During a visit to Kibera in June 2005, our Global CEO, Mr Kim Winter discovered a community of 50 orphans and vulnerable children learning in a dark, small, sewage-ridden, unsafe iron shed. After seeing the need first hand, he and a group of friends in Sydney decided to start ‘Oasis Africa Australia – The Kibera School for orphans Project’ to raise awareness and funds.
The initial funding for the school had been underwritten personally by the Australian co-founders (Kim Winter and Lalita Ari), which allowed the school to be re-located to more suitable facilities in September 2005.
As the project grew, an Australian team and International Advisory board was established to assist in helping to meet urgent funding and on-going running costs.
3.9 million people live in slums in Kenya, which represents 55% of the urban population. Housing for Nairobi’s slum dwellers typically consists of shanties made of mud, wattle and iron sheets. There are as many as 250 shanties per hectare and there is little or no access to water, electricity, basic services and infrastructure with around 94% of slum dwellers lacking access to adequate sanitation.
Most structures are let on a room-by-room basis with many families (on average 6 – 8 people) living in just one room. These factors have serious repercussions on the health and wellbeing of slum dwellers, demonstrated by the child mortality rate: for every 1,000 children born in Nairobi’s slums, 151 will die before the age of five. This is significantly higher than the average of 62 for Nairobi as a whole.
Kenya’s slum population is growing by almost 6 per cent each year. The situation in the capital, Nairobi, is typical of the challenges facing poor people throughout Kenya’s urban areas. Demand for land means that over half of Nairobi’s population is crammed onto just 1.5 per cent of the total land area. The threat of eviction places many people in constant fear of having their home destroyed.
Getting the Ball Rolling
On the 26 October 2006, the inaugural Oasis Africa Australia fundraiser was held in Sydney – a cocktail evening of Entertainment, African Dance, Art, Fashion, Music and Charity Auction. The night was a roaring success.
The combination of this event and subsequent fundraising efforts, has enabled Oasis Africa to focus on Secondary School & Vocational Scholarships for students in Kibera slum, and also to establish a partnership with a primary school in Soweto slum, Nairobi in 2013. A self-sustaining farming project was also established in 2013.
We continue to invest in changing the lives of vulnerable children in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kibera is one of Africa’s most notorious slums, with over 1 million inhabitants in 4 square miles near Nairobi.
In order to provide a hand up to students living in Kibera, Oasis Africa established a Secondary School Scholarship program in 2008. The student scholarship program provides a key step to breaking the poverty cycle for these children, their families and the community. By the students gaining highly employable skills through advanced education, trade or business qualifications, they will be in the most favourable position to be significant income earners in the future.
The Secondary & Vocational School Scholarships are available to any eligible student who lives in Kibera slum and for students who attend BCC Soweto Primary School, supported by Oasis Africa Australia.
Bethlehem Community Centre (BCC), Soweto Slum:
At BCC Kayole (Soweto), there is a home for 100 orphaned and vulnerable children, and a primary school educating 300 children from the surrounding community.
Soweto slum is basically characterised by high population density, low levels of income and lack of adequate public facilities and amenities. There are no public schools in the slum and Bethlehem Centre currently runs the largest community based school offering formal education in the area.
Oasis Africa joined partnership with BCC in 2013 to support the Primary School and invest in an Agriculture Project to assist BCC to become self-sustainable through the sale of their crops.
In 2013, Oasis Africa joined partnership with Bethlehem Community Centre (BCC), Soweto Slum (BCC) to support the Primary School and invest in an Agriculture Project to assist BCC to become self-sustainable through the sale of their crops.
In 2014, we have 74 students studying at Secondary Schools around Kenya under an Oasis Africa Secondary School Scholarship. We believe that this higher level of education provides the opportunities for employment and ultimately the ability to break the poverty cycle.