Budding Great Young Academic Minds from Kibera Slums
Macheo Achievement programme (MAP) is running for the 3rd academic year in a row from 18th 29th August. This is a programme initiated by Community Outreach Programme (COP) that educates and empowers secondary students from the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Kenya through means of academic, cultural and personal development and instruction. This programme simultaneously enriches the university lives of Strathmore students through the opportunity to mentor and tutor, forging a bond between Kenya’s top academic minds and Nairobi’s most underprivileged youth.
Macheo, meaning sunrise in Swahili is an After-School-educational support Programme that runs from January to December every year. The programme began in February 2012 with the aim of helping students from troubled neighborhoods navigate through school life to emerge stronger and well equipped for life. It provides academic tutoring, personal mentoring and character development for High School students drawn from three secondary schools in Kibera namely; John Paul II Secondary School, Glory Secondary School and New Horizon Secondary School. Strathmore University students are the tutors and mentors for these students.
This year a total of 75 students joined the programme. The students are divided into three classes of 25 students each in form II, form III and form IV where the main concentration of study is in Mathematics, English and the three Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). The mentoring programme engages in emotional, moral and strategic guidance, encouraging students to overcome barriers and achieve dignity and prosperity. The programme runs for two weeks, every weekday during the school holidays, whereas during school terms it runs for three Saturdays in a month out of which one Saturday is set aside for excursions.
In Kibera, students who want to escape the vicious cycle of poverty around them need to maintain high enough grades to attract public and private sector scholarships. Where aspiration is low and drug addiction, alcoholism, and parental disengagement are high; young people desperately need positive role models. This mentorship programme provides the students not only with academic tutoring, moral guidance, and sound strategic advice, but also a clear sense that there are people who care about their welfare.
Rachel Wanga, a form four student from John Paul II secondary school, is grateful for the opportunity accorded her adding that the knowledge she gets from this program will enrich her for a lifetime. I appreciate the lessons learnt, I have used these skills to start another programme in Kibera called Macheo Mtaani, which also focuses on mentoring Form 1s to Form 3 students on what we learn. One thing I have learnt from this programme is to give back to the society like Strathmore has done to us, Rachel said.
Macheo recognizes the holistic nature of personal development and seeks to foster both moral and intellectual growth in young people, building men and women of character and integrity. The Programme relies on the generosity of donors and of students who wish to volunteer.
Anyone interested in contributing to this initiative of hope making a tangible difference in inspiring young minds to build better lives for themselves, their families, and for the generations to come should contact the COP offices.