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Soweto Academy

Where would you be without an education? Could you imagine your life without schooling? Without the opportunities your education provides? The struggles you’d face? The limitations?

Soweto Academy asks this question because education is vital to success and fulfillment, and some children find themselves unable to receive theirs. Circumstances limit funds. Limited funds mean limited services. Limited services mean children with zero control over their birthplace never have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Soweto Academy, an education nonprofit based in Nairobi, works to bring education and opportunities to children who would otherwise be forced to live without them.

Many Kenyan children grow up in slums without access to basic utilities, much less education. Soweto Academy has worked for thirty years to mend these issues. Chris Okumu, the director of Soweto Academy, established this nonprofit to bring children opportunities as well as help them become independent and self-sustaining members of society.

Soweto Academy teaches children about mathematics, science, and reading, but it also teaches valuable real-life skills its graduates can use to support themselves—and their communities—in the future. These skills include gardening and animal husbandry. Soweto Academy’s students learn to feed and sustain themselves while working to support others.

Soweto Academy’s support for these children goes beyond education, too. Students are fed. They’re clothed. They’re protected and nurtured. Kenya’s slums contain struggles that the rest of the world may never learn of or experience for themselves. Sewage and trash present health risks. Dense populations mean food can be scarce—before Soweto Academy, many children were forced to pick through trash just to scrape together enough nutrition to survive. Many children still do. Soweto Academy works to shield children from these harsh circumstances while teaching them how to overcome them.

Soweto Academy works to sustain itself by following the same values and skills it teaches its students. Operating an independent water-bottling facility, Soweto Academy uses its own well to supply water and its employees bottle and label that water for sale. Funds secured from this practice go toward feeding and clothing the children it protects as well as supporting the teachers who dedicate their lives to educating students.

Soweto Academy’s farms function similarly. These farms grow a variety of crops, and agricultural instructors teach students how to plant and sustain these crops to maturity. Students learn to farm, and Soweto Academy uses proceeds gained from these farms to support its students further beyond.

COVID-19 presented an intense and unique struggle for Soweto Academy and everyone living in Nairobi. Because Kenya’s slums are so densely packed, the coronavirus could spread like wildfire through the population. Limited utilities and funds meant healthcare and health-safety materials available to the rest of the world weren’t available to Kenyans.

Soweto Academy stood in the face of COVID-19 and protected its community with all its might. Their water-bottling facility provided clean and fresh water to countless lives. When trade shut down, Soweto Academy was there to feed everyone it could with its crops. Soweto Academy’s employees and students became some of Nairobi’s greatest shields and most stalwart frontline workers.

Without Soweto Academy’s help, there’s no telling how many in Nairobi may have suffered more than they already did. When the world shut down, Soweto Academy stood up. This defense of Nairobi would seem obvious to anyone familiar with the nonprofit’s practices and mission statement, but it demonstrates the resolve of Soweto Academy to support its community and raise everyone up together.

Soweto Academy has garnered attention from philanthropists the world over thanks to its mission and dedication to helping its students escape the limitations of their circumstances.

Partnering with BLU University and renowned speaker and philanthropist Dan Vega, Soweto Academy now spreads the message of unity and education online and across the world. Soweto Academy’s students and others now have the opportunity to access higher education courses, and these students and supporters are taking learning to the next level. They’re learning about economics, politics, business, international negotiations, and more! These courses teach students skills that allow them to succeed as well as bring their communities success on the world stage.

The director of Soweto Academy, Chris Okumu, intends to lead his students into even greater success in the future. He works tirelessly to support anyone and everyone in need of aid, and he has the progressive and pragmatic mindset required to accomplish these goals.

Soweto Academy alone can reach only so far, however. The nonprofit’s resources have been stretched thin. COVID-19 traumatized the world, and it stretched Soweto Academy’s resources particularly thin.

Soweto Academy Needs Your Help

Nothing is free, unfortunately, and Soweto Academy finds itself struggling to keep its doors open, to keep the children fed and clothed, to keep its teachers paid, and even to keep its back taxes settled.

Projects as ambitious as Soweto Academy incur deep expenses in the Kenyan economy. Thankfully, there is an answer—international support. Donations from everyday patrons like you can keep children fed and educated.

Fifteen thousand dollars is steep, but imagine how steep that cost is in the Kenyan economy. If fifteen hundred individuals donated just ten dollars, Soweto Academy could feed, clothe, and educate the children it protects for over a month. A little goes a long way, and many hands make light work.

Soweto Academy values independence and self-sufficiency—this nonprofit has sustained itself for over thirty years through dedication and hard work alone. COVID-19 put an unexpected and heavy strain on Soweto Academy, but it refuses to give up. Supporting Soweto Academy supports Kenya’s children, and these children will grow to support their communities, their country, and even the world.

Soweto Academy has helped children in need for years. Now, those children need you. Your support could mean the difference between generations of struggle and stagnation or education and accomplishment.

Where would you be without an education? Without clothes? Without food? Without hope?

Make a difference today. Visit Soweto Academy’s website and donate. Save a life. Support a community. Become the pillar Kenya’s children need. 

Written By Garrett Gerona