I’m a City Changer – UN-Habitat staff giving back to society in Huruma Estate, Nairobi

Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th of April were special days for students and staff of Viara Education Center.

The school, recommended to UN-Habitat staff through connections with the Nairobi Rotary Club, is located in the heart of Huruma, an overcrowded low income estate in northern Nairobi, Kenya, hosted over 20 staff from UN-Habitat`s Office of Management during the course of the weekend who had the sole objective of reaching out to local community of Huruma by giving the 8 classrooms a complete make-over.

Armed with paint, brushes and rollers, UN-Habitat staff and additional volunteers together with the teachers – commenced the work on Friday afternoon preparing and priming all the walls, doors, and ancillary facilities, and completed the re-painting with a full day on Saturday to give them a brand new look!

Supported by in kind donations from Toyota East Africa, (Transport), and Crown Berger Paints, (heavily discounted supplies and materials), and the leadership and direction of the “The English Painting Company”, (Amsterdam), the initiative proved to be a great example of how with a little networking and a lot of hard work from the volunteers real and lasting change can be quickly achieved and further underscored UN-Habitat’s ‘I’m a City Changer’ campaign.

And all involved including the volunteers, school staff & children, and the supporting organizations felt it was a great success and well worth the effort and time and already look forward to continuing the initiative and build on the partnerships. We are already looking for the next school to work with.

The school’s head teacher, Pamela, couldn’t hide her joy. “You have crowned us with paint; I don’t know what we can crown you with!”, she further added that she and her staff wanted to volunteer to join us in the next initiative and contribute to the upgrading of another school.

The Viara Education Center,a local community school which is not state sponsored, helps to educate over 150 local children including many young orphans between class 1 and 7. It anticipates performing well in 2013’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) when its first pupils sit for the exams.

Staff also donated children`s clothing, toys and books to the students.