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No. 43 • July - December 2006 • Page 241
 •  Initiatives

Nairobi -- (Kenya) European and African Volunteers in Kihumbuini Primary School

In August 2005, fifty Kenyan and Ugandan girls traveled to Germany to take part in the World Youth Day with the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The girls stayed at the Mädchengymnasium Jülich, a high school in Cologne. After the trip, they decided to organize a social work project in Kenya in conjunction with students and teachers from this school.

The German group (eleven students and four teachers) landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on July 31, 2006. They undertook an intense program of cleaning, construction and painting to help improve school life for the more than 1,000 pupils at Kihumbuini Primary School, a public school in Nairobi. Most of the students there come from Kangemi, a very poor district nearby.

Kihumbuini receives a supply of food every three months, mostly vegetables, which has to last for 14 weeks. Since the school doesn’t have a storeroom, they have been using the library as a storage place. Their quarterly food ration is more important to them than the use of the library. Seeing this situation, the group of volunteers decided to construct a storeroom and restore the library to its original use. Many pupils cannot study in their homes owing to a lack of light and adequate space. Funding and plenty of material for construction were obtained. The enthusiastic but unskilled team had the help of a professional mason.

On the last day, before handing over the building, the young German girls, representing their country as the host of the 2006 World Cup, gave soccer balls and uniforms of the German team to Kihumbuini’s soccer team. The pupils, for their part, sang and recited poems to show their gratitude for the work carried out in their school.

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