Kibera Schools Demolished Along Railway Line

by: May 21st, 2015 comments: 1

When around 15 police trucks came to Kibera a few weeks ago to witness and protect the demolition of schools along the railway line, there was shock and tension as Spurgeons school was targeted. But before the bulldozer could reach the permanent building, the community members turned up in large numbers to stop the demolition, saying that the school belonged to them. They claimed that the school has been helping their needy children and they could not sit back and watch it go down.

By this time, St. Juliet Educational Center, Kibera Academy Primary (also known as Huruma) and Kibera Academy Secondary were already down. The Head Teacher of St. Juliet, Mr. Jared Musula, was so furious with the act and wondered why some schools were left along the way before reaching his school.

Jared Musula, Head Teacher at St. Juliet

“Bars are operating you can hear loud music, but schools that are helping the children are being demolished, what’s the government doing?”

47 schools, along with other structures including churches are expected to be demolished during the project, but attention to St. Juliet and Spurgeon forced a halt on the process for a while.

Kenya Railways decided several years ago to expand the railway buffer and reclaim the land, citing safety and interference with train passage. In 2010 they made their most recent enumeration of the residents and businesses along the track targeted for demolition, but residents say that these are already outdated. While residents have been promised new housing, they do not appear to have made concessions for the schools operating in the buffer area, other than saying that the schools be shut down and students enrolled at nearby government schools.

Recently, a petition by a section of the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) had been filed in court and a ruling was made, stating:

1. The petitioner’s petition fails and is dismissed

2. The Respondent’s cross-petition succeeds and it is hereby ordered that the recent illegal occupiers of the Railway Reserve whose names do not appear in the list of the Project Affected Persons do move out of the Railway Reserve and allow the Corporation to proceed with the Resettlement plan.

Their evictions however will have to take into account the following factors:

  1. That at the time of eviction, neutral observers should be allowed to access to the suit properties to ensure compliance with international human rights principles.
  2. That there must be a mandatory presence of Government officials and security officers.
  3. That there must be compliance with the right to human dignity, life and security of the evictees.
  4. That the evictions must not take place at night, in bad weather, during festivals or holidays, prior to any elections, during or just prior to school exams and in fact preferably at the end of the school term or holidays.
  5. That no one is subjected to indiscriminate attacks.

The PAPs had demanded in their petition that a review of the enumeration be done since a lot of things had changed since 2010 when the last enumeration was done, but the Kenya Railways refused saying that it was going to be a waste of money and time and would only add more complications to the plan.

Community Meeting with Langata Youth Network

Recently, Langata Youths Network organized a forum to bring together all the affected schools and churches along the Railway to look at the way forward. They resolved that the people concerned with the demolitions be engaged further to make them understand why dialogue was still important in every stage and step they make. They also said that they will try to respect the court ruling by all means, but they wanted to understand who made the decision that some schools to remain while others to be demolished. The group then formed a committee to help follow up with all the relevant offices.

There has been a lot of silence since the demolition of the few schools happened, until recently when we saw a notice posted asking the PAPs to go for a vetting process. This sounded to me like a review that they had all along been crying for only called by a different name or word. It says that the vetting and complaint lodges will continue and a final list of the PAPs would be published publicly.

Meanwhile the schools already demolished are proceeding with learning as best they can. St Juliet returned some of its class roofs, while Spurgeon is squeezing inside their permanent building that the community members had narrowly rescued in the presence of heavily armed police.

According to the Relocation Action Plan (RAP) Document the Schools along the railway should close down and send their students to the few public schools in Kibra, but the Schools wondered how they would do it since the RAP did not give a proper guideline on who is responsible for taking the students to those particular public schools, and were not sure whether they would be admitted.

This piece was a collaborative report by Map Kibera’s team as part of the Open Schools Kenya project. Reported by Joshua Ogure, with map by Zacharia Wambua, school locations by Lucy Fondo and Douglas Namale, and reporting from Steve Banner and Jacob Ouma.

Kibera Schools Map Distribution; My Experience

by: March 24th, 2015 comments: 0

A post by Map Kibera team member, Steve Banner, originally posted on the Voice Of Kibera blog.

“If you play your part, and you play it to your level best, then your gift will surely open more doors for you,” observed one Fred Ogutu, Hope Academy director.

St. Stephene school students and teachers view their school profile online.

We started our distribution on the Langata constituency part of Kibera, that is Raila village. Kibera is spread over two constituencies, Kibra and Langata constituencies, with Kibra having the biggest portion.

All the schools in Raila village had a very positive approach to the map, and the site. They very much welcomed it despite the fact that some of them were a bit reluctant to give out information during the previous data collection.

Map Kibera member Zack Wambua shares the map with Maono Secondary School

Joy and excitement may have sent the Maono Secondary School head teacher the religious lecturer way, telling us that these are the end times and why everyone needs to repent and get ready to receive Christ when he comes. He did that for a few minutes then went ahead to tell us how the school will now use the Open Schools website as their official website.

At St. Stephene school, the head teacher even offered us a job, to help her draft the 2015 school activity plan that she intended to send to her donors together with a link to their page in the Open Schools Kenya website.

Hope Academy school director, Mr. Fred Ogutu, having featured in almost all our previous Project phases including the pre-project survey, was now well informed about what we are doing and congratulated us a lot on the good work done so far. He had a lengthy talk with us telling us that Kibera is a slum that has so much been misrepresented, with a lot of false data out there, he cited an example of the current Government-driven National Youth Service project which has, to use his own words, been blown out of proportion yet none of the clinics and toilets that the government seems to boast about are functional.

He observed that our data is one of the few genuine ones and wondered if the work we do also translate to helping us personally besides fighting to change our community. ‘Are you able to put food on the table and pay your rents?’ he posed a question.

In other villages, that is Katwekera, Kisumu Ndogo, Kambi Muru and Makina, the reception was equally good. We did manage to take fresh photos for FPFK Gatwekera school .

At Joseph Kangethe School, which is one of the two public schools that my colleague Zack and I were assigned to, had a very nice view of the map, The deputy head teacher asked us to come up with forums to educate parents in Kibera on the need to take their children to public schools. She said, contrary to what most parents expressed in the pre-survey, that public schools are being deserted and parents are flooding the non-government schools leaving the government schools with empty classes. “Public schools that had four streams per class have now reduced to three streams. We’ve been forced to turn the extra classrooms to stores because there are no children.”

She also added that learning in public schools is far much better than private schools where children are ‘just drilled and not taught’.

‘What is the government doing about that? And what are you as Map Kibera, in your education project doing about that?’ were her last questions.

Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor

Map Kibera Trust

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