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Chinese companies boost education infrastructure in a Kenyan slum

By Edith Mutethya | | Updated: 2017-06-16 00:30
Chinese companies boost education infrastructure in a Kenyan slum

Mao Qinghua, president of Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association, during a ceremony to donate to MCEDO Beijing School in Mathare Slums, Nairobi, Kenya on June 15. Liu Hongjie/China Daily.

Eleven Chinese companies, through the Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya on Thursday donated stationeries worth Ksh474,882 ($4,589) to MCEDO Beijing School in Mathare Slum.

The donation comprised of 1000 exercise books and 521 textbooks, school bags, 1200 pieces of pencils and 100 pieces of backpacks among other stationers.

Speaking during the donations handover ceremony held at the school compound, the KCETA President Mao Qinghua said the donation was an expression of the Chinese community's care and support for students from less fortunate backgrounds.

"We believe that the students will become the pillars of Kenya in the future, contributing to the development and progress of the nation. We will always keep our eyes on the development of the school," he said.

He said the Chinese enterprises based in Kenya are committed to contributing to local economic and social development. This is in addition to strengthening friendship between China and Kenya.

"With the China's one belt, one road initiative, the cooperation of the two sides on economy, trade, culture and education will be strengthened. KCETA will continue to support education development in Kenya," Mao said.

Benedict Kiage, the Director, MCEDO Beijing School lauded KCETA for the donation of the stationeries saying it will enhance learning and every child will get an access to a book for smooth learning.

Through various programs provided by partners like the Chinese government through its Kenyan embassy as well as World Food Programme (WFP), Kiage said the school has been able to solve some of the challenges faced by children in slum areas.

"Slums are faced with various challenges like insecurity, lack of proper housing structures, poor sanitation and starvation among others. However, education is the major eye opener to a slum child in addition to nurturing of various talents," he said.

Owing to the increasing number of students and pupils in the school, Kiage said there was need for a bigger library, and laboratory.

"In this digital era, there is need for computer literacy in the school, but the available computers cannot serve the school population and the office load. We are therefore advocating for a computer lab," he said.

Mcedo Beijing School was set up in 2007 with the financial support of the Chinese Embassy. In 2012, KCETA and its member companies raised Ksh 5,814,000 ($56,119) for the Phase 2 expansion project of the school in light of the insufficient facilities and outdated equipment.

The construction of Mcedo Phase 2, Kiage said has seen enrolment of pupils grow from 360 to 485 pupils (177 boys and 219 girls) and the introduction of MCEDO Beijing secondary school that has a population of 128 students (55 boys and 83 girls).

"The school has enlightened the neighbouring community on the importance of education. We are proud that through MCEDO, many students have joined high schools, technical colleges and Universities and are now independent, working and supporting their families,” Kiage said.

MCEDO Beijing caters for students beyond education. The school offers a feeding program aided by the World Food Program and promotes talent development through Beijing Raiders’ football club where some of the girls have gained entry into various high schools and colleges through football scholarships.

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