We don’t usually share news updates on the blog, but this time we will because of a devastating report from one of the Springs of Africa-sponsored schools here in Nairobi (pictured several years ago).
When a fire ravaged through Kibera slums on Tuesday night, Desert Streams School suffered the brunt of it. The school building, desks, computers, textbooks and student books, student records, church equipment—all were razed to the ground. To the natural eye, the situation looks hopeless. But the directors, teachers and even the children are not without hope.
Tobias and Judy Oloo, Directors, were alerted at night. “When we got here, we could not do anything. The fire was spreading too fast,” Judy recounts. “Even what we tried to salvage was snatched by looters who were taking advantage of the confusion to grab whatever they could.”
The day before, nearly 250 students were busy learning in the school, ready for a good year ahead. Now, remains of revision papers, scraps of metal and two staircases leading to nowhere speak of what was but is no more.
Despite the calamity, children reported to school the following day. Teachers gathered them in groups in the empty adjacent church building and courageously continued teaching as best they could. Parents came to witness the damage.
The fire was apparently sparked by an illegal power connection nearby. “I heard a huge explosion followed by several more explosions. Within a short time, the whole neighborhood was burning,” a teary victim narrated. Unfortunately, a man who tried to intervene at the point of the explosion was killed instantly. Many homes were burned down before the fire reached and stopped at—thanks to the water tank at the school—Desert Streams.
“We are collecting nails hopefully to be reused when the time to rebuild comes. But we do not know where to begin,” Judy desperately explains. Then the unwavering hope: “But with God’s help, we shall surely start again.”
The interim emergency plan is to partition the church into makeshift classrooms. The most urgent need is for books and desks. If you wish to donate toward these costs you can do so on this blog page, designating your donation to RESTORE DESERT STREAMS. We will be sure your gift reaches the school. Thank you!