The origin of Stara dates back 1997, When Feed the Children (Kenya) begun a micro credit finance scheme in Kibera and commenced working with us. In the beginning the group had 30 members and by the end of 1999, the group had lost some of its members and their children remained behind as orphans. We approached the group to see whether we could feed the children but it was found to be difficult and some of them withdrew, hence we were left three women and took the initiative. We rented a small single room in which we fed and educated the children and later they returned back to their guardians. We leased a piece of land from Kenya Railways and construction began of a temporary structure of two classrooms which now grew to what it is today.
We started with six children and discovered that there were other similar cases around the community. The group then approached Feed The Children who acknowledged our efforts and introduced us to a donor (VVK now Childslife).
In the year 2002, the number of infected parents and guardians increased calling the need to start a program that would cater for their partial needs if not all, so the Stara Home Based Care program was born. We feed, counseled them, offered spiritual nourishment as well as refer them to hospital for ARV’s. They also receive food ration to carry home. The guardians now number sixty (60) and twenty (20) aged mothers contribute by doing sanitation activities around the school premises.
In November 2004 World Food Program started a feeding program at the school, the number of children increased from 270 to the current 545. The WFP feeds the children during normal school days and Swiss during vacation. For most of the children take their only meal at the school.
Currently the school caters for 560 children of whom 60% are orphans, 20% of single parents, 10% neglected and abused, 10% from poor families aged between 3-18 years. We have managed to screen 400 children and 48 were confirmed to be HIV positive, some are referred to centers equipped for such cases, the rest are under medication (ARV) at the center.
As part of the project activities, Stara has bio- toilet facility which was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation and Umande Trust. Running costs are paid from income and surplus goes towards assisting the school in improving the feeding programmed for the HIV + orphans as well as supplement WFP food as their give dry ration.
The school has computers, donated by Fiona Kirubi and the others donated by the Swiss Development Agency cooperation. Fiona Kirubi also donated food during the month of Ramadhan. A number of individual donors support with various items from time to time.
In 2009 Swiss Association, founded by the Cottier family in Switzerland, started supporting the school. They cater for the day to day running of the school, including payment of all salaries, breakfast/mid morning porridge, as well as full holiday feeding. Several infrastructural improvements were also made by them (toilets, urinals, dining room), including reconstruction of a whole classroom / office track following a fire due to electrical fault. They also have plans in improving school facilities further and incorporate a dormitory for girls (initially 25 most neglected). Their vision is to find solutions for those children that are not able to get into secondary schools, either through a bursary scheme or vocational training.
Stara Peace Organization has seven key programmes running but with limited resources
- Environmental Sanitation.
- HIV/AIDs Women economic empowerment program
- Formal education and Feeding programme for children, Youth Exchange Programme.
- Girl child empowerment program.