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Varsity students launch ‘Ficha Uchi’ campaign for needy pupils

A group of university students with roots in Mathare slums have started a campaign dubbed “Ficha Uchi” to donate school uniforms to pupils from poor families.

The pupils go to school wearing home clothes or tattered uniforms.

Billian Okoth, the campaign’s founder, told Nairobi News on Friday that the project was initiated when a teacher asked him to help obtain school uniforms for some pupils in her school.

“After studying the area, I noticed that the problem was wide spread and decided to bring fellow professionals, leaders and university students together for a greater impact,” he said.

Mr Okoth then told the teacher who approached him that he will come up with a solution for many pupils to benefit as opposed to him buying school uniform for just five children.

“Together with other people including Gabe, who is a key player of the project, we mobilized university students who conducted a research to identify the schools in Mathare that were affected,” said Mr Okoth.

Genesis Primary was found to be the most affected school, with over a hundred pupils out of the school population of 300 wearing home clothes inside tattered school uniform.

Pupils at a primary school in Mathare slums. PHOTO | COURTESY
Pupils at a primary school in Mathare slums. PHOTO | COURTESY

The school will be part of the project’s roll-out on March 7 along with Huruma Primary.

The group hopes to obtain enough fabric to make school uniforms for 100 pupils in each school with the help of volunteer tailors.

“Our second tranche will cover Mathare Community Outreach Primary and another school in Kiamaiko area and we hope to be doing this every two weeks,” said Mr Okoth.

Having studied in a rural primary school, Mr Okoth said he knew too well what lack of school uniform could do to the performance of a pupil.

A teacher from one of the affected school recently confided in him how he allows pupils in his class to answer questions while seated to avoid embarrassment that could easily result to the child being unable to answer the questions.

“We intend to cover all schools in Nairobi slum areas and after we are done, roll out the project to rural schools in the counties,” said Mr Okoth.

The project has so far attracted 40 volunteers and is open to donations and more volunteers including tailors who will help make the uniforms.