Helping people to help themselves in Nairobi, Kenya

80 % of Nairobi’s population, i.e. more than 3 million, live on only 5 % of the living space in informal settlements, crowded into small corrugated iron huts, without water supply or sanitary facilities and often surrounded by garbage. In the neighboring settlements of Kangemi and Kawangware, there are about 6 state schools for 80,000 children and about 90 community schools as private initiatives of the residents.

School fees paid by parents are barely enough to cover the teachers’ meager salaries of €1 a day, apart from the vacation months when there is no income. School desks and adequate sanitary facilities are lacking, the rooms are small, cramped, dark and often several classes are taught in parallel.

In 2005 Irmgard Wutte visited one of these schools, the Kangemi Youth School, and was shocked by the completely traumatized people. She followed the urgent request of all teachers not to forget them. Over 7 years she visited the school with friends and the initial shyness and submissiveness gradually gave way to a cheerful – trusting bond.

In 2012, a school partnership then began with the first nyendo school in Prien am Chiemsee, Bavaria. Since then, a total of 12 schools in Germany and Austria and 14 community schools in Kangemi/Kawangware have participated in the partnership that learns with and from each other across the divided worlds.

Our path led us through different phases with diverse projects to reduce hardship and enable intercultural encounters and activities. We have indeed succeeded in both with flying colors and have energetically and passionately broken down the ghettoization of our friends.
However, helping people to help themselves remains a great challenge. The trauma of helplessness is deeply ingrained, and we are too quickly tempted by pity, shame and guilt to intervene and create a remedy where self-empowerment would be the only solution. But what options are there?

In 2020, we finally found a local partner, NairoBits, with whom we could actually support a sustainable offering for disadvantaged young people by setting up a new IT center. 70% of the graduates find jobs.

With our approach we can imagine to find partners all over the world with whom we create a small piece of fair and peaceful world.

Insight into our network of partner schools

We are happy to present our current partner schools at this page soon. Please be patient for a little bit longer.

The journey is the reward

Projects that relieve hardship are numerous, but finding or initiating projects that support self-initiative, entrepreneurship, and self-empowerment is extremely difficult. KDI, Kuonquue Design Initiative, in the informal settlement Kibera is a unique shining example. In Kangemi and Kawangware, we try to involve local partners like NairoBits or Start Somewhere.

There is one thing that is certain: our heartfelt interest and tireless efforts are healing the imbalance caused by exploitative interests.