Olivia is shy. Even when she knows the answer, she will not speak up unless the teacher asks her directly. Aged just six, she is learning in both English and Kiswahili at Sargy Education Centre on Rusinga Island, Kenya.
Olivia is one of more than 250 children from low-income homes who benefit from the award-winning project which is supported by Blythswood Romania. With her two older brothers, she walks five kilometres to school. It’s a journey that takes them an hour and a half, morning and night.
At home they help their mother to gather firewood which is the family’s own source of income. They do well if they make £7 per month. To these children, the two meals which they receive each day at Sargy are vitally important. Since Olivia started school her health has visibly improved.
Sometimes Olivia is sick with malaria. The government provides free mosquito nets for children but as they sleep on the floor on mats, the risk of being bitten is high.
At school she is a quick learner and is making good progress. Teacher Samwel Okomo observes: “In Europe children wait eagerly for the holidays to come while in Rusinga they wish they would pass more quickly.”