Through friends in America, TNP’s founder was introduced to Kenya’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development this past summer. Dr. James Nyikal is a pediatrician who was appointed Permanent Secretary in 2008 and today directs a ministry that promotes gender equality and social development for a population of nearly 40 million.
After our meeting, Minister Nyikal arranged for two different departments of his Ministry to visit our preschool in Kibera. They were impressed.
Delegates from Kenya’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development visit the Nyanya Toto Preschool Center and new Sewing Center. Lissel Mogaka, left, is the Ministry’s Assitant Director of Gender and Social Development. With him, associates, Lucie Njoki and Doreen Nkirote.
The preschool was larger than they expected, and the fact that there are a playground, three toilets and one kitchen sets us apart: Students have facilities that are very rare in the slum areas of Nairobi. Best of all: Our preschool students have grandmothers to help guide them.
“What you have here is unique,” said Naomi Oroko. the Ministry’s Kibera representative.
“Your preschool takes us back to the very origins of African culture when grandmothers were the heart of their families and their communities. They held the knowledge, did the hard work and provided the love and guidance.
“We have an ancient African saying, ‘Who doesn’t listen to the elderly breaks a leg.’
“So your preschool is taking us all the way back. The tradition is that we listen to grandmothers to teach us. You are doing the same thing here.
“Bringing grandmothers and grandchildren together is like reigniting the light of the way it used to be.”
Thank you, Ms. Oroko. We hope to open more preschools where grandmothers help show the way.