Though public primary education in Kenya is available without tuition to school-aged children, preschool education is not. In order to be admitted to primary school, children must pass an entrance examination. Often the most vulnerable children have no access to preschool education so that they can be prepared to sit for and pass school entrance exams. Waterbrook Hills has partnered with The Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy and the Pamoja Children’s Center, to bring preschool education to children who would not have access without support. The programs in Kwale and Vuga, Kenya have been successful in providing early childhood education and preparing children to gain entry into area primary schools. Through this work, a cohort of children have enhanced life opportunities that has the potential to bring substantive positive change to both individuals and to the region.
Though the educational programs are costly to support, we view the human cost of not supporting them to be far greater in the long run. Currently, there are over 465 children enrolled across these two schools in Kwale County.
Both Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy and the Pamoja Children’s Center serve a high proportion of orphans and vulnerable children, who would not have access to education without their inclusion in these programs. In addition to educating young children, the schools provides a living wage for approximately 32 staff members: administrators, teachers, cooks, cleaners and caretakers. Monthly, program costs are approximately $7800 including educational supplies, food, and salaries.
*During a site visit by board members in July of 2015, Waterbrook Hills was able to assist Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy to permanently acquire the land where they had constructed their first two school buildings. Since that time, additional classroom buildings and a temporary kitchen have been constructed.
*During another site visit by board members in January of 2017, we were able to provide funding for the fabrication and installation of playground equipment, painting of the school exterior, and completion of a water collection system. Additionally, we provided a teacher workshop on human development and creativity, and created educational murals for the schools.
*In 2018, we partnered with SODEPCO (The Strategic Organization for the Development of Poor Communities) to purchase an additional two plots of land adjacent to Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy to allow future building projects and play space for the students. During 2019, we partnered with SODEPCO to build a modern and efficient kitchen for Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy. Through partnership, Jameelah’s has been registered and received certification with the Kenyan Department of Education.
*Our 2020 site visit was cut short by the International Covid-19 pandemic. For health and safety reasons, schools were closed by the Ministry of Education. Until quarantine and travel restrictions required early departure from community engagement, we were able to visit sponsored children and their families in their homes.
*In August of 2022, we were on site at Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy to observe the drilling of a 200 meter “bore hole” (fresh water well) and to make arrangements for the installation of a pump so that the school can have access to fresh ground water. Prior to the well installation, the school depended on rainwater collection from rooftops into storage tanks. Recent climate changes left considerable deficits in available water. On each school day, the staff purchased, transported, and used 120 jerry cans of water to provide for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. That translates to approximately 2.4 tons of water per day, at an annual cost in excess of $7,000. The new well will provide enough water for the school’s needs, saving considerable time, effort and expense.
The Jameelah’s Vineyard Academy currently has approximately 398 children between the ages of 1 1/2 and 13 years old enrolled in classes PP1 through Standard 8. The Pamoja Children’s Center currently enrolls approximately 68 children. At both schools, in addition to the quality language, math and science education the children receive in both English and Swahili, they get nutritious meals and snacks, religious education in both Christianity and Islam, and opportunities to play in safe and supervised environments.