Facing the Future is a Learning Center for ages 18 months through 14 years. It currently houses over 380 children who have access to day care classes through Grade 8. Each day, the children in each class follow a specific teaching curriculum, are fed two meals and have recess and club times such as music and theater. FAFU is said to be an oasis for the children of Kibera, where these children have a safe place to learn, grow and thrive. FAFU, in most cases, is the children’s only food and water source.
On site, FAFU has a jewelry shop that is run by the teens and their advisor. This shop sells hand made jewelry in an effort to provide the school with needed resources. They also have a health center which is being prepared to house a doctor, the school nurse and to serve, not only, the FAFU children but the Kibera community at large. The hope is that FAFU’s clinic will assist in the sustainability of the school.
Facing the future is located in Kibera, Kenya. It is the largest slum in Africa and second largest in the world. It is the size of Central Park. One million impoverished people reside there, including one hundred thousand orphaned children. Houses are made out of mud, cardboard and tin and are approximately twenty-four square feet for a family of four. There is no running water or sewage system; therefore, garbage, human, and animal waste are left in the streets in piles unless it is moved out of the way or burned by Kibera residents. Trenches are lined in-between tight alley ways of homes for human waste to be deposited. If it rains, this waste overflows into the homes of the Kibera residents.
Simeon Ajigo, Executive Director and Founder of Facing the Future (FAFU) Child Development Learning Center
Simeon Ajigo founded FAFU in November of 2007 with the mission of serving needy children and youth in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera. Simeon’s purpose is to provide Kibera’s youth with a chance to become educated in a safer environment, where they can build self-confidence and gain skills to eventually be a change agent for the Kibera slum.
The Story of Simeon
I was born in a small rural village in Western Kenya, among an ethnic community called luo. My mother had passed away and I was with my father who was pretty old. I became sick on my left leg where some doctors had earlier recommended amputation from the knee joint. My father, who was illiterate, decided to take me to the national Hospital in Nairobi, over 400 kms from our village. This was in May 1976. Arriving in Nairobi by train early in the morning, my father knew not Nairobi nor any other language apart from the vernacular. Someone who understood our vernacular referred my father to Kibera where, he was advised, there were many of our tribesmen living. My father carried me on his back to Kibera, 6 kms away where we were accommodated by a family. After a few day, my father left me in Kibera and went back to the village. The man in the family (he was lame & limping) used to carry me on his back to the hospital. Many times he shared the burden with the neighbors. I went back to the village after years in Kibera to continue schooling but kept my relationship in Kibera to date.
Simeon is a 1993 graduate from Egerton University, Simeon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, majoring in Sociology and Economics.
History of our Partnership
Our Y began partnering with Simeon Ajigo and Facing the Future in 2007. At that time, Facing the Future was made up of 120 children in a one room school house. Since then, we have assisted in purchasing land, building multiple structures and raising funds for a playground. We have provided the children with school uniforms, supplies, food, mosquito netting and additional monetary and hands on support throughout the years, through fundraising and allocated gifts from our Y and community members.
Our Y’s main goal is to provide Facing the Future with the tools to become self-sufficient in serving the youth of Kibera and sustaining Simeon’s vision of a brighter future for the Kibera children and the slum. In addition, providing opportunities to build relationships across the globe and one-on-one human interaction between our community members and the children of FAFU.