Lindi School Undertakes Significant Renovation During COVID-19 Hiatus

The Friends Lindi School in Nairobi is making some quality upgrades thanks to donations from Friends around the world.  Lindi School offers Early Childhood Education (ECD) classes starting at age three. The school continues through grade eight. Lindi offers a life-giving atmosphere, godly teachers, and quality education to otherwise marginalized students.

The primary staircase has been widened.

These upgrades include major renovation projects that were long overdue. Improvements include plastered walls and replacing the dirt floors in ground floor classrooms with concrete. The primary staircase has been widened, walls painted, signs made, as well as broken doors and windows replaced. The latrines will be rebuilt, and a leaky roof repaired. 

This work can be done now as there are no students on campus. Because of the COVID-19 virus, all schools are shuttered throughout Kenya. The government’s current plan is to re-open schools in January 2021, when the new academic year starts.  All students in Kenya will repeat this past year’s grade level, as only about two months of the current school year were completed.  These months without students on campus have allowed the Lindi school to take on this considerable renovation.  It would have been impossible or much slower while school was in session or over breaks.

One reason these repairs have become urgent is because of a new emphasis from the Kenyan government on school safety. Last September, a multi-story primary school in the Kibera slum collapsed and seven students were killed, with dozens of others injured. Read more here.  Multiple causes were found for the collapse, including an illegally placed building, a nearby faulty sewer line that weakened the ground, and careless construction. The Ministry of Education was also blamed for not caring about schools in the slums. This outrage led to a focused plan of school safety inspections throughout all of Nairobi and beyond—of course this included inspections in Kibera and at the Lindi school.  The school, overseen by Nairobi Yearly Meeting, is in good standing and registered with the Ministry of Education. But school officials were handed a list of required renovations.  Future projects include the purchase of another water collection tank and the addition of a new teachers room. 

The Lindi neighborhood of the Kibera slum is a bustling unplanned community that is filled with a variety of tribes and tongues—persons who have come from other parts of Kenya to find work. Though the first Kibera residents were Nubian, from the Somali/Kenya border region, the majority of Kibera is filled with the Luo and Luhya people. The Luo are from around Lake Victoria and the Luhya are from the western part of Kenya, north of the lake, and make up more than 95% of the Kenyan Quaker population. 

With a population of about 250,000 people, Kibera is thought to be the largest slum in Africa.  Only 10% of the occupants own buildings, and they lease these to the other 90%.  There are no tenants rights. All of the property is owned by the government.  There is a high level of frustration and tension between people in Kibera.  Many people have really suffered through the COVID-19 restrictions.  Friends have four churches in the Kibera region. These churches serve the suffering in the community around them.   

Working with Nairobi Yearly Meeting, FUM considers Lindi to be one of its Kenyan Project Partners. While the FUM budget no longer funds the Lindi School, FUM is the conduit for giving to the Lindi School.  Friends donate regularly for scholarships, building funds, and operations.  The Lindi Board of Managers has an FUM representative and reports to the FUM general board annually.  Lindi School enjoys receiving Friends visitors from around the world.  You would be welcome too, but you will always need a guide to safely help you find the way through the many narrow roads, alleyways ,and footpaths that twist and turn. 

Pray for Lindi School as it completes these renovations and looks forward to a campus full of students in a few months’ time.  

—Shawn McConaughey

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Shawn McConaughey