Winnie Nyaga is an alumni of The Family Group Foundation scholarship program who scored an A- of 77 points in her KCSE exams in 2016. Winnie is a volunteer at Pace Maker International. Pace Maker unlocks youths’ potential by providing them with volunteer opportunities through teaching assistance and providing learning support to under – resourced schools.
Pace Maker’s vision is to provide youth with personal development, leadership opportunities that enable them to prosper, take initiative to transform the communities and contribute positively to national development.
In turn through their assistance as teachers, students get better learning experiences and improve on their grades. At the same time the volunteer assistants develop key skills, awareness and attitudes needed to lead and change their communities.
This impact can clearly be seen through Winnie Nyaga and her experience at Imara Daima Adventist School.
“What I do is practice teaching assistance at Imara Daima Adventist School and still try to impact on the lives of the kids in little ways that I can”, she said.
During her teaching practice, Winnie and her colleague learnt that at lunch time, the children would eat food with their hands. Most of the children later complained of stomach upsets.
“After coming from the wash rooms and playing in the field, they do not wash their hands”, she said.
As the volunteers she said wanted to buy spoons for the children but saw this as an expensive venture.
They therefore decided to consult with planet yoghurt, a local company that sells yoghurt. She and her colleague made a request and asked for the disposed of spoons. These spoons would be collected, disinfected and the intention is to give the students.
To date Winnie has collected 201 spoons and hopes to collect 620 spoons by the time students resume their second term session.
The volunteers also want to acquire a water tank for hand washing for the kids, so as to minimize the number of stomach upsets and infections that the children have been having during the first term.
Winnie and her colleague have also introduced the math hour for standard 8 pupils, where they tutor the student at lunch hour to improve the students’ attitude and approach to mathematics.
The students at the school come from the surrounding Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, their English and Swahili is not good and as a way of improving their language they introduced spelling bee where they personally contribute and provide pencils and erasers that the students use to practice their grammar.
The school classes are built from corrugated iron sheets. The school has a development plan of building a extra classes. She and other volunteers have opened an account to source for funds that will help in raising funds to build the school. So far 108,000 has been raised from a development budget of 10.5 million.
Volunteering to ease shortage
Kenya currently has a shortage of more than 100,000 teachers in public primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
The shortage has resulted in having large class sizes posing a challenge to provision of quality education. This shortage largely impacts schools in low income slum and rural areas. With the increase in primary school enrollment due to the free primary education, teachers struggle to provide quality education to students.
The Family Group Foundation is working with Pace Maker International, by providing alumni’s from The Family Group Foundation scholarship program to work as volunteers in needy schools as teaching assistants who focus on grading, tutoring and mentoring.
Students like Winnie, who have gone through mentorship understand only too well the value of delivering the promise of quality education.
Winnie and her colleague continue to be powerful advocates for change, by providing a clean environment for the students and in addition quality education that will improve the performance of students in school and achieving the mission of providing quality education.