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Living through COVID-19 in the Kibera Slum

Living through COVID-19 in the Kibera Slum

Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, the Kibera slum is the biggest in Africa and one of the biggest in the world, housing 250 000 men, women and children. Dalmas Bukasu Atsowa has lived in the slum his entire life, and his education has been sponsored through Strathallan School’s Kenya Project since primary school. On Wednesday 10th June, Dalmas took over the school’s Instagram account to answer questions about his life in Kibera and how the area is coping with the COVID-19 outbreak. As well as answering questions live, he also took viewers on a tour of his neighbourhood and gave an inspiring insight into the deprivation faced by people living there.

Dalmas visited Strathallan in Perthshire in November 2019, and made a huge impact on the school and local community. Many pupils took the chance to reconnect with Dalmas during his broadcast, asking questions about his schooling, his love of football, and what’s happening in Kenya as a result of COVID-19. Around 50 viewers tuned in for the live broadcast, and the video has subsequently been viewed XX times on the school’s Instagram page.

Strathallan School’s Kenya Project has been working in the Kibera slum for ten years, including sponsoring local children through their schooling, books, uniform, food and medical expenses. The project has raised over £100 000 for causes in Kibera and elsewhere in Kenya, and has sponsored more than forty children who simply would not have had access to education without the school’s support. The focus of the project is empowering young people to rise up and enabling them to help themselves and others within their own community through education, entrepreneurship.

When asked about his experience of Strathallan, Dalmas replied:

“When talking about Strathallan, the best thing I will talk of is the love, the values that make up Strathallan and the friendship of all the community. How [people are] socially – that really built my heart and I was just blessed with how you treated me and the love you showed me.”

Dalmas’ takeover is part of an ongoing programme of Instagram takeovers Strathallan has been running for pupils and the community to stay connected and get insight into how lockdown is affecting alumni and friends around the world. With appearances so far from George Horne and Nicki Cochrane, as well as broadcaster JJ Chalmers, the takeovers have proved hugely popular, with pupils enjoying the opportunity to gain insight from people experiencing lockdown in different circumstances.

The full broadcast is available below and on the school’s Instagram page: @strathallanschoolofficial

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