I just found this post draft on my kindle a few weeks ago (!!!) I forgot to post it then as I meant to edit it a bit more. Since that time, I finished working at KCC and had intended to go back after a short period at home and continue helping with management tasks… but those plans fell through. Finding this post is a good reminder of all that KCC- Kigamboni Community Centre, does, and how they do it.
I have been busy these past weeks at Kigamboni Community Centre, or KCC, as everyone knows it around here.
The centre provides such a wide range of services and opportunities to residents of Kigamboni. Needless to say, I was very impressed. Additionally impressive are that all of the classes offered are free, and all members of staff are volunteers. Currently there’s about 30 local volunteers, all young people who give of their time and share what they know with others.
There are activities for children, youth and older people at the centre, so there is always a mix of people around. A nursery class for children whose parents can’t afford pre-school and who then are at a disadvantage when they begin primary school runs in the mornings. In the afternoons, primary school pupils can come for extra tuition and help with school subjects.
There is a library that the kids and other learners can borrow (mostly English) books from, and a reading programme for children that uses games to teach language (chatterbox). I have been teaching an English class and helping out with the computer and social media classes which all come under the educational programmes they run. With the help of benefactors KCC’s founders have managed to set up a learner scholarship programme for secondary school students which enables needy students to go to secondary school. And there are other learning and capacity building opportunities for volunteers through training sessions run by youth development organisations in Tanzania and Kenya.
Separately there’s also a drop-out primary school for children who were unable to complete their schooling perhaps due to lack of fees, or because they ran away from home, or became involved in crime. This is especially necessary because as I was told, after a certain age one cannot enrol in primary school. This school functions alongside other social activities including a children’s shelter for at risk youth. KCC is partnering with governmental organisations to try out a different form of reforming children who are in conflict with the law. They are provided a place to stay at the shelter, schooling through the dropout primary school and talent development opportunities in the wide array of activities always going on in the afternoons at KCC.
Then there’s talent development and vocational training activities that help youth both, discover their talents and provides them with avenues for making money off these talents. Activities include tailoring classes, handicrafts making classes, acrobatics, traditional dance and hiphop/modern dance, drama/theatre and football. And they are talented- see video above. Some of the youth perform at functions around Dar es Salaam and are paid to do it, and recently a group of them also toured Germany and other European countries as part of a cultural caravan- Kinder Kultur Karavane. Merchandise produced from the tailoring and handicrafts departments are sold at events that KCC participates in on Kigamboni as well as on the mainland Dar es Salaam; and through a new KCC shop being set up.
It’s plenty for sure- I have been figuring it all out myself, and taking part- there is always something to do at KCC. And all run by unpaid youth volunteers. Often these volunteers came to KCC as students or to benefit from one or another of the activities on offer, and then stayed on to help with the next batch of volunteers.