A place to read during lockdown
The Dandora slum in Nairobi, Kenya, sits on the edge of one of the world’s largest landfill sites. It is home to some 141,000 people who, like the rest of Kenya, are having to largely stay at home due to lockdown measures imposed because of Covid-19.
For the children and young people living in Dandora, there is often little space and few resources or books at home for them to continue learning while their schools are closed.
So local NGO DADREG (Dandora Dumpsite Rehabilitation Group) which operates a centre in the middle of Dandora has opened its doors during lockdown to provide children with safe a place to read and learn using the books supporters like you help to send.
Here, DADREG’s Director, George Onyango and Catherine, a student who regularly uses the centre, tell us more:
“The closure of schools and colleges has come with challenges for young girls and boys, especially those living in slums. Their homes are often not conducive for studying and they are looking for spaces to do their studies and be taught.
Also, idleness is leading to early pregnancies for girls and for boys, joining gangs. Some research has shown that since the pandemic, in Nairobi alone, over 12,000 schoolgirls have become pregnant and this worries us a lot.
This is the reason why we have opened up our centre – to allow young girls to access reading materials and do their studies.
This is the reason why we have opened up our centre – to allow young girls to access reading materials and do their studies. DADREG is providing a refuge to the girls and young boys. We are of course practising social distancing.
What we are doing is that those young men and women that DADREG has supported and continue to support in colleges and universities come to the centre to teach the children. The young men and women are acting as mentors to the primary and secondary school students and it is really helping them.”
“Since schools were closed on 16th March, I have had a lot of free time to catch up on where I was left behind. Though I have not had ample time to study at home.
But by coming to DADREG to study, I have been able to carefully manage my work schedule. I am able to conduct personal studies here as well as useful group discussions. Here I am also able to attend some online lessons which is not really possible at home.
Being able to access books and read while my school is closed has been really helpful.
Being able to access books and read while my school is closed has been really helpful. This will help me to improve my grades because I am able to cover a lot in my study areas. Reading and studying at DADREG will surely be fruitful when I get back to school.
I’ve also been reading a storybook called Once Upon a Twist. It is a great way to relax my mind after a long day of endless studying. The book has also given me the challenge to improve my creativity. It is written in a fashionably creative form making it have much suspense.
I really appreciate the books that Book Aid International has sent to us students!”
*Header photo taken prior to lockdown restrictions