Transforming lives through Providing practical solutions to the disadvantaged and marginalized women, youth and children from Mathare slum in Nairobi.
Oasis Mathare (OM) is community based organization that empowers marginalized youths and children from Mathare slums Nairobi-Kenya with Library service, where children can come and do their studies away from home where they face challenges such as electricity and in adequate space. A place where youths and women learns ICT and practical entrepreneurial skills for sustainable livelihood And toy centre, where children are given opportunity to come and play with toys for early childhood
One of the greatest contributions to huge poverty level in mathare are is high unemployment rate which is fed by high illiteracy level. Most of the youth in mathare did not complete formal education, a good majority of those who completed did not pass well because of challenges that they face while learning, frequent interrupting their school sessions, they frequent lack fees, learning materials and quite place to study and lack of mentorship and entrepreneurial skills. OM provides practical solutions to helps reduce illiteracy and poverty in Mathare using different approaches, all based on deep understanding of the challenges that affect the youths and children in Mathare
Information and communications technologies (ICT) have the power to change the way people learn, find employment, start businesses and earn productive livelihoods throughout the world. The digital divide, defined by a lack of access to information for a specific population, symbolizes the largest difference between developed and developing countries. The digital divide runs much deeper than hardware and software. The real heart of the digital divide is that those without access to information resources often suffer needlessly while the solutions to their problems are exist beyond their reach. Given the opportunity and access, youth in marginalized communities have the ability to utilize ICT to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. The ICT Center at OM is up and running, and is currently equipped with 15 donated computers. Paying a basic registration fee, community participants can access this center and learn how to use computers to improve their skills, market their talents and promote their businesses. These courses are offered by trained youth facilitators, who also act as coaches and mentors. To date, 500 youth have accessed the ICT Centre and available courses, creating a significant ripple effect in the community as this knowledge is transferred to family members, friends and neighbours
OM provides students with a safe, quiet environment where they can study and access a library stocked with relevant resources. Children in the Mathare slum possess the same talents, creativity and capacities of other children, but are prevented from excelling academically due to challenges at home or high school fees. Most families lives in a 5 by 7 meters house which makes student difficult to study at and by providing students with this study space, they can improve their academic performance and keep-up with their classmates while they are out of school. Our small library serves a minimum of 45 children per day.
The youth and children in the Mathare slum are greatly talents in performing arts, creative art and sports, but they do not have access to people who can challenge, encourage, mentor and help them develop these talents. At the OCC, we use a peer-to-peer mentorship process, that helps youth and children to use their talents to earn sustainable livelihoods. The OCC also provides a space for youth and children to showcase their talents to the community.
A key feature of slum dwellings is the absence of open play spaces for small children. As a solution, the Oasis Community Centre provides space where children are able to come and play with toys for free. An additional benefit is that as they play, they are encouraged by the older children and youth that surround them to read, develop their talents and use technology.
We have witnessed great improvement in the performance of students who come to TOC. Using time with the computers as a reward, students must complete all their school assignments first. This approach has been very effective as students who frequent TOC are ranked within the top 5 positions of their classes – a great improvement from the previous school term.
In addition to the four main services provided, the Centre also provides young people with learning on sexual and reproductive health rights, rescue services to abused children and girls, and training in youth leadership and entrepreneurship.