Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Self-help kindergarten

A key strategy of African Enterprise is to help the people to help themselves.  Today we visited some of their sites to document the projects and the stories of the people, to help them publicize their work.  There is a 3-room kindergarten up in the hills several kilometers south of the airport.  There is no running water supplied by the government, nor is there other accessible water source.  Hence some enterprising entrepreneurs ferry water up the hills by bicycles.  It is obviously back-breaking hard work.

It is now dry season.  The banana leaves (and all other vegetation, in fact) turn red because they are covered by the dust.

Primary school education is theoretically provided free of charge by the government.  In reality there are fees for uniforms and other charges, making it hard for the poor to stay in school.  Without proper training, it is also hard for the children of the poor to even start in primary one.  Hence AEE sets up this primary school for the children in poverty, to prepare them for primary school.  This reminds me of what YMCA is doing in the slums of Cambodia.  It seems the problems in poor countries can be strikingly similar.

Francine is one of the three school teachers, who are all volunteers from the village.  She has a secondary school education, and is only given a small stipend.  When we ask the children why they like to come to school, the top two reasons are (1) food and (2) drink.

The kids, with their big round heads, and big round eyes, are infinitely cute.

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