Parent involvement is an enormous part of what makes The Kibera School for Girls a success. The families that send their students to KSG are among the most impoverished in Kibera, but they are also the most committed to their daughters’ bright future. They attend monthly all-parent meetings, parent-teacher conferences at the end of each year, weekend parent-child art classes, and help chaperone field trips. In return for free tuition, uniforms, meals, and school supplies—parents agree to volunteer at the school for five weeks per year. They cook breakfast and lunch for all the students, clean the classrooms, and assist teachers every day. This accomplishes multiple goals: it directly invests parents in their daughters’ education, creates a vibrant and active school family, and it substantially helps to offset the costs of operating a completely tuition-free school. The parent work hours are monitored by a self-elected Parent’s Board.
Meet a Parent: Baba Diana
Baba Diana, the father of Diana, a pre-K student, currently serves as the Chairman of the Parent’s Board. He has proved in his own life that he can defy any obstacle in his path. Born in impoverished rural Kenya, Baba Diana suffered a disease in one leg that was misdiagnosed, mistreated, and ultimately left him with a severe limp at a very young age. However, this disability did not prevent him from pursuing a better life, starting a family, and dedicating his life to his wife and three children. He moved to Kibera as there were more opportunities in Nairobi than in his village, but soon found himself facing a new round of struggles that accompanied daily life in Kibera. Poverty, gender-based violence, and health issues plague the slum. When his only daughter Diana was accepted to KSG last year, he vowed to become fully involved in her education by chairing the Parent’s Committee. “The Chairman,” as those at KSG know Baba Diana, devotes countless hours to helping unite the parents of Kibera’s brightest and neediest girls. He oversees parent volunteers, supports the staff, conducts meetings, and loves to help ensure that the school garden is as green as ever. His daughter, Diana, is currently excelling in her studies and after school she rushes home to share stories of the day with her father. Baba Diana hopes that one day his daughter will finish her education and help build a brighter future for their entire family.