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The Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Community Centre, a multi-purpose facility built through the generosity of past travellers Bernard Wharton and Jennifer Walsh, is a bright and beautiful oasis of hope in the middle of the Mukuru slum. Harambee is a vital community centre, allowing residents to gather for lectures, educational sessions, and meetings. But there is much else:
Mukuru is a loud, muddy, incredibly cramped, constantly challenging place, a place where serenity is rare. Harambee Centre provides the people of Mukuru with green lawns and well-kept, neatly painted buildings, with quiet and calm, with room for the heart to open, the mind to roam, and the sprit to grow. This is a subtle thing, but it’s not a small one.
Dramatically expanded thanks to the generosity of the Kovner Foundation, Harambee’s library is a crucial community resource. And Harambee’s expertly staffed, well-equipped learning resources centre offers students a window and a bridge to the greater world.For more, click here.
Harambee’s Centre’s lovely Goretti Nursery School provides care for upwards of 250 children aged three to five. Many of these children progress to AmericaShare-sponsored primary school through the Micato One for One Commitment, and some enter the School Sponsorship Programme, and some bid fair to change the world for the better. In addition to being a place of happy growth, the Gorretti School often provides its children with their only real meal of the day. Their playground, the Baba Roland Celebratory Playground, was built in memory of a longtime AmericaShare sponsor, the late and cherished Roland Largay.
Daniel Adongo is the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League, and the great basketball star Dirk Nowitzki’s wife, Jessica Olsson, proudly hails from Kenya, but the country has yet to supply the NBA with a player. That just might change with the dedication of Harambee Centre’s new, full size basketball court, complete with spectators benches on the sidelines. Most of the shillings for the new court were supplied by young Micato travellers using funds they received or raised at their bar mitzvahs.
Sorely needed, if not terribly glamorous, a new borehole next to Harambee Centre was recently dug, giving Mukuru one of its only sources of fresh water. Such are the small and day-to-day things that, along with libraries and computers and loving care, go into vitalizing and empowering a community.
The Harambee Centre serves as a base for Huru International, founded in 2008 by AmericaShare executive director Lorna Macleod. Huru manufactures reusable sanitary pads that have thus far been distributed to more than 100,000 school girls, enabling them to attend school throughout their menstrual period. Huru also offers employment to scores of local residents at its workshop in Harambee. The fellowship here is strong and spirits are high: the workers know they’re engaged in a worthy cause.