About Stara Rescue Centre and School
Stara Rescue Centre and School has been running since 2000. It started with 6 orphans children who were left behind by our group members who passed away. The school was introduced to a donor in the Netherlands (Childs Life International) and commenced leasing a plot of land to construct two temporary classrooms.
With an increasing number of children, up to 270 in 2004, World Food Program (WFP) started a feeding program at the school during school days and well-wishers during holidays. For most of the children, the meal they get is their only meal. The holiday feeding program was started to prevent children from going back to streets and early marriage during school holidays.
Currently, Stara Rescue Centre and School caters for over 560 vulnerable children. 60% of all the pupils are orphans, (20%) are from single-parents, (10%) neglected and abused, and (10%) from poor backgrounds. We have managed to screen 480 pupils and 50 have been confirmed to be HIV-positive and are on anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). The pupils are aged from 4 to 17 years old.
Stara Rescue Centre and School is open six days a week and regularly operates classes from baby class, nursery, pre-unit and standards 1-8. All the classes adopt the national curriculum. It feeds and counsels, as well as offering spiritual nourishment to both the children and their guardians.
In 2009 Swiss Stara Support, 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.
World Food Program (WFP) provides hot meals to kindergarten and free lunch during school days.
In the year 2007, Girl child Empowerment Program was introduced. This was mainly to:
- Empower the girls with information that would make them make healthy decision regarding their sexuality
- Provide sanitary towels to girls who cannot afford them, for them stop using clothes and missing school.
- Reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS and early pregnancy/marriage in young girls who are in school.
- Ensure the young women and girls are provided with opportunities to learn skills, be the role models and to reduce their vulnerability and help them avoid risky behaviour.
Challenges facing the school
- We lack sponsorship of bright student and vocational training centre for our standard eight graduates
- We need a permanent land for the school
- we need a dormitory for girls
- We need furniture for the school.
- We need a computer laboratory.
- Stara Rescue Centre and School appeals for anybody willing to join hands with Swiss Stara Support in supporting these children to achieve to their goals and have a better future.