Ester’s Story

Eldo-Excel is a partner school to Tenderfeet, located near Eldoret, Kenya.  The school is led by head teacher Jane Waithaka.

Ester carries her baby sister as she searches for food in the trash

Ester carries her baby sister as she searches for food in the trash

It is in a slum called Munyaka, and the poor children in the community suffer greatly, most unable to attend school.

Over the years, many of the Tenderfeet Foundation’s sponsored children have attended Eldo-Excel, where they have received the same kind of nurturing education that Tenderfeet seeks to provide.

A few months ago, during my visit to Kenya, I visited Eldo-Excel school to check first-hand on the progress of the sponsored children.  It’s about 6 hours north of Nairobi, where Tenderfeet is located.

During this visit, Head Teacher Jane shared the situation of some local kids that was weighing heavily on her heart.

She described three pre-teen girls, two of whom had relocated from the arid Turkana area of Kenya.

The other was a survivor of the infamous Kiambaa church fire set deliberately during the post-election riots of early 2008.

Teacher Jane sadly recounted instances of finding the girls hunting for food in the trash piles throughout the slums.

Ester (far right) with her family in their home

Ester (far right) with her family in their home

The girls and their families were on the brink of starvation, and were forced to take the most desperate actions imagineable to survive.

One time Teacher Jane found them and even took a picture to document the tragedy of such a sight.

Ester in her new school uniform

Ester in her new school uniform

Another time she happened upon them struggling with a dog over a bone.  Apparently, they would break open such bones and attempt to get the little bit of marrow out to eat.

One of the girls is 12 year-old Ester Akwambi.  Teacher Jane started her in school soon thereafter, where young Ester started in first grade.

This was due to the fact Ester had virtually no educational background and had to start at the very basic levels.

Ester was willing to take the opportunity, even though it meant she as a 12 year-old was taking class with 6 and 7 year-olds.

Once Jane told me the tragic story of these girls and their families, we began searching for sponsors to help pay for the educational and food expenses of the kids.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, we were able to enroll eight children from these three families.  Moreover, we were able to purchase school uniforms for all of them, and provide a healthy lunch every day at school.

Ester’s story illustrates the challenges and opportunities of the slums.  There are tens of thousands of children like Ester, and sadly we can’t help them all.

However, through the financial support of big-hearted sponsors we can make both an immediate and long-term impact on the lives of children like Ester.

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