A Civil Society Endeavour: Ismaili Educators Helping Educate Marginalised Children in Nairobi

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Editor’s note: Inspired by the message of His Highness the Aga Khan on the important role that individuals can play to drive progress and positive change, a team of dedicated Ismaili educators established a school in Nairobi for poor children to give them a head start. The story presented on this page by Zafeera Kassam, a co-director of the school, illustrates the perfect brightness and hope that the school has brought into the lives of children by providing a truly holistic approach to education.

We invite our readers to visit the school’s web and pledge sites, http://www.edumschoolnairobi.com/ and http://www.helpapoorchild.org respectively, and see how they can partner with the school to contribute towards its educational efforts, which focuses on the poor children in Nairobi. This opportunity of being educated will enable talented children living in poverty stricken areas to control their own destiny in the future, and free themselves from the cycle of poverty that their families have probably lived through several generations.

It is this kind of generosity, where the goal is to make the people master of their destiny, that His Highness the Aga Khan sees as “the most beneficial in the eyes of Allah.”


Ismaili Civil Society in Action — Bringing Much Needed Hope to Poor Children


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Kawangware and Kibera, the largest slums in Kenya, have a population of over 1 million people, all of whom live well below the poverty line.

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Most of the children in these huge slums, like Francis, pictured above, do not go to school at present because of complete lack of funds and resources. The children of these slums are thirsting for good educational opportunities, by which they may be able to bring some sense of hope to their families, whose future at the moment is extremely bleak.


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Rosemary Wanja, living in the Kawangware Slum with her children Tracey Hope, Bob Ian and Venessa, decides one day to go to a local mall in Nairobi to beg shoppers for money so that she can send her children to school. She meets Tazmina and Zafeera Kassam, Ismaili Directors of a Co-educational Private, Boutique Secondary School in Nairobi, The Millennium School Ltd, incorporated more than a decade ago.

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Moved by this mother’s plight, Tazmina Kassam immediately offers to have her children admitted into The Millennium School on a full scholarship.

Tracey Hope joins Year 9, Bob Ian Year 8 and Vanessa Year 7, after showing great capabilities in their Entrance Assessment Tests and interviews.

Tracey Hope appears for her O Level IGCSE Examinations in May/June 2015, and Bob Ian shows great excellence in his studies and is the top student in the entire school in May/June 2015.

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Tracey Hope’s O Level result

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Bob Ian – Top Student in Overall Academics at The Millennium School

This amazing success brings the Millennium School into contact with Pastor Joseph and Salome Masunga (pictured above with Bob Ian on his day of pride) of the Ingili Bible Church in Kawangware and Pastor Rahab Mukiama of the Life Restoration Ministries International Church, who plead for the thousands of children in these huge slums who are capable and intelligent but currently out of school due to impoverished circumstances.

The Help Educate a Child of God Project is now conceived with Farez Hassam, Tazmina Kassam and Zafeera Kassam of the Millennium School Ltd and Samwel Boto of the Ministry of Education, Kenya, offering their services as the Project Coordinators.

The aim of the project is to get children from Kibera and Kawangware into the Millennium School to obtain a top quality, international education.

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The School has set aside a special wing for this project and the children are taught the IGCSE Curriculum by professionally qualified and dedicated teachers. Great emphasis is being placed on Counselling and Mentoring so that these children may be helped to adjust to their new surroundings and settle down into a normal routine.

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Millennium School Counselling Department

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There has been an increasing awareness about the school’s goals and vision around the world in the recent past, resulting in generous student sponsorships from Canada, UK, USA, India and Uganda.

Locally, the Project recently received good news from Diamond Trust Bank (Africa) Ltd who pledged to immediately sponsor 5 children with the promise of 15 more in due course. Another 15 more sponsorships have also been pledged by prominent Ismaili businessmen in Nairobi, which, when received, brings the total sponsorships to 67. However, we are always at the beginning of the road if we are to impact the lives of many more poor children, as is our earnest wish.

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Date posted: June 11, 2016.
Last updated: June 16, 2016.


To read more about this noble project and to light the the spark of knowledge and education, please visit http://www.edumschoolnairobi.com/ and http://www.helpapoorchild.org.

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