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  • Writer's picturePaula Hammack

Ongoing Needs and Activities

I am often asked questions about why people have so many children if there is a problem feeding and schooling them.  So, in a nutshell, the answer to that question is that before formal education existed, people believed they needed enough children to help provide for them in their old age. There is no pension system in Kenya and salaries today are too low to be able to save anything, so without children to look after you in  your old age life can be very miserable.  Also, a fundamental fact is that there is NO free schooling – students have to buy their own books and pens, they have to buy their own uniforms as all school children wear uniforms, and they have to pay a fee for the cost of the school.  The total of those is about $250 a year and if you have 5 children in school that’s $1,250 – where IF you have a job and despite government statements that 3% is the unemployment rate I believe it is more like 40% as no one in the areas that the Foundation helps in has a job and there are thousands of them - you are making between $300 to $500  a month,  or even a little more , let’s say its $300 a month, how do they pay for necessities and still have perhaps $1250 left over for kids school fees. It just doesn’t work.  

My Foundation has built many classrooms, an entire school, Dormitories for the boarders to sleep in, teacher housing where there is none and the problem I see now is the ever continuing increase in population.  When I first went to Kenya in the 70’s the population was around 8 million and today its well over 50 million.  We have tried to do sustainable projects to provide ongoing funding for the clinic, school fees and emergencies and things go well for a while but sure enough in a year or two there are so many more students wanting to attend school and not enough classrooms, dorms, teacher housing etc.   I don’t see how this is going to change for the better anytime soon, at least until the current generation understands that having more than 2 children is contributing to the national explosion of population.  

So, every two years or so someone will need to build more classrooms, a dormitory, teacher housing and find money to pay the teachers.  Same thing happens at the clinic we built – now averaging about 16 births a month, BUT the delivery bed just broke and a new one is needed, part of the building structure itself has malfunctioned and we need a contractor to fix it up, a new sterilizing piece of equipment was needed, and more.  AND on top of the cost of these items, we have to add labor and transport from Nairobi which is about a 4-5 hour ride away from the very remote and rural areas where we help, AND there are no roads going into these communities – only very rough trails.  So on the latest corrections listed here there is a $4,000 cost of transport and labor.  

There needs to be an ongoing charitable contribution to a fund to assist with school costs and emergency costs, and payment of clinic salary costs per month and more.  It is definitely an uphill battle. 


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