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Helping the community; SFAE Students Visit Families in Mukuru Sinai Slums

On 12 Sept. 2015, School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) organized for a Principles of Ethics 3rd year School of Finance and Applied Economics (SFAE) students visit to some families in Mukuru Sinai Slums.  The group was also joined by Ann Keru a fourth year Actuarial Science student who donated a bag full of clothes. We were inspired by what we learnt in the Principles of Ethics course; we saw the need to visit a slum. The experience was quite fulfilling and we came back with invaluable life lessons.


In our humble abilities, we carried clothes, shoes (collected from classmates during the Principles of Ethics class), some food stuffs (bought using our pocket money) and our time ready to be with some families in the Mukuru slums. Upon arrival we were guided by Mr Owino; a village elder who has stayed in Mukuru Sinai Paradise one for the last 20 years. He is the chairperson of the part of the slum which we visited.


To facilitate the process smoothly a list of 9 families were pre-selected for the visit. Led by the youth leaders, we branched out in groups to visit the particular families. The housing structures are crowded and so small yet each single structure is inhabited by one family. In our deep hearted interactions with the families; we got to appreciate them in their conditions. We realised the extreme hardships they undergo and yet they manage to put on smiles on their faces. 


We got a chance to interact with the young ones and motivated them to study hard at school to realise their dreams of joining university and becoming the transformational leaders they aspire to be. Maureen a form three student at Tartar girls in Machakos was very happy to have us at their home; she inquired what it entails to join Strathmore University. Some of the concerns faced by Mukuru inhabitants are alcoholism, early pregnancies leading to many school drop-outs and early marriages among girls, poverty, lack of proper schooling, congested and indecent housing, and negative peer influence. All these are challenges that can be overcome by empowering the youth of Mukuru with education and treating them with dignity.


We also visited the Eastlands College of Technology (ECT), an undertaking of Strathmore Education Trust that trains the male youth in technical skills. ECT is adjacent to Mukuru Slums. Moses Muthaka, an employee of ECT pointed out that those who join the college go through certificate courses in electrical and electronics engineering, computer skills. ECT is a symbol of hope to the youth of Mukuru and all from other parts of Kenya who may not join higher institutions of learning but can gain technical skills. He indicated that the college is working hard to have students obtain job placements in the industries next to the college, through a dual system; the students will spend more of their time in industry than in class and in the process the industries in which they will be working will subsidise their fees (a system of training widely practised in Germany).


The visit was a blessing not just to the families we visited but also to us. Students with items (clothes, shoes, books etc) which they don’t use but are usable, should contact SHSS for details on how to donate them for a future slum visit. 


Written by Billy Atela third year Financial Economics