Little Rock is an Early Development Education Centre based in Kibera, Kenya. It also runs income generating projects and microfinance initiatives for the parents of the children attending the school.
The two main objectives are: to provide quality inclusive early childhood education, nutrition care, medical and therapy care to the vulnerable and disabled children of the kibera informal settlement; and to promote and empower the slum child to enjoy the rights to inclusive early childhood education, and equal opportunities to safety and development.
Little Rock’s mission is to provide the best quality early childhood education for all vulnerable and disabled children by promoting their total development in a flexible, inclusive learning environment and enlightening the community. Their vision is an inclusive society where all children are given equal opportunities in early childhood education for better life and imparting the community positively.
The impact of Little Rock is quite significant. Since 2003, 389 children have graduated from little rock. They are now in various classes and some have maintained top grades in their current schools. Their first set of Primary School graduates sat for their National Examinations in 2012 and out of the 20 candidates, 13 were admitted to High school; one of these was deaf. The Kindergarten currently has 315 children participating in various activities in an inclusive environment and the school has a program where all teachers and children are taught Sign Language in an effort to integrate the deaf children.
The Little Rock Centre is dedicated to improving the nutritional and health status of children, to providing a secure and psychosocial setting for children and developing children’s affective and psychomotor attributes in an integrated manner. The challenges that the children face range from being orphans, HIV+, disabled and poverty stricken. But Little Rock is a nurturing environment and the goal is to educate these children, provide them with hope and opportunity, and to ensure they do not engage in social vices.
The major challenge that this community faces, however, is that the parents leave early to go work in far off places, only to come back late in the evening and as a result are not able to participate in their children’s lives as they should. The children are therefore left on their own, which when facing poverty and boredom, can easily lead them astray to engage in street life, begging for money and petty crimes.
As a way to combat this challenge Littlerock also reaches out to the parents, as they are key players in the development of their children and continuing on the work of Little Rock at home. Little Rock works with the parents to empower them, help them generate income, be more financially independent, be closer to their children, and help Little Rock achieve financial self-sustainability; all so that they are able to better care for their children’s education needs.
Little Rock has written a business plan to create a tailoring and weaving production unit at the Centre. The organisation already has a handful of machines, but more are required to make a real go at creating a fully-functioning business. The key is to get ongoing local financial support from local Kenyan companies to assist Little Rock in making this goal a reality.
Therefore, the main objective of this project is to create a communications campaign to help Little Rock raise money from the local Kenyan companies for the machines, and for them to be an ongoing part in Little Rock’s development, therefore helping the parents to work closer to home and provide a more nurturing environment and quality education for their children.