Re Foundation invited me for a Health Day they had organized for a needy primary school in the depths of Eastern Kenya (Ukambani). Ianzoni Primary School is located in a remote and marginalized area of the vast Machakos County. As always, I had my camera in hand and I managed to take some captivating shots of the event which I hereby gladly share with you!
The school currently caters for 185 students with a team of 11 dedicated teachers.
The road from Nairobi to the area called Muumandu is in good condition and stretches to an approximate distance of 100km. The route starts with the sight of commercial buildings along the Mombasa highway, it later opens to the cement factories and other industries around the Athi River area. The road then spills into a scenic savannah land spotted with several rocky hills, patches of rural settlements and farm lands.
We arrived at the Ianzoni Primary School after the Health Day event had already began. I could tell that this was a big day for the pupils and the administration as well from how they seemed to have prepared for it. At the gate, we were greeted by a little make-shift signboard that read ‘Ianzoni Health Day’ adorned with white balloons.
We walked in to a presentation on Thorough Hand Washing Techniques by a Public Health Officer named Lydia Muywoki, who was well versed with the topic and was quite entertaining in her message delivery making the kids pay attention. The hand washing lesson was definitely a helpful topic to cover for both the pupils and the community, as this would help minimize or curb the incidents of hygiene related ailments like typhoid, cholera and diarrhea. The kids later demonstrated what they had learned about hand washing.
After the hand washing presentation the pupils as well as the community members attending the Health Day were taught how to treat drinking water using purification tablets called Aqua Tab. This was another important topic owing to the fact that this being a semi-arid area water drinking water is either collected and stored during the rain season or fetched in the sparsely spread boreholes; sources which cannot be fully trust to be hygienic and safe to drink.
The pupils were also trained on how to clean their lavatories in an effective way using water, brooms and soap to ensure that the toilets do not habour harmful bacteria which could cause diseases. The trainer Veronica Mwangangi (School Health Program Officer) who was very explicit explained the cleaning process step by step and also threw in a word or two about the appropriate use of tissue paper for both boys and girls. To ensure that the topic stuck in the pupil’s minds, she invited a volunteer student to practically demonstrate the procedure of cleaning a pit-latrine toilet.
To ensure that the above skills learned by the pupils could be easily implemented and maintained in school, the Re Foundation donated water tanks fitted with two taps to serve as hand washing stations at the ablution blocks. The foundation also officially opened the lavatories they had built to serve the schools population adequately. From my interactions with the kids, I learned that they had not had toilets to serve them in the past few years and that they were very grateful to the Re Foundation for coming to their aid. To inculcate the culture of hand washing and keeping the toilets clean, the Re-Foundation provided information posters on the topis and had them stuck on the lavatory area walls.
After this, the pupils and the adults from the surrounding community were given a brief first aid training on how to handle incidents of choking or blocking of the airway by food. This was carried out by the AAR Ambulance Team who were also attending the event as partial sponsors. The several techniques of attending to a choke victim were demonstrated to the pupils and they all seemed very keen on the topic. This topic was definitely taught in opportune time as the event was just about to break-off for lunch! 🙂
The rigorous part of the Health Day was now over. The Re Foundation which was the head organization in preparing and carrying out this event went to present several items that they had noticed at necessary during their work with this institution which stretched to several months shy of a year. The pupils were presented with a fully kitted First Aid bag to cater for injuries. They were also presented with a year’s supply of hand washing soap from PZ Cussons. To aid audio-visual learning for the students, Re Foundation donated a flat-screen television and a DVD player to the school. The teachers were also not left out as they were given a computer through which they can keep school records and access the internet. This would also provide a training ground for them before they were issued with laptops from the Re Foundation to further aid their work with the pupils. Despite the fact that the pupils and the teachers would not be in a position to use the machines yet due to lack of electricity, joy was evident in their eyes and smiles. I hope that they will soon have solar-powered energy from the Re-Foundation or any other well wishers out there.
The pupils, teachers and the attending members of the surrounding community were treated to a sumptuous lunch courtesy of the Re Foundation.Local tunes played by the local ‘dj’ belted away as the people feasted. The members of the Re Foundation happily served their hosts and only settled to eat after everyone else had eaten. What a gesture of selfless service to the community! They also donated a full semester’s worth of food to ensure that the kids were fed through out the remaining part of it.
It had been work through out the day, and we all know what they say about all work and no play. Re Foundation made sure that no one was going to turn dull on this particular day by inviting the pupils to indulge their members in various games which included ‘one-touch’ soccer and musical chairs. The kids gladly participated in all these activities and their happy laughter was evidence enough that they had an awesome day, thanks to the Re Foundation!
Eventually, it was time to leave and head back to the city of Nairobi. The children bid us farewell and we got back on to the road for the trip back. I had a pleasant day interacting with the children as well as the locals. I was very impressed with the work that the Re Foundation has done with Ianzoni Primary School, and it was also very heart-warming to see the dedication of the teachers to make a difference in lives of these needy pupils. The Headmaster, Mr. Derrick Mutunga is passionate in serving the children of Ianzoni and all we can do is support him in every little way that we can!
While I was there, I felt that this would be a good place to start my ‘Education Through Film’ project where I will be airing educative cinemas to schools and communities in marginalized areas for free. I cannot wait to acquire the screen, solar panels, projectors and speakers to commence this project!
One thing is for sure, Mash is definitely going back to visit the children of Ianzoni Primary School!
Note: All well wishers are welcome to assist the Ianzoni Primary School children in any way possible. Any help can be channeled through the Re Foundation, who can be contacted through the address below;
Re Foundation: about.me/re.foundation
Program Coordinator: Wendy Masale
Cellphone: +254 722 206161 / +254 722 590974