Elimu Resource Centre was inspired by the children in our programs. Established in 2016, the Centre helps children, especially poor students in the Kenyan public school system, to improve their performance at school. Scarce and easy-to-use educational tools and self-directed study skills help students build self-drive and confidence.
With a bright airy environment and separate study halls for primary school and high school students, the Centre grew from a capacity of 70 in 2016 to over 120 in 2018 (with room to accommodate even more than that comfortably when funds are available for additional furniture). A variety of educational software, video tutors and interactive practical exercises allow children to work at their own pace and practice as many examples as they need to feel sure of themselves. Individual outdoor balconies allow for study groups to gather, discuss and work out problems without disturbing fellow learners. Peer teaching is one of the most popular activities at the Centre. Students teach their fellows on subjects they feel confident about. A large conference room provides ample space for seminars and talks by Elimu staff and community representatives on topics such as how to pass exams, how to improve your results and preparing for graduation.
Students are taught to think about for their futures and how to link their current studies with future career or business plans through with Elimu career talks and entrepreneurship training.
An important secondary objective of the Centre is sustainability. Malindi is an urban setting where poverty co-exists with relative affluence. For income generation and long-term sustainability, the Centre serves both those able to pay for its services and those who are subsidized. The new location offers a variety of income possibilities including conference hall rentals, swimming lessons and activities such as summer camps for kids in our large compound.
Elimu Resource Centre is our response to the challenges faced by students in Kenya. In the public education system, the challenges include lack of teachers, high classroom populations up to 70 students, too few textbooks (sometimes only 1-3 for an entire class)—the list goes on. Challenges arising at home can include lack of funds for buying uniforms and school shoes which are compulsory, no textbooks for homework, dark or otherwise non-conducive study environments, no money for remedial help.
The first step towards a solution was a mentorship program which grew from humble beginnings—as a remedial holiday study program. In 2015, it moved from teacher-directed tutoring to a more student-directed approach. Digital tools like eReaders and DVDs were introduced to allow students to work individually and at their own pace. Students themselves set the schedule and assisted each other through peer-to-peer teaching.
Through our interactions with children, it became clear that the challenges are universal. The students most likely to succeed in this setting are those who are self-directed and highly motivated. The Centre benefits all types of students — primary and high school students, as well as post secondary and even adult learners. Teachers also find a variety of useful resources which they can use in the classroom or for planning lessons.
Elimu is very grateful for the generous support of The Charis Foundation for providing most of the operating costs for Elimu Resource Centre for the first three years of operation. The set-up costs, that is purchase of equipment, furnishings and installations were covered by our founder.
All of the children from our various projects benefit from the resources of the Centre. Sponsored students of our Stay in School Project and the children of Nyumbani Kwetu Home access the Centre during evenings, weekends and school holidays to get their hands on those textbooks they don’t find at school. The students of Elimu’s Heri Sewing Project come to use digital technology to modernize their skills and enhance their fashion designs.
They research fashions around Africa using the internet, download YouTube video tutorials on pattern-making and gain exposure to new designs and creatives ideas. Even Upendo School connects with the Centre through a mobile reading program we’ve developed for them. Centre staff visit the school weekly with our eReaders and other tools to read with the children and help build up their English literacy.
Your donation will help us take the Centre’s digital resources out to more classrooms the community. Our mobile reading programs complement the school curriculum and boost literacy.
The resources of the Centre are relevant to children in all of our projects. Sponsored students of our Stay in School Project access the Centre during evenings, weekends and school holidays to get their hands on those textbooks they don’t find at school. Within the first year of operation, children came to us to say thank you for improving their marks.
The children of Nyumbani Kwetu Home use the digital books and computers at the Centre to complete homework and for remedial self-directed study in the holidays. They join the seminars and study programs at the Centre and gain the opportunity of mixing with children from various schools and different backgrounds.
Students of Heri Sewing Project come to the Centre on a weekly basis to learn how to use digital technology to enhance their fashion designs and sewing skills. They research fashions around Africa using the internet, download YouTube video tutorials on pattern-making and gain exposure to new designs and creatives ideas. Their digital skills enhance their competitive edge in the market.
Even Upendo School connects with the Centre through a mobile reading program we’ve developed for them. Centre staff visit the school weekly with our eReaders and other tools to read with the children and help build up their English literacy.