Michael Maingi was raised in a Nairobi slum, and the adults in his life were school dropouts. Somehow he completed secondary school and then Teachers College. Because he was so committed to children in the slums, he came back to teach where he had grown up. In fact, he intentionally lives in that slum to set an example for his students. Somehow Michael must meet the needs of his family of four as well as his extended family. It is almost impossible on his teacher’s salary.
Starnsislous Mule grew up in a family of 13 children, the son of peasant farmers. He was able to attend secondary school because of the support/sacrifice of an older sister. He took a job as an untrained teacher and was so outstanding that his colleagues organized a fundraiser to send him to Teachers College. From there he took a position at Mawewa School in Nairobi’s Mathare slum. He could easily work in a government school for a much higher salary, but is committed to the children of Mathare.
Clarice had very high scores on the qualifying test. She has been in Kicoshep School since first grade. Her father died two years ago in a road accident. Her mother is ill and has 5 other children to care for. She can barely provide food for them by selling some vegetables in the market.
Helen has done very well in school at Kicoshep, but she has had some serious health problems. Those were addressed through the clinic at the school. But she comes from a very poor family that cannot pay fees for school.
Dominic has been at Kicoshep since preschool. He is very bright and scored well on the qualifying test. His father is a casual laborer who cannot always find work. In a recent road expansion in the Kibera slum, the family’s home was destroyed, and they now have to find somewhere to live.
Franklin had the highest scores on the test. He has done extremely well in his studies. His mother was abandoned by her husband when he was 8. She also is sickly and barely subsists supporting four other children by selling fish in the market.