Digital Resources for Impoverished Students - Greater Success at School
“With our digital tools and a bright conducive study environment, Elimu Resource Center is a wonderful solution for children in the Kenyan school system who lack textbooks and teachers in their classrooms. We are able to expose children and teachers to technology which is critical for their future success.” — Kamotho Ndung’u, Country Director
Inspired by Children
Elimu Resource Center was inspired by the children in our programs. Established in 2016, the Center helps children, especially poor students in the Kenyan public school system, to improve their performance at school. The Center provides easy-to-use educational tools and self-directed study skills to help especially students build self-drive and confidence.
A Digital Hub for Learning
With a bright airy study hall and large tables, the Center offers comfortable seating for up to 50 students. A variety of educational software, video tutors and interactive practicals allow children to work at their own pace and practice as many examples as they need to feel sure of themselves. A private seminar room allows study groups to gather, discuss and work out problems. Peer teaching is one of the most popular activities at the Center. Students teach their fellows on subjects they feel confident about. Seminars and talks are also offered by Elimu staff and community representatives on topics like how to pass exams, how to improve your results and preparing for graduation. Students are prepared for their futures as well with career talks and entrepreneurship training.
Income Generation & Sustainability
An important secondary objective of the Center is sustainability. Malindi is an urban setting where poverty co-exists with relative affluence. For income generation and long-term sustainability, the Center serves both those able to pay for its services and those who are subsidized.
Responding to Students’ Challenges
Elimu Resource Center is our response to the challenges faced by children in Elimu’s other educational projects. The obstacles faced by students in Kenya are many. In the public education system, the challenges include lack of teachers, high classroom populations of 50-70 students, too few textbooks (sometimes only 2 or 3 for an entire class)—the list goes on. Challenges arising at home can include lack of funds for buying uniforms and school shoes which are compulsory, no textbooks for homework, dark or otherwise non-conducive study environments, no money for remedial help.
The first step towards a solution was a mentorship program which grew from humble beginnings—as a remedial holiday study program. In 2015, it moved from teacher-directed tutoring to a more student-directed approach. Digital tools like eReaders and DVDs were introduced to allow students to work individually and at their own pace. Students themselves set the schedule and assisted each other through peer-to-peer teaching.
Through our interactions with children, it became clear that the challenges are universal. The students most likely to succeed in this setting are those who are self-directed and highly motivated. The Center benefits all types of students — primary and high school students, as well as post secondary and even adult learners at college or doing distance learning. Services are offered on a membership basis, as well as an affordable daily fee. Teachers also find a variety of useful resources at the Center which they can use in the classroom or for planning lessons.
A Hub for Elimu Projects
The resources of the Center are relevant to children in all of projects. Sponsored students of our Stay in School Project access the Centre during evenings, weekends and school holidays to get their hands on those textbooks they don’t find at school. Within the first year of operation, children came to us to say thank you for improving their marks.
The children of Nyumbani Kwetu Home use the digital books and computers at the Centre to complete homework and for remedial self-directed study in the holidays. They join the seminars and study programs at the Center and gain the opportunity of mixing with children from various schools and different backgrounds.
Students of Heri Sewing Project come to the Center on a weekly basis to learn how to use digital technology to enhance their fashion designs and sewing skills. They research fashions around Africa using the internet, download YouTube video tutorials on pattern-making and gain exposure to new designs and creatives ideas. Their digital skills enhance their competitive edge in the market.
Even Upendo School connects with the Center through a mobile reading program we’ve developed for them. Center staff visit the school weekly with our eReaders and other tools to read with the children and help build up their English literacy.
You Can Help Us Make Our Resource Centre Mobile
We need $25,000 to create a Mobile Resource Hub. With portable eReaders, laptops and projectors it’s easy to move the Centre’s resources out in to the community. We are developing reading programs (like the one for Upendo School) and other learning opportunities to complement the school curriculum and boost literacy. To succeed in this initiative we are seeking funding for 35 more eReaders and a set of 40 tablets. Our mobile program will benefit publics schools, childrens’ homes and rescue centers, and even youth inmates at the local prison. If you would like to contribute please click the red donate button.
Elimu Resource Center Partner
Elimu is very grateful for the generous support of The Charis Foundation for providing most of the operating costs for Elimu Resource Center for the next three years. The set-up costs, that is purchase of all the equipment, furnishings and installations were covered by our founder.