Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a community aid organization based in Inverness County.

ICC has worked to provide for the educational and daily life needs of the 280 students at the St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School (SCLSS) since 2012. The students of SCLSS are housed in dormitories on a half acre on which the school and all buildings are also situated.

For many students this is their only chance to obtain a secondary education. Most students had a history of sporadic school attendance due to a lack of money for school fees. Because of this, they truly appreciate the opportunity to learn and are very serious about this opportunity to gain a secondary education.

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The conditions at the school are crowded, with classrooms and living areas past the maximum occupancy. Their diet is simple and nutritious, mainly, beans, corn, Sukuma Wiki (collard greens), cabbage, and occasionally tomatoes, with meat as a rare luxury.

The school is located close to the Nairobi International airport. This is an area that is rapidly being encroached on by the City of Nairobi and the influence of the Kibera Slums which are nearby.

The climate and growing conditions in this area are not suitable for farming, or even small garden plots. The school grounds are very crowded and there are two seasons of very little rain, which turns the ground into a cement-like terrain with deep cracks. Water is supplied by a rainwater collection system (supplied by Living Water Africa), channeling rainwater from the roofs of all the school buildings into an 80,000 liter tank. Drinking water is supplied by Nairobi City Water, which is stored in a tank on the school grounds. There are no showers (bucket water bathing) and six, two-stall pit latrines provide the 280 students with toilet services.

Plans are in progress for a new school in the HomaBay area of South Western Kenya, near Lake Victoria. This new school will be located in an area with a climate much more favourable to sustainable farming on a 10 acre plot of land. Although the need is critical there are many obstacles that must be overcome before the new school is a reality. Anyone who wishes to financially support these student and school initiatives may do so by sending a cheque to: Inverness County Cares, PO Box 99, Judique, NS, B0E 1P0.

Next month’s article will detail plans for a new school and the process of educating the students, teachers and communities near the school on farming methods that will work toward making the school self sustaining.

For more information please visit: http://invernesscountycares.com and http://lwangachildren.com/.