are usually subjected to domestic violence which of course deters their academic focus. Usually, they are physically, sexually or emotionally involved in the violence. They are abused brutally and when they attend school, they lose their utmost focus remembering what happening and meditating upon what might happen when they go back “home” after school. The domestic violence also traumatizes some children and cause mental problems, which forces them to be admitted in an asylum where they spend most of their school time getting proper treatment. Children are raped, defiled and used as drug trafficker. They are used as the bait in many dirty works. In this era, children are also used to commit crimes. The only hope that these children have is the constitution and a handful of people who are human enough to fight for their rights and listen to their woes. I could have considered our government to be helpful but it is the host of these criminals. They allow these people back to the society and in turn they continue causing harm to the children.
Most successful people say that “you should use your suffering, obstacles and anything that can make you go astray from your path of success as a reason for your rise and not your downfall.” I beg to differ with that because, if only they were to fit in the shoes of these poor souls, then they would have the taste of the pain and agony the children have to go through in their lives. So, that statement is not realistic. In this life you never compare yourself to another person since you can never tell what the individual had to do or go through in order to reach where he/she is at the moment. For instance, the case of children living in the slums and in poverty, they take a very different course in reaching their goals. Practically, these children live their adulthood at their childhood stage. How would they even enjoy their childhood when they have a lot to worry about? How would a child even give a hundred percent of his/her energy when eighty percent of the same energy is used outside the school? You tell me because I don’t have the answer.
Well it’s not proper to only speak of negative issues on a subject. So I will also touch on the light of education in the slums. Like I had said earlier, there is a handful of people who are striving to make life possible for the children. They have formed NGO’s that support education, fight for their rights, and also offer free guiding and counseling session to the children in the slums. Schools have been constructed and seminars have been held to restore the dignity and will to live of most children who have had traumatic experiences in their life in the slum. All the deeds mentioned are good; are of best intention and are greatly appreciated by the children. Unfortunately all this is done in vain if the actual problem has not been curbed. Just as charity begins at home, so does the biggest problem starts with the children’s life at home. One thing that should be clear in our minds is that anyone below the age of 18 years is a child and should be given our utmost care and understanding regardless of the background they come from and a child in any society is everybody’s. And we always keep this in mind then God will bless us all.

Written by Dalifa Yusuf, KGSA Graduate '12 & Current Student at Maseno University