Youth face a challenge of not being able to enrol for further studies after high school due to fees challenges. It’s for this reason, Kibera Community Youth Program (KCYP), a community based organization working to create youth empowerment programmes developed a computer training program that will address this challenge.
Having established the program in early 2009 to bridge the digital divide between the youth of Kibera and the rest of the world, KCYP entered into a partnership with NAIROBITS School of computer design, a college that offers sponsorship to needy members of the society. This partnership was important to KCYP because the college offers comprehensive trainings in web design, entrepreneurship and reproductive health and therefore students who enroll at KCYP for the training are assured of continuity in pursuing web design at Nairobits.
How is this computer training unique? I admit that within kibera, there are very many computer trainings going on but this one is different; it has 4 stages, Computer basic skills training offered at KCYP, Introduction to web design and Extensive training on web design offered at Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) and finally life skills training and completing a 6months project work to reinforce design skills learnt in class.
Nairobits has developed a good relationship with different companies over the past 10years of its operation, this is important because when students graduate from Nairobits, they are absolved in these companies on internship basis after which they are employed. Many youths are now employed courtesy this program and Joseph Mbithi (in photo below) is one such example.
When asked about his experience having gone through the system, here is what he says. “I never new KCYP and Nairobits will help turn around my life in this manner. Even though I am not working in a company, I chose to come and give back to the community by being a trainer at KCYP. My greatest pleasure is to see the students proceed on with the training having passed through my hands. Out of the subsidised commitment fee of 1500/= each student pays, I get my monthly allowance and the rest of the money is used to buy stationary as well as for operations such as repairs.”
A total of 32 students enrolled for the program at KCYP in January 2012 and in my short interaction with some of them here is what they had to say;
Linet Moraa (above) “I joined because after the program was explained to me, I had a strong feeling that a promising future lay ahead of me. I am working hard so that I can go through all the 4 stages and use the skills I will have gained at my work place so that I get paid well and live a comfortable life far from what I am now.”
Musa Babu (Above) “Being part of this family is a wonderful thing for I believe with the help of our trainer we are and will make a difference. This program is distinct from the others in Kibera for we are able to get mentored and internship placements at completion so we can put our skills to practise. I see myself becoming a web guru in future”
Ami Lavander (above) “I commit myself wholly to this program for I have seen my fellow youths who have passed succeed. I am motivated everyday to learn new things that I know they will guarantee my future life. I always tell myself that success does not come from a University but from an individual, so am comfortable where I am because that is what I can afford to pay for and I know I will make the best out of it.”
I had to let them go for lessons but I could not leave without asking them about challenges they face. All of them were unanimous in their responses. The lack of enough space for their training leading to overcrowding in one room was a big problem until they had to be split so that 16students can be in the morning class and the other 16 in the evening class, lack of enough computers hence sharing in the ratio 1:3 was another major concern for them and their only hope is to get more computers so that they can maximise on their potential.
As I finish my writing lots of questions than answers linger in my mind; what is the government doing to support such grassroots initiatives? How can I be of help to them either directly or indirectly? Is there a place we can get refurbished computers for their use? If some of this questions can be answered then I believe this initiative will turn around the face of Kibera from the long ago known as a place of hooligans/violent youth to a place of responsible youth you are flexible and ready embrace the changing times.
This post was originally posted on http://urb.im/