In northern Kenya, toward the Somali border, native Kenyans Paul and Jennifer Okello are responsible for a pre-school in the small town of Archer's Post. They are simply incredible people. With virtually no funding, they endeavor to run the pre-school for over 100 local children. Archer's Post is one of the areas subjected to the massive tribal violence that's been in the news since the elections last year, but this school welcomes children from all the local tribes and integrates them and their families, a critical step towards the reconciliation necessary to end the violence.
The children show up joyfully for school every day, sharing the one - that's correct, one - schoolbook but creating a learning atmosphere under the guidance of Jennifer and Paul. The classrooms (there are three, although one is falling down and unsafe) have hand made posters of math exercises, the alphabet, wild and domestic animals, and generally everything a US classroom would have, although, as the accompanying photos show, very minimal.
At the end of the day (around 2:00 p.m.), the children are fed as nourishing a meal as the Okellos' limited resources permit (usually the only meal of the day for most of them) and are sent home at day's end.
These two people, and the local community members who volunteer with them, deserve our help. They work tirelessly, with virtually no outside support, to bring education and community to an area crushed by violence, tribalism and famine. Covenant Children plans tentatively to bring a group to Archer's Post next year to renovate the school facilities and, in the meantime, is working to obtain a reliable supply of food, clean water (there is presently only a single faucet in the yard), textbooks, school supplies and uniforms for the children.
Feeding pre- schoolers at Archer's Post:
Class at Archer's Post:
Typical pre-schoolers in class with Cathy Schmelzenbach:
Kids singing after lunch:
Paul (in white collared shirt) and Jennifer (yellow dress) Okello, school volunteer staff and Covenant Children, Inc. team: