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Chinese aid brightens outlook for Kenya pupils

By WANG XIAODONG in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-13 09:47
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More than 500 pupils from a primary school in the second-largest slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi will study in renovated classrooms and be given better meals in the new semester, following the latest donation from Chinese companies.

The donation, made by the Kenya China Economic and Trade Association, or KCETA, representing 106 Chinese companies that operate in Kenya, includes food for breakfast and lunch for the students at Mcedo Beijing School and funds for the renovation of the school facilities. The total value of the donation amounted to more than 6.8 million Kenyan shillings ($56,000).

The school, located in Mathare slum, was built in 2007 with assistance from the Chinese embassy in Kenya. In November 2012, KCETA organized Chinese enterprises in Kenya to donate more than 54 million shillings to expand the school, which resulted in its enrollment increasing to 554 from about 200 when the school was established.

Speaking at the donation ceremony on Tuesday, which coincided with the opening of the new semester, Zhou Pingjian, Chinese ambassador to Kenya, said Chinese communities in Kenya would do their best to provide support to the school.

"China and Kenya have enjoyed profound traditional friendship," he said. "We are deeply touched by the friendship between Mcedo Beijing and Chinese communities in Kenya. Your priority is our priority, and we will try out best."

Bruce Lee, chairman of KCETA, said education is a great and respectable cause for both society and individuals.

"We are very pleased to see that children can learn knowledge and grow up healthy under the guidance of the teachers of Mcedo Beijing School and lay a solid foundation for their growth and career. The expectant eyes and smiling faces of the children make everything we do more valuable and meaningful," he said.

Continuing support

Benedict Kiage, director of Mcedo Beijing School, expressed his gratitude for the donation and said the continued support from China over the past decade, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, has "renewed awareness of the importance of education in Mathare's slums".

After graduation from primary school, many students pursued further studies in technical colleges and even completed university education and started working to support their families, he said.

Since the school was established, 1,554 students — all from the slums — have completed their high school studies, he said.

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