April 1, 2020 - Late in March, on the Government's directive, the last of the students at the Nambale Magnet School were sent home. Since the Nambale Magnet School was designed to serve children in the poorest and most marginalized segments of the community and children rendered home due to the AIDS pandemic or abject poverty, one-third of the school's population, the sponsored population, have little or nothing to go home to.
Even the paying students, the two-thirds portion of the student population, are showing the stress from the current recession and job loss in Kenya making it difficult for even these students families ability to meet with tuition obligations.
This is a tragedy given the food insecurity they will face and the uncertain living conditions they will be facing. It is heart breaking to know that these vulnerable children are far safer at school and yet are forced to leave.
The hardships to the students and the implications for the Nambale Magnet School are far reaching.
As it stands today, the teachers and staff are still working at the school to clean and sanitize. Also, since there is no internet in the homes of this region, the Nambale Magnet School has taken it upon themselves to create printed worksheets and study guides for the students to take home with them to continue their studies, even under the most difficult circumstances.
Sadly for the Kenyan people, the Coronavirus arrives to the country at a time where the country is already in a deep recession. This has affected jobs and layoffs have already been prevalent. Even the students that are paying tuition are often unable to do so.
The teachers are finishing up projects started in their class rooms and should be there for another week.
The school farm is producing milk for sale and eggs are being sold as well. Any meat available is being frozen for the return of the student population.
There is no testing for the Coronavirus outside the urban areas. Upon the return of the students a heightened training and awareness will be initiated by the staff to keep the students safe from the spread of this and any other contagions. Expenses for trash cans with pedals and additional hand washing stations are needed to increase safety from the contagions.
On a positive note, two of our first students, Jackson and Alpha have both been accepted to a Yale University sponsored international leadership conference at Yale in June and July. Travel permitted of course. The two of our first class, now at the Light Academy Private school in Nairobi, have been sent "home" to Nambale. The two are studying with the help of the computer lab at the Nambale Magnet School. These two students have displayed a thirst and enthusiasm for learning that has been an inspiration to every student that has come since. We look forward to seeing them in New Haven!
The difficulties this pandemic has created globally is unprecedented and, as usual, those closest to the margins of society are the hardest hit. Please keep all the children of the Nambale Magnet School in your hearts and prayers during these difficult times.
Cornerstone Project, Inc.
The Cornerstone Project is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that transforms and sustains marginalized communities by educating, nurturing, and empowering their most vulnerable members. Founded in 2008, the foundation is a primary benefactor the Nambale Magnet School in Western Kenya which provides education, shelter, and support for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children.
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Cornerstone Project, Inc.