Mandatory uniforms at public schools is an issue I've never fully understood. In the Dominican Republic uniforms are also required and students who can't afford them often don't go to school.
The youngest girl had a large, frayed hole in the front of her green school sweater and the oldest girl's sleeves had been cut off and hemmed to make a sweater vest. Their shoes were originally shiny and black but had become faded and worn. They were thrilled to get the new shoes and the clear plastic rulers that came with their new socks.
We checked in on the food drop at Ribui Primary to make sure that the porridge was being prepared properly and distributed fairly. As a result of the porridge, enrollment rates have been rising, as expected. Three new students arrived last week and five today. Three of the children who arrived today had been abandoned by their parents and were living with someone in the community. Two of them waited in line for porridge wearing a hodgepodge of uniforms. They stood along the fence with the other children who had forgotten to carry cups for their porridge.
The school can't afford to pay the cook, so the parents were asked to contribute. They're supposed to provide KES 50 (49 cents) for each of their children for the entire term but only a small fraction have paid and it is estimated that over half can't raise that much money.
Two diggers have been working for the past week to finish the pit for the teachers' latrine. They should be finished by the end of this week. The parents are having trouble paying the diggers who each receive KES 250 or $2.46 for an 8 hour work day. That's not their hourly wage, it's for the entire day.
Parents must also pay for exam materials for each child and for extra teachers. The Kenyan government can't provide enough teachers for all of the schools, which led to a teachers strike the first week of this term, so parents must pay to hire additional teachers, usually 2-3. Each child pays KSE 90 for exams and KSE 180 for teachers ($2.65 total).
I went to Makena Textiles later in the afternoon to start developing some marketing materials for the women. They make a number of beautiful wool products but don't have much of a market for them. I'm going to work on putting together an informational pamphlet and business cards for them to pass out at craft shows. I'm also hoping to set up a website for them to start selling some of their products online. A computer was donated to them two years ago but it has never been used as none of the women know how it operates. I'm going to start weekly computer classes with five of the women to teach them some basics and hopefully transfer their handwritten records onto the computer.
The PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) at Kathithi Primary approved the feeding program so we went to the school to drop off enough porridge to last them for a few weeks. Their borehole is broken, and in the process of being fixed, but the lack of water is keeping them from starting the program as they have nothing to cook with.
In one of my classes at Northeastern I learned about Iko Toilets and I was so excited to see one of them on the way back to the office. It's a very interesting business model. This video gives a good overview: