Schools in Kenya slum demolished to make way for a road
Right to education
Community-run primaries were among eight schools pulled down and 30,000 people were made homeless in the Kibera area of Nairobi.
Last week Makina Self-Help and Adventure Pride Centre primary schools were packed with happy students.
Yesterday they lay in ruins – bulldozed along with six other schools to make way for a new road that will go through the heart of the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Teachers told the children who turned up for lessons to head home – but most had no homes to go back to.
Residents watched in tears as thousands of dwellings, the eight schools and the Egesa children’s home were pulled down – leaving about 30,000 people homeless and many children with no education.
Makina Squatters Primary, built in 1986, had 800 pupils. Founder Timothy Mulehi said: “I don’t know what to do because I don’t have any other place to take these children. I have helped the government for all those years by taking children from the streets but they can’t see that.”
“We were raised here, we went to school here and we got married here. Now we don’t know where to go,” Jacqueline Anzemo, a 30-year-old mother-of-three who has lived in Kibera since 2002, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Another resident, Zanika Hassan, told The Star newspaper that people were assured they would be evacuated after schools close for the August holidays.
She added: “We were relaxed because we had been told the learning process would not be interfered with. We are shocked they have altered the arrangement.”
Rights groups say the demolitions highlight the difficulties faced by mostly poor people living in informal settlements as African cities expand rapidly.
Authorities say the structures had been built illegally and that some compensation will be paid. Demolition was delayed for a week after residents said they hadn’t been given enough notice.
Reports said police banged on doors at 3am yesterday and told people they had to get out by 6am.
“We only had yesterday to look for a place. I had planned to move to my daughter’s house before they raided us this morning,” said Asha Mukhusa.
Makina Self-Help primary school had more than 160 students and 10 classrooms. Adventure Pride Centre was started in 2001 and had more than 200 students, including preschool classes.
In 2016, Map Kibera – which has digitally mapped the slum – said there were only two government schools for more than 50,000 children but more than 350 informal schools.
Theirworld and our A World at School movement has been involved in projects in Kibera in recent years.
Hundreds of children and residents marched, sang and chanted for the right of every child to get an education as our #UpForSchool campaign was launched in Kenya in 2014.
Theirworld started a Code Club at Kibera School for Girls in 2016, to empower them with technology through creativity and learning. We have also spotlighted early childhood development programmes in Kibera.