‘Mellon Educate’ is the new project that Offaly lady Donna McCormack will be embarking on in four weeks as the Niall Mellon Township Trust Building Blitz takes place from October 12 – October 19 in Nairobi, Kenya.
From Geashill, Donna will join 350 volunteers helping to build two primary schools for 3,300 children and extend a medical centre in the Mukuru Slum. The charity synonymous with building houses has moved its focus to education as the South African government now provides full funding for social housing.
“Having worked closely with community leaders in the Mukuru Slum we are delighted that our first project in ‘Mellon Educate’ will create a huge positive change for thousands of children and their teachers in this area. The tin shacks will be replaced with brand new school facilities complete with administration facilities, classrooms and a playground. This will greatly reduce the class sizes which currently stand at 80 and encourage teachers to work here. I am humbled by the response we had from our volunteers for this year’s building blitz. Our goal in South Africa was to house 100,000 people and with the participation of the Irish we may be able to achieve this and more in education.”
In 2003 the Kenyan Government introduced free primary education. Whilst this was a very positive step it led to its own challenges. Enrolment increased by 1.4million and with 60% of urban dwellers living in slums the school facilities were vastly inadequate and the teachers were unequipped to work within the new system.
In some cases classroom pupil teacher ratio jumped to 1:100. The Niall Mellon Township Trust blitz will endeavour to alleviate some of these problems in one of Nairobi’s largest urban slum. For the children and the teachers heading back to school there will be new vigour and hope.