Tag Archives: Dandora Dumpsite

Reading in Dandora community centre

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:

DADREG's centre
DADGREG’s centre in the middle of Dandora is providing local children with a place to read and learn during lockdown (photo taken before Covid-19)

George

“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.”

Reading in the DADREG centre
Many children, especially girls, are coming to DADREG’s centre every day to use books, read and study

Catherine

“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

 

Reading in Dandora community centre

Books in even the worst circumstances

The Dandora Dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya, is surrounded by a slum that’s home to over 141,000 people. The dumpsite is one of the world’s largest landfill sites covering 30 acres (or approximately 22 football pitches).

Poverty here is so great that children often drop out of school to help their parents make ends meet. But even informal employment is scarce and many men, women and children spend their time sifting through the landfill site for items to sell as well as leftover food to eat. The Dandora Dumpsite is their last hope.

But now an NGO set up by local young people, the Dandora Dumpsite Rehabilitation Group (DADREG), is working to give the men, women and children of Dandora new hope. They run a number of programmes focussed on supporting education and vocational training – and books you help to send are now an important part of their work.

 

Dandora Dumpsite
Many people in Dandora spend their days searching through the rubbish to find items to sell or food to eat.

“In Dandora, we do not have a library. The nearest library is around 10km away. Very few schools have libraries either and many pupils have no space to do their studies or access to reading materials,” says DADREG’s Executive Director George Onyango.

“So far, DADREG has helped five schools in the slum to set up libraries of their own and books from Book Aid International are helping these schools improve their library collections. They are contributing to an increase in learning.

 

Reading in Dandora Community Centre
Children from Dandora come to DADREG’s Community Development Centre to read and learn from books you help to send.

The books are also supporting our efforts to equip the DADREG Community Development Centre with more reading materials. Now children can spend more time reading and doing their homework instead going to the dumpsite to work or scavenge for food.”

Bezalel Victory is one such local pupil who has been using the books available at DAGREG’s Community Development Centre to support his studies.

 

Bezalel Victory
Bezalel Victory used books you help to send to support his studies and now he’s off to university!

“My parents come from a humble background and struggled to go to school. But I finished high school and performed so well. I will be joining the University of Nairobi this year, thanks to support from DADREG and Book Aid International.

I used the books to improve my grammar – I used to often fail in this. So the books were a gleam of light to me as I had seen no story book before I came to DADREG. They improved my English grammar from D minus to B plus in the final national examination that is taking me to university.

If Book Aid International hadn’t sent these books, it is very clear – I would not have made such a great milestone as I have.”