Amistad’s work in Kenya is twofold: we build, repair, and support schools for children who would otherwise likely not be able to attend school for lack of funds for fees and uniforms. We also support community programs which depend entirely on local inspirational leadership who can inspire their community to carry out job training for at-risk youth, teen girls’ education against early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), sustainable agriculture and water conservation.
Grow BioIntensive Agriculture Centre Kenya sits on one acre of land ten miles east of Thika, north of the City of Nairobi. G-BIACK’s land is the average size of a family farm in their region. The center is designed as a model farm for small-scale farmers. Student farmers have planted over 160 double-dug beds, growing different types of local food crops with organic compost. There are also chickens, rabbits, dairy goats, fish pond, bee-keeping, resource library for the community and nutrition classes. Amistad sponsors their program for at-risk teens who study for one year and learn food production, livestock care, sewing, and computer skills. Handcrafts are taught at the school, and the artist’s products are sold in the center’s store.
Community Initiatives for Rural Development/Kenya (CIFORD) is a community-based program in Meru County, Kenya promoting rural development and social education. Since 2005, Amistad has been supporting CIFORD projects focusing on new coming-of-age rites for teen girls (anti-FGM), programs to inspire girls to continue in school and avoid early marriage, sustainable agriculture, women’s leadership, tanks for collection of rainwater, seed and food donations during drought. Over 1,000 teen girls sponsored by Amistad have gone through the Meru tribe’s new coming-of-age rites.
Maruge Elementary School
Maruge Elementary School in Nachu, Kenya was built with Amistad grants as a community-inspired school for academic excellence and attention to holistic development of children. The school is also a bridge of peace between tribes who traditionally spar over land and grazing rights. At Maruge School, the children from the conflicting tribes learn and work together in peace. Both the children and community are encouraged to use the school library. The school has a strong earth-first component with an active tree-planting program, gardens and small livestock-raising on campus.
Amri Elementary School
Amri Elementary School is a community-initiated elementary school for 180 K-8th grade students who would otherwise possibly not be able to attend school because public schools charge fees. Many of the Amri children had been wandering community streets during the day because their parents were unable to pay the school fees. Founder Joel Amutabi, the pastor of a local community church, felt strongly that he and his church should do what they could to organize a school for their community children who were not in school. Classes are held in a rented building. The children are given a nutritious meal each day. Amistad was an early-sponsor of Amri School and continues support now over ten years later.